Evergreen trees, From Flickr user Sarah McDevitt
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Why Evergreen roles screw up your hiring data, and what to do about it

Have you ever thought about why the evergreen tree got that name? It wasn’t until recently, that I became curious myself. Spoiler alert: It is because it stays green all year.

As a customer success engineer at Textio, I work with our customers to analyze the impact language has on your company’s job descriptions. There are several ways that a company will categorize their job posts internally. One type of role is an evergreen role. And, just like the evergreen tree, that stays green all year long, an evergreen role is a position at your organization that is always open, either because it’s a high turnover position or, more likely, because it’s a position for which your company has many employees in the same role.

Job posts on evergreen roles tend to stay on a company’s careers site indefinitely. By eliminating the need to repost the same job post each time a position gets filled, you can do it once and leave it up for as long as you need. Also, you may not know when a superstar applicant will be looking for their dream job at your company, leaving a job post up on your career site ensures that a company will always be ready to scoop up the top talent for a particular critical position.

With the rise of people analytics more companies are focused on measuring the outcomes of their hiring strategies, which is a good thing! But this shift has created a schism for the evergreen role.

It’s time to think differently about how we write and post evergreen roles, because we know everything we write has an impact on who we hire. Evergreen roles become problematic for a number of reasons:

  • It’s incredibly difficult to tell how long it takes to fill a position. Often times we have to exclude job posts from a data analysis because it looks like some of their job posts took years to fill. The metrics for that particular job is skewed as we are unable to measure it accurately.
  • Knowing which language patterns are making the impact is unclear. It’s similar to leaving a door open at your shop and people are coming into the store to eat, there are some days you get 10 people and there other days you may get 5 people. And let’s say the food in your store changes with time, and unless we know what food was offered on which day that you saw an increase of customers, we can’t tell you which ones are the most popular. There is a similar phenomenon with the language in evergreen roles. When you are changing the language in the job post to update it, that will impact who is attracted to that language and how it affected your hiring pipeline.

But not to worry, I am here with a simple fix, use the requisition ID to your advantage. Every time you fill an evergreen role, just close that role and open a requisition ID every time they hire a person. When you update the requisition ID, each time you change the language on your public job post, you can analyze the specific outcomes associated with the language patterns associated with that job post.

The golden rule is 1 requisition ID = 1 hire = 1 job description.

When you follow this golden rule, the result is that you can clearly measure how language is tied to the results that you see.

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