Thinking like an evergreen recruiter means you’re always on the hunt for talent, and you always have some candidates in the pipeline. When a position opens up, you’ll be able to move quickly and with confidence. And you’ll sleep much better at night.
“Evergreen” jobs are jobs in which you have many employees in the same role, so the job is always open. In fact, companies will often hire someone they feel is a good fit, even if there isn’t a current opening. They hire the best talent they can, when they can, knowing the new hires will be able to contribute in some way and that turnover will create an opening soon.
Evergreen postings are typically used when a role is either mission-critical, high turnover or both. They’re usually reserved for lower-level jobs in call centers, distribution centers, or retail stores. But in today’s highly competitive market, almost every job has become mission-critical and at risk for turnover. Smart companies are rethinking their recruiting strategy to remain competitive in the war for talent. Starting from scratch only after you have a resignation letter in hand puts you way behind the recruiting curve.
The first step to thinking like an Evergreen recruiter is to assess the turnover risk for your staff (not just the team in the call center or on the sales floor.) Evaluate staff using the “stoplight” or heat map method that uses a color-coding system to identify turnover risk:
- Green – employee is likely to stay more than one year
- Yellow – employee is likely to stay 6-12 months
- Red – employee is likely to leave in less than six months
For example, you may find patterns in teams or patterns at certain milestones – people leaving after three years in the entry-level role. You may find that all your previous patterns mean nothing after two years of lockdowns, remote work, and the start of The Great Resignation. But you’ll have an idea of where to start implementing evergreen recruiting.
Here are some tips on thinking like an evergreen recruiter.
First, spend time on the job description, so it reflects the real duties, real challenges, and real culture of your team. Look for people with the right attitude to fit in rather than the perfect set of skills and number of years of experience; you can grow them into the role over time if you hire early.
Connect with great passive candidates without an actual offer. Have a conversation about their current role: what they like about it and what would tempt them to look elsewhere. Not having a current opening takes the pressure off your recruiter and the passive candidate. It’s just the beginning of a conversation and relationship that might last for months before you have an actual opening or they’re ready to make a move. Train your recruiters to think like your sales team. Help them manage prospects through a sales cycle with patience and empathy. (And teach them to understand when it’s the right time to close.)
Make sure your top performers don’t feel threatened by the new evergreen approach. Be transparent about your motives; let them know you’re not hiring their replacements. You’re building a bench team of people you can nurture and train to be ready when turnover occurs or the company goes into rapid growth mode.
The not-so-great performers may draw their conclusions and either step up their game or begin to look for new opportunities. Either way, win/win.
When you do hire, hire both your top choice AND your second and third choices, if they’re good candidates. This hiring method means you don’t lose out on good talent because you focused only on the top finisher. It’s also a hedge against your top pick getting a better offer or turning out to be less than ideal for the role.