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How an undercover applicant can fine-tune your hiring process for better results

Posted by Neha De

April 20, 2022

The Great Resignation has taken a toll on businesses of all sizes and has hiring managers scratching their heads about how to hire the best candidates to fill positions. Chris Bakke, founder and CEO of, has a simple solution for them: evaluating “hiring from the perspective of candidate experience.” 

Bakke suggests getting to the core of the issues with hiring processes, starting from the application process. For instance, some companies still use applicant tracking systems that require manual entry of entire resumes. Or, they take too long to get back to candidates after an interview. 

In order to study problems in his organizational hiring process, Bakke started applying to jobs at his own companies as an “undercover applicant.” 

An undercover applicant can help identify and understand the various challenges that job applicants run into through employers' application process. This process can offer valuable information on what the rest of the process looks like. 

Bakke recommends applying using an assumed name, email address and made-up resume. Remember that it can take a lot of time and effort to come up with a fictitious resume that should pass the initial screening process. 

The goal here is to identify the timelines from the point of submitting a high-quality resume to receiving a notification from the hiring team, followed by the step of scheduling an initial interview or rejecting the candidate.

When a founder applies for a job at their own company, it can be tough to get into an initial screen without being identified. However, when an associate does it using a strong resume, they may have better luck getting an initial interview and eventually moving on to additional screening processes like written assessments or a panel interview. In this situation, the associate can provide valuable feedback that can help improve each step of the recruiting process. 

Bakke says, CEOs who become “undercover applicants” may encounter frustrations; however, the information they gather can help them improve job seeker experience.


Neha De
Neha De

Neha De is a writer and editor with more than 13 years of experience. She has worked on a variety of genres and platforms, including books, magazine articles, blog posts and website copy. She is passionate about producing clear and concise content that is engaging and informative. In her spare time, Neha enjoys dancing, running and spending time with her family.

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