There’s a new Tik Tok trend in town, and many media outlets are calling it the next iteration of “quiet quitting.” Dubbed “rage applying,” this term describes what is happening in the workforce when Gen Zs and Millennials become disgruntled with their current job, manager, or team. They channel all of their frustrations into applying for any and all jobs that they come across, like sending a tidal wave of job applications into the marketplace.
Publications like Fortune are reporting on jobseekers that are bragging about how rage applying has helped them to secure huge salary raises too – to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
I was interviewed in French by CBC Radio on this very topic recently. In truth, rage applying is not a new phenomenon. Lots of jobseekers have done so in the past. The difference today is that many people are talking about it, and they have come up with a new term for it, which has quickly spread on social media platforms. Now, fellow jobseekers are being encouraged to embrace this strategy as well and this is having a greater impact amid today’s deep labour shortage.
Studies show that more than 60 per cent of today’s workforce are currently looking for a new job, or plan to start within the next 6 months. As such, amplified social media conversations encouraging rage applying simply can’t be ignored.
Rage applying can also make life difficult for recruiters and HR/hiring managers when they are looking for candidates who are serious and passionate about a particular job opportunity. Indiscriminate applications can significantly clog the candidate vetting process, wasting valuable time, money, and company resources.
To tackle this, we’ve collected some tips that HR and hiring managers can use to better detect “rage applying.” We’re also looking at questions like: What red flags should be considered? And when is it okay to hire a candidate who we may suspect is rage applying?
- How much does the candidate know about your company? Candidates who rage apply, do so randomly. Often, they apply to anything and everything they see. Many don’t even read the job description! Ask prospective applicants to share what interested them about this particular position in the first place? And test their general knowledge of your company. This will help to weed out candidates who are not serious and targeted in their job searches.
- Watch for multiple applications from the same candidate: Rage applying candidates send out their resumes to so many positions, they can lose track of their activity. In our experience, we’ve found candidates with such profiles can apply to the same job twice or even three times without realizing it.
- Ask your prospective candidate what they would do differently if they were leading the team at their current workplace? This question can reveal valuable context on what is not working currently for the jobseeker. It is a much more effective question than the traditional query of, “Why do you want to change jobs?” which can elicit more rehearsed responses from jobseekers.
- Check prospective candidates’ social media profiles: As part of our process to ensure due diligence, we always research our short-listed candidates’ public content on their social media profiles on our clients’ behalf. How are they representing their current employer online? Are they exhibiting decorum? In recruitment we like to say, the best predictor of future behaviour, is past behaviour.
Interestingly, the young Canadian Tik Tok user, @redweez, whose original post went viral about rage applying (it has garnered 2.3 million views to date, when her other posts average about 1,000 views), just posted a new video recently where she shared how happy she was (we think she meant relieved) that she didn’t use her real name on her account. This is especially the case given how her post generated media coverage in many A-list publications across both the US and Canada. Our advice to jobseekers is to always be discerning as to what they are posting on social media regarding work-related and even personal content, because it matters for their professional profile. Conversely, less than ideal content on social media can serve as an important red flag and important watch-out for HR and hiring managers too.
- Is it a good idea to hire a “rage applier”? Yes, it can be fine to do so if your other checks and balances work out (e.g., from the tips above). As we noted at the beginning of this post, rage applying is a new name for an old practice that is very human. If you are not satisfied with your job, it’s perfectly fine to look for something else. It’s advisable, even. While the hasty and frenetic pace behind rage applying is not ideal, the key question to consider from a process perspective is: Has this candidate shown that they are professional? Have they conducted themselves with integrity?
If the pandemic has taught us one thing about advancing our workplace, it has been to embrace the humanness of our employees. It is a fact that emotions come with this territory, and as employers, HR personnel and hiring managers, we must be willing to accept this – especially given the labour shortage we are all facing right now. As a result, rage applying need not be labelled as a reason to completely write-off a prospective candidate. But what it does mean is that we must do more of our homework within an increasingly complex setting, to find the best talent for our team.