Workplace

How 'Dan from HR' became TikTok’s favorite career coach

You can get a lot of advice about corporate America on TikTok. ‘Dan from HR’ wants to make sure you’re getting the right instruction.

Dan Space

'Dan from HR' has posted hundreds of videos on his TikTok account about everything from cover letters to compensation.

Image: Dan Space

Daniel Space downloaded TikTok for the same reason most of us did. He was bored.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Space wanted to connect with his younger cousin, who uses TikTok, so he thought he’d get on the platform and try it out (although he refused to do any of the dances). Eventually, the algorithm figured out that Space is a longtime HR professional and fed him a post with resume tips — the only issue was that the advice was “really horrible,” he said.

“It was essentially an urban myth advice that actually damages candidates’ chances,” he told Protocol. So he responded to the video and debunked it. “I never want to hurt people’s feelings, but my thought is ‘You can’t give bad information,’” he said.

Time and time again, Space started to see users with little to no HR experience give their followers bad career tips, and he felt he was in a good position to set the record straight. The former Spotify and Electronic Arts leader started posting about LinkedIn job postings, lesser-known career paths and other job market tips.

Close to two years later, Space has posted hundreds of videos on his TikTok account, “Dan from HR,” about everything from cover letters to compensation, and he’s amassed close to 100,000 followers along the way. His platform has unintentionally turned into a whole side gig; in addition to career consulting, Space is now a career coach for people who reached out via TikTok, and he eventually wants to start a separate account to help college students with their first careers.

Maybe without even realizing it, Space joined a small group of users who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves “influencers,” but are on the platform to give people tips and advice on the working world based on their experience. There’s Erin McGoff, a film director and video editor who helps people level up their resumes, as well as former tech exec Cathryn Patterson. These creators aren’t on TikTok to crack jokes about the corporate world like Rod or Corporate Natalie; they joined the platform to help young users, specifically, get the best job counsel.



For Space to meet that goal, he walks a fine line between telling users not to listen to creators with no past HR experience and trying not to hurt those creators’ feelings. At one point, he needed to tell his followers to stop tagging him in videos that included potentially poor career tips because he didn’t want to upset the person behind the post. Another time, a user told Space they would never post a TikTok again because he pointed out that the user wasn’t offering good guidance.

“I always try to be very careful that it's never the person [I’m] attacking, it's the advice,” Space said. “My driving force is I don’t want people to have this bad information.”

Space said he most frequently sees poor tips about interview questions and compensation on TikTok. For example, some users would tell their followers to be aggressive with salary negotiations, but Space said the key to negotiation is to make a business case for why someone should be paid more money. “Everyone says, ‘Use Glassdoor so you have market research,' but that’s bullshit because every company pays differently, and [companies] protect that information so you can’t really get market research.”

The TikToker said he’s also learned to stay away from some topics, notably unions, either because they’re too complex or will get an overwhelmingly negative response. He’s talked about his thoughts on unions before (and the backlash he’s received), but he’s realized that the issue is tricky to navigate on TikTok because people have already developed strong opinions on it based on companies that have exploited pay or work practices. In reality, there’s more complexity to unions because “every company is different and every industry is different and every HR team is different,” he said.

On the other hand, Space talks often about gender disparities and racism in the corporate world. While working in HR, Space said he began to notice a sharp increase in the number of white males making their way to senior roles and wanted to address the issue to his followers. “That became really important for me to talk about. As a white male, I have that privilege to talk about that and to utilize my platform to drive that focus, especially as it relates to pay transparency.”

The HR professional’s TikTok has become more of a community than he expected. Space said his platform became a safe haven while he was caring for his mom last year. After she passed away, he posted a photo montage, and condolences poured in, even from followers who seldom interact with his posts. “So many people tracked down my personal information by going on LinkedIn and sent me personal emails … that was so touching.”

LA is a growing tech hub. But not everyone may fit.

LA has a housing crisis similar to Silicon Valley’s. And single-family-zoning laws are mostly to blame.

