When you think about where you spend the bulk of your time in the employee recruiting process, is a big chunk reserved for a certain type of position? If so, this role is probably an evergreen job.
Just as an evergreen tree appears green and alive all year long, evergreen positions require a constant flow of candidates because they experience high turnover and/or are positions that a large percentage of employees occupy. As a result, many companies keep these requisitions perpetually open on their job listings page in order to populate the candidate pipeline.
Evergreen jobs and turnover
Sourcing a steady flow of candidates to fill evergreen roles is essential–they are the positions critical to business success. Industries such as restaurant, healthcare, retail, call center and non-profit regularly source applicants for evergreen jobs such as server, home health aid, cashier, customer service representative and direct support professional.
Organizations often struggle with high turnover in these positions due to factors such as
- the role being available on a part-time basis more frequently than full-time,
- job seasonality (or seasonal availability of candidates),
- low barriers to entry that make it easy for candidates to get a similar job elsewhere, and
- low unemployment leading to more accessible wage increases at competitive employers.
Evergreen job hiring challenges
Hiring employees to fill evergreen positions can be tricky for a variety of reasons.
If you tend to keep the same job listings open all the time while regularly hiring candidates, it’s easy to unintentionally skew reporting in the name of ease. While the same job listing ID may remain open for a year (which can save time on reposting the job every few months), it will be harder to report on which referral sources, job description text (if you tweak it frequently with overwrites) and other factors lead to the successful hiring of multiple individuals because they are all tied to the same requisition. A good rule of thumb is to close out an existing evergreen requisition when a candidate is hired for that role, and then use the previous requisition as a template for easily creating a new one.
Job boards vs. organic search
While external job boards such as Glassdoor and Indeed favor fresh job listing IDs that aren’t reposted too frequently, search engines like Google spotlight tenured job description pages that have evergreen content (e.g. new imagery, comments, video, and other structured data). So what’s the right answer? Temporary job listing ID pages or persistent job description overviews?
You can benefit from both. Use your applicant tracking system to refresh a job listing for an evergreen role by closing old job listing IDs and using them as a template to create a duplicate job listing (with a new ID) every 60-90 days. Then, consider adding evergreen content pages within your ATS portal or on your corporate website that
- list details about what to expect in the role,
- answer frequently asked questions about the job,
- highlight video testimonials from other employees in that position, and
- link to a list of the job listing(s) currently open for that role.
With the dual approach, job seekers stand to find your recently posted job listing on external job boards, as well as via keyword-specific search queries on search engines.
Hiring compliance can be impacted
Care should be taken with determining how the frequency of evergreen requisition posting may impact an employer’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) compliance efforts. If the same job listing ID is kept open for an entire year–and we assume at least one candidate is hired from that requisition–then the entire year’s worth of internet applicants must be included in the applicant pool considered for adverse impact. In contrast, if a single requisition is kept open for only one quarter, and only one person is hired during that time, then the pool for adverse impact analysis is smaller which is generally preferable.
By periodically opening new requisitions–even when a hire does not take place in a period of 60 or 90 days–employers put themselves in a better position for compliance and limit their exposure. NOTE: If no applicants from a quarter’s requisition are hired, then the job ID can be closed and none of the applicants must be reported in the AAP data.
Managers at different locations
In the world of evergreen hiring, the location at which a future employee may work when he first applies to an evergreen position isn’t always apparent. And, depending on the industry and size of organization, different hiring managers likely manage candidate screening and/or interviewing at various locations.
Unless internal expectations are clearly set about how managers access a candidate pool that may be shared by different branches, the candidate experience could be hampered by poor communication from a variety of different locations vying for the same candidate. This can be exacerbated in a tight labor market with low unemployment as general managers compete for workers in high turnover, hourly, part-time positions.
Within the retail and restaurant industries, in which some brands have both corporate and franchise-owned stores, careful attention must be paid to limiting franchisor access to job applicants for franchisee-owned locations in order to avoid vicarious liability. When implementing hiring technology in this situation, it’s critical to understand how different applicant pools will be separated for administrators. At the same time, it’s important to avoid a confusing application process for job seekers who perceive all locations to be one brand.
Best practices for managing evergreen positions
Now that we’ve reviewed considerations for posting and managing evergreen positions, let’s cover best practices to improve the chances of your success in hiring individuals for these roles.
Understand what causes turnover
Only by analyzing factors that cause your employees to leave, will you be able to adjust their experience to prolong tenure and benchmark success. Consider the impact of job factors such as your organization’s
- work schedule flexibility
- pay rate relative to competitors
- ability to communicate the proximity of public transportation, and
- opportunities for continuous learning and advancement.
