new employee processes

Jeannie and Adam explore hiring and new employee processes from the candidate’s perspective with Undercover Candidate™ Nora Burns.

About our guest

Since stepping into the world of human resources more than two decades ago, Nora A Burns, SPHR has interviewed and on-boarded thousands of candidates and new hires for positions ranging from file clerk to executive vice president. Along the way, she decided to study and evaluate the hiring process from a different perspective, by participating in job interviews across the country. She did this not in her usual role of interviewer or hiring consultant, but as a candidate for administrative, supervisory and managerial roles.

As The Undercover Candidate™, Nora has participated in over a hundred interviews to gain insight into the hiring process from the candidate’s perspective. Professional curiosity then took her a step further as she recognizes that effective hiring is only the first step toward building a great workforce, Phase two of her research involved spending a year working “undercover” for a variety of large, well-known organizations as a customer-facing employee in entry-level positions.

Nora shares insights learned through speaking engagements while continuing to experience and oversee interviews and on-boarding processes of client organizations who looks to HR-Undercover, LLC to “mystery shop” their employee experience. Nora is passionate about helping associations and corporations hire and develop top talent to advance their overall mission and strategy. Her engaging, no-nonsense style and sense of humor has captivated retreat, workshop and conference audiences across North America. She tailors every keynote, workshop and session to her client’s specific needs.

A strong believer in community involvement, Nora is an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and The Gathering Place.  Originally from the Midwest, she lives in Denver, CO with her exceptionally cute labradoodle, Bella.

Connect with Nora


HR Undercover

A good team is critical to the success of any business, so why is it so hard to attract and keep good talent? It seems most organizational leaders think their hiring processes are solid – while most job candidates have horror stories about their experience.

You’ve heard the horror stories from friends and colleagues… In fact, you probably have horror stories of your own! So what’s really happening during your own hiring and new employee experience processes? And more importantly, how does it affect your ability to hire right for the experiences you want to deliver? Because how you hire, not just whom you hire, can have a big impact on your brand.

That’s what today’s guest Nora Burns wanted to find out, so she invested years in finding out! Nora is with us to day to share some of her insights from 200+ job interviews as The Undercover Candidate™, and 15 months working on the front lines of 5 Fortune 500 companies as The Undercover Employee™.

Nora shares unbelievable stories about how easy it was to land interviews and even job offers based on fictitious qualifications! What’s more, you’ll be shocked to hear how very common inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and wasted opportunities loom around the typical hiring process.

So what are we doing wrong, and how can we do better? How can we stop shooting ourselves in the foot with inadequate (and sometimes destructive!) hiring processes? Nora has collected amazing insights and tips for you in based on real-world experiences. She’s so good at going undercover, we had to verify that we have the REAL Nora Burns!

Expert tip:

“Your employment brand is your bread and butter when it comes to recruiting and retention. If you’re destroying that little by little, nick by nick, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.” -Nora Burns


Interview highlights

  • How did Nora come up with the idea of going undercover as job candidates, and how did she get started? [2:30]
  • What are the most common issues with how organizations handle the hiring process, and how can they do better? [6:50]
  • Nora and our hosts discuss different ways internal processes and timelines disrupt access to great talent. [10:20]
  • Everyone makes mistakes, but you won’t believe these inconsistencies that are commonly overlooked! [14:00]
  • So, did she get the job? Nora goes undercover as a hired employee! [16:55]
  • What can we all do to improve the hiring process? Better yet, how can we hire best to serve our customers? [20:35]

Listen To This Episode!


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