Going Viral on TikTok

I first went viral on TikTok when I posted my passive-aggressive response to a job application. At last count, that video had 2.8 million views, and based on the comments, I had struck a nerve.

The CEO was advertising for a no-nonsense perfectionist; the ad actually used the words, “I need a little dictator.” The posting continued to describe the importance of perfection:

  • “I’m a perfectionist, so you’ll need to fill in the details, and be absolutely anal about it.”
  • “…ASTOUNDING attention to detail.”
  • “…be as perfect as possible.”
  • “…if an email has typos, I’ll be very annoyed and it could cost me money.”

Further down, there was a list of requirements to apply, including a cover letter not only describing my qualifications and goals, but also whom I admire and why. Then, “for priority consideration, include a video introduction explaining why I should hire you.”

The job listing struck me as overbearing and brash. Not only was the post poorly worded, but the thought of possibly being considered and/or rejected based on my looks was a red flag. The job description itself was right up my alley, but I wasn’t sure the company was right for me.

I met all the criteria on the job posting, however. I love it when I can present perfection. I obsessively re-read everything I type. I am organized, fanatical when it comes to work, and I can be strong-minded — or “a little dictator” — in order to get things done. I matched, point for point, every skill they required for the position. However, based on my initial feelings of discomfort, I originally wasn’t going to apply.

Then I went to the company’s website to check them out. Staring me in the face was a glaring and obvious typo on one of their pages. Curious, I used the Wayback Machine and saw that the typo had existed for at least three years.

I decided to have some fun with it and submit my application to the company, pointing out the typo on their website. I included a screen recording “correcting” it using Chrome DevTools. I finished the video introduction explaining my personality and how well I fit the position. I knew I knocked it out of the park; not only had I proven that I could spot and fix minor details, but also displayed my computer skills and video editing knowledge within the first 20 seconds. I posted the video to YouTube, unlisted so that I could watch the view count.

For my friends (all 24 followers I had at the time), I posted a short clip of the beginning of the video and uploaded it to TikTok.

Shortly after I posted it, the notifications came rolling in and I realized I was trending on TikTok’s #FYP. Then my phone starting blowing up with comments on the TikTok.

“This company sounds TOXIC.”
“Tell me your company says ‘perfection’ as an empty motto without telling me…”
“Did you also tell them that perfection is a ridiculous concept? Strive for improvement, not perfection.”

That last comment hit the nail on the head for me. It clearly explained why I was so put off by the original job listing in the first place.

I spent a lot of time reading and responding to the comments and questions while keeping an eye on the YouTube unlisted video’s view count. The next day, I saw the video count go up by one… then two… then three. Somebody in the company was watching it. 15 minutes after that first view, the typo was fixed on their website.

Being unemployed and now officially viral, I started worrying that my sassy TikTok was giving the wrong impression of me. I decided to upload an older video of a prank I’d played on my boss, so that potential employers googling my name wouldn’t discount me completely for being a snotty asshole. I wanted to show that I have an amazingly fun and creative side at work too.

That video also went viral with over 1.3 million views.


Throwback to the time I programmed my boss’s PC to talk on its own. No, I wasn’t fired; my boss could take a joke.

♬ original sound – Christine Clauder

Most of the news articles just mentioned me as “a woman,” and not by name, so it was difficult for me to track down all the posts and news articles about it, but here’s a few:

The rest of the articles I found read pretty much the same. Weirdly, it seems as though radio stations really liked that prank.

So did I learn anything by going viral on TikTok? No.

Did I get the job with the company demanding perfection? Also no. They never even responded to my application. They did watch the video a total of nine times, though.

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