With an understanding of the primary drivers of turnover, you can re-imagine the employment experience to mitigate these factors. Proactively communicate how you address these items with job seekers in your career content and utilize an applicant tracking system that makes it easy for job candidates to search positions near their bus route. For example, the new hiring software platform that ExactHire is building allows candidates to optionally enter their address to see nearby locations with open job suggestions.
Set internal expectations about hiring efficiency
Recruiters will have a greater impact on organizational success when they rally hiring managers around what to expect from the hiring process. These conversations include topics such as
- what the hiring market looks like and which factors impact organizational turnover (e.g. what it’s going to take to keep employees),
- the current velocity of hire and a reasonable expectation for number of hiring processes that can be managed successfully at once (e.g. should we hire more recruiters or consider Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?),
- how promptly assigning statuses to candidates and entering hire dates in an ATS is critical to calculating time to hire and team efficiency,
- the ideal dollar amount to plan for employee attrition in the operating budget, and
- how to manage headcount appropriately–is it a set number of positions per job opening or can it flexibly fluctuate depending on need?
Consider job listing duration
Close out aging job listing IDs at least every three months or whenever you make a hire for the position–whichever is sooner. The impact of this practice is two-fold:
- By separating batches of applicants for an evergreen job into 90-day chunks–each with its own separate requisition–you limit the likelihood that the OFCCP will take a closer look at your data in an AAP audit because your data pool is smaller (i.e. a separate pool for each job listing ID) and therefore not likely to be statistically significant.
- By reposting evergreen jobs periodically with new job IDs, you’re ensuring that the posting date appears relatively recent to potential job applicants. However, even a 30-day old position may deter eager job seekers. Consider including text that describes the role as an evergreen position within the body of your job description. By letting candidates know that you’re always sourcing for this position, they will be less likely to overlook a couple-month-old job listing.
Create a landing page for evergreen jobs
To balance the effects of reposting job listing IDs on a quarterly basis, give your evergreen roles a surge of search engine optimization (SEO) by creating permanent job overview pages (on either your ATS or your corporate website) for the positions that are always (or soon to be) in supply. Include page elements such as
- relevant keyword-rich content in headers and body text
- video testimonials from employees in the same role
- a frequently asked question section to answer common job-related inquiries
- an overview of the steps involved in the hiring process
- the unique benefits of the position, and
- call-to-action buttons directing page visitors to a filtered list of the specific requisitions currently available for this type of role.
Reduce hiring funnel friction
Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker and assess whether it is easy to find your jobs, easy to apply and easy to communicate with recruiters and hiring managers. While making the selection process efficient is a priority for any kind of job, it is mission critical for evergreen positions since a large volume of candidates must be sourced to meet the company’s hiring needs.
- Easy to find – Easily share your job listings to external job boards and social media streams within a modern applicant tracking system, but also consider paid recruitment marketing avenues such as retargeting display ads that show content to job seekers who previously interacted with your employment brand.
- Easy to apply – Utilize two-step applications to allow candidates to provide the basics in the first half of the application process. Shortening an application’s first phase will drive better applicant conversion. Also, select pre-employment assessments that don’t require too much time for an applicant to complete when presented at the point of application. Longer assessments can be utilized later in the selection process.
- Easy to communicate – Meet job seekers where they are…which often is on their phone rather than a laptop. Incorporate text messaging into the candidate communication process as many individuals interested in evergreen jobs may be screening their calls and failing to set up their voicemail inboxes.
Incorporate pre-employment testing
Know what employee success in your evergreen roles looks like by assessing your current superstars and distilling their results down to the key traits that most heavily predict performance. Then, benchmark for these traits by creating a model profile within your employee assessment tool and use the assessment at the point of application or before a formal interview. To determine placement within the hiring process, consider the impact of a cognitive or behavioral testing tool vs. a job skills testing resource on your candidate funnel–which type(s) would produce the most compelling outcomes?
Nurture your evergreen pipeline
Since employers are always sourcing candidates for evergreen jobs, they must experiment with innovative approaches to engaging past applicants and attracting new job seekers. Create a special experience for people who are interested in being a part of your organization by inviting them to your talent community. These are the individuals who keep raising their hand with continued interest, like your recruiting content on social media and respond to your recruitment marketing efforts.
Here are some ideas for engaging them as applicant VIPs:
- Use tags within your applicant tracking system to highlight their interest so that you may invite them to apply to specific job listing IDs as roles in their evergreen area of interest open at locations near them.
- Invite them to opt in to an applicant insider newsletter with articles about new roles, culture and organizational goals.
- Invite them to join a social media group focused on careers at your organization.
- Create targeted recruitment marketing campaigns that reinvigorate their interest in your organization.
Although your organization has roles which will always be evergreen, your approach to sourcing candidates for these jobs will be ever changing.