As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers, whose high salaries put them at an advantage in both LA's renting and buying markets.

Photo: Nat Rubio-Licht/Protocol

LA’s tech scene is on the rise. The number of unicorn companies in Los Angeles is growing, and the city has become the third-largest startup ecosystem nationally behind the Bay Area and New York with more than 4,000 VC-backed startups in industries ranging from aerospace to creators. As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers. The city is quickly becoming more and more like Silicon Valley — a new startup and a dozen tech workers on every corner and companies like Google, Netflix, and Twitter setting up offices there.

But with growth comes growing pains. Los Angeles, especially the burgeoning Silicon Beach area — which includes Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey — shares something in common with its namesake Silicon Valley: a severe lack of housing.

Keep Reading Show less
Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.

While there remains debate among economists about whether we are officially in a full-blown recession, the signs are certainly there. Like most executives right now, the outlook concerns me.

In any case, businesses aren’t waiting for the official pronouncement. They’re already bracing for impact as U.S. inflation and interest rates soar. Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022 — the highest increase since November 1981 — and the Federal Reserve is targeting an interest rate of 3% by the end of this year.

Keep Reading Show less
Nancy Sansom

Nancy Sansom is the Chief Marketing Officer for Versapay, the leader in Collaborative AR. In this role, she leads marketing, demand generation, product marketing, partner marketing, events, brand, content marketing and communications. She has more than 20 years of experience running successful product and marketing organizations in high-growth software companies focused on HCM and financial technology. Prior to joining Versapay, Nancy served on the senior leadership teams at PlanSource, Benefitfocus and PeopleMatter.

Policy

SFPD can now surveil a private camera network funded by Ripple chair

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a policy that the ACLU and EFF argue will further criminalize marginalized groups.

SFPD will be able to temporarily tap into private surveillance networks in certain circumstances.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ripple chairman and co-founder Chris Larsen has been funding a network of security cameras throughout San Francisco for a decade. Now, the city has given its police department the green light to monitor the feeds from those cameras — and any other private surveillance devices in the city — in real time, whether or not a crime has been committed.

This week, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved a controversial plan to allow SFPD to temporarily tap into private surveillance networks during life-threatening emergencies, large events, and in the course of criminal investigations, including investigations of misdemeanors. The decision came despite fervent opposition from groups, including the ACLU of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which say the police department’s new authority will be misused against protesters and marginalized groups in a city that has been a bastion for both.

Keep Reading Show less
Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

Enterprise

These two AWS vets think they can finally solve enterprise blockchain

Vendia, founded by Tim Wagner and Shruthi Rao, wants to help companies build real-time, decentralized data applications. Its product allows enterprises to more easily share code and data across clouds, regions, companies, accounts, and technology stacks.

“We have this thesis here: Cloud was always the missing ingredient in blockchain, and Vendia added it in,” Wagner (right) told Protocol of his and Shruthi Rao's company.

Photo: Vendia

The promise of an enterprise blockchain was not lost on CIOs — the idea that a database or an API could keep corporate data consistent with their business partners, be it their upstream supply chains, downstream logistics, or financial partners.

But while it was one of the most anticipated and hyped technologies in recent memory, blockchain also has been one of the most failed technologies in terms of enterprise pilots and implementations, according to Vendia CEO Tim Wagner.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Fintech

Kraken's CEO got tired of being in finance

Jesse Powell tells Protocol the bureaucratic obligations of running a financial services business contributed to his decision to step back from his role as CEO of one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kraken is going through a major leadership change after what has been a tough year for the crypto powerhouse, and for departing CEO Jesse Powell.

The crypto market is still struggling to recover from a major crash, although Kraken appears to have navigated the crisis better than other rivals. Despite his exchange’s apparent success, Powell found himself in the hot seat over allegations published in The New York Times that he made insensitive comments on gender and race that sparked heated conversations within the company.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Latest Stories
Bulletins