The evergreen is dead

Putting to sleep the req that never ends

Posted by Nicole Brender à Brandis on June 18, 2019.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away…or right here on Earth…recruiters faced the dilemma of how to keep applicant flow going for high-volume hiring needs occurring at one time, or requisitions that had multiple needs over the course of time. And so the “evergreen requisition” was born. Now it’s time to lay it to rest.

High-volume, university, and repetitive hiring needs still exist, as do hard-to-find skills, so why are we suggesting that the evergreen requisition’s time has come and gone? While the evergreen requisition was brilliant in its simplicity—open a requisition and leave it posted forever—there were unintended consequences in both compliance and candidate experience (which wasn’t even “a thing” when the evergreen first came to life). Plus, as with many of our coolest inventions (8-track, anyone?), technology has evolved, rendering the evergreen requisition a relic of the past.

A better way to meet the business imperative
There’s no denying the business need to recruit in advance of most position openings. Let’s face it, by the time the talent acquisition organization gets an approved requisition, that need is sometimes weeks old. However, three common issues with evergreen requisitions make them a less than ideal solution:

1. The candidate experience nightmare: Misuse and poor management can create a black hole where hopeful applicants and their resumes are banished.

2. The compliance nightmare: Administrative burdens from trying to tie evergreen requisitions to the positions candidates are actually considered for and hired into often create duplicative data entry and tracking needs. It can also create issues with adverse impact: “Since this is not as clear as a single requisition, OFCCP [the U.S. Department of Labor office in charge of compliance] may instead argue that each candidate should count four times in the applicant data. Then, when the company goes to run its adverse impact analyses, big numbers are bad numbers—it is more likely the company will have statistically significant (i.e., costly) adverse impact as a result of the higher applicant numbers.”1

3. The finance team’s nightmare: Gaps can form in an organization’s ability to manage headcount or cost restrictions, since evergreen requisitions have no controls in place.

But if the evergreen requisition goes away, what is an organization to do without it? The answer is to begin to think about recruiting like sales, and to leverage technology that enables your organization to build talent pipelines without the adverse side effects of an evergreen requisition.

Leveraging the CRM
Candidate Relationship Management technology found roots in the basic functionality of sales Customer Relationship Management tools. For organizations that embraced a truer meaning of the talent pipeline, many, in fact, started using their sales team’s Customer Relationship Management tool. While there was only limited success due to the sales tool’s inability to map the candidate journey to the recruiting life cycle and over to the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), an idea was born that became the Candidate Relationship Management system (hereafter, our use of the acronym CRM will refer to Candidate Relationship Management).

In the most basic manner, CRM tools allow for the creation of pipelines—folders, if you will—to organize prospects (important word), track interactions (contact history), and automate future interactions. Only when the stars and moon align, that is, when there is an approved requisition and the prospect is ready to make a change, does the recruiter need to move that person to the ATS. In this way, organizations have clear delineation between a prospect and a candidate/applicant, greatly simplifying compliance.

Adding in automation
There are really two meanings to “high volume”: high-volume recruiting needs (many requisitions for the same skills) and high-volume applicant flow (the problem of plenty—too many candidates and not enough time). The CRM, coupled with new technology that automates sourcing and screening, allows the recruiter to focus on truly viable candidates. Automation helps at several points:

  • First, supplementing your ATS/CRM with technology that can find and rank prospects and applicants alike provides two benefits: It helps ensure you’re using the technology and leads you’ve already paid for, and it helps the recruiter narrow in quickly on those resumes that warrant a more thorough review. Machine learning within these tools helps improve the find and rank results over time. (It is important to note that technology is not the panacea for a blind interview process. The tools are built by humans and learn based on human input.) These sourcing tools also search external data sources, completing the task of sourcing significantly faster than a human.
  • The second way automation helps is with great advances in how assessments are used. These can be used at the application stage, with “knockout” questions based on basic qualifications, or at other points within the processes. From more standard “fit” assessments to gamification, automation of the process and results increases the efficiency of the process.
  • Finally, automation has made inroads on how the first round of applicant screening happens. Leading organizations are piloting how chatbots can be used to conduct the first-round screening (those basic questions we need the answer to, but that don’t necessarily add the most value overall) and are using asynchronous video interviews to replace the recruiter phone screen.

Out with the old
Strategic use of technology can augment sourcing and boost recruiting productivity, which is particularly important given today’s competitive job market and how rapidly organizations’ skills requirements change.2 Clinging to the evergreen requisition is the antithesis of this. It’s time for recruiting organizations to let go of any “we’ve always done it this way” emotional connection to their evergreen reqs (we understand, you may literally have had them forever) and to embrace the future, as many already are.

In the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, 87 percent of respondents believe there will be an increase in the role of technology in sourcing and outreach. Advances in the TA technology ecosystem allow recruiters to expand their capabilities, to focus on more value-add activities and to enhance the candidate experience, all while addressing the age-old dilemma of proactive recruitment.

To get started, organizations should complete a deep-dive evaluation of the best use of technology and make decisions to augment their existing landscape with CRM and AI/RPA capabilities, which should allow the transition away from evergreen requisitions to more meaningful talent pipelines. This shift will also require recruiter capabilities to shift, leveraging the technology to use their uniquely human characteristics to improve the customer experience (see our blog on TA capabilities).

Nicole Brender à Brandis, SPHR, is a specialist master in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s US Human Capital service area. Nicole’s primary focus has been helping global organizations navigate HR transformation initiatives, with a focus on talent management, talent acquisition, and HR capabilities.

Contributor: Edgar Palacios

1 Pechaitis, Scott Esq., Requisition Best Practices: How to Strategically Manage Applicant Data,,July 17, 2015
2 “Introduction,” Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with a human focus, 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte Insights, 2019.

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