How to Properly Manage Evergreen Jobs to Limit Liability
How to Properly Manage Evergreen Jobs to Limit Liability
January 22, 2016
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Do evergreen job requisitions need to be handled differently than other requisitions?

The quick answer is No with the caveat of having a compliant recruiting, applicant tracking and selection process. First, it would be useful to determine if evergreen jobs are really that different from other open positions. To ensure that we are on the same page with the terms, here is how I define the two types of positions for purposes of this article. Also, note that I will be referring to positions, jobs, openings and/or requisitions synonymously.
  • An Evergreen position is an open requisition for a job not tied to a specific opening.
  • An Open position is an open requisition for an actual job vacancy or opening.
Evergreen jobs are typically defined as always open. They were so named after the evergreen trees which are green year round. Evergreen positions are typically used for sourcing and not for hiring; however, you will see below how evergreen positions can turn into open positions at any time. You will also learn how to handle evergreen requisitions if and when they turn into open requisitions.

There are many arguments for having perpetually open positions, such as:
  • Creating a talent pool by continuously searching for strong talent, especially for hard-to-fill positions.
  • Not wanting to lose out to someone who is job searching at a different time than you have an actual opening; in other words, where the job search and job opening are not timed simultaneously.
  • To avoid missing out of second-or-third tier candidates who are not selected due to lack of openings.
  • To support the need for quick hires during growth spurts or contract bids/wins; and
  • To quickly fill high turnover positions.
Let’s evaluate how evergreen jobs differ from open positions and address how they can create compliance concerns. The goal of creating evergreen jobs is to ensure that positions are open so that locating and hiring candidates at any time is possible. Upon finding a good candidate, some companies may create a new position or offer temporary assignments until a position opens up. Later in the article, I will address concerns about this first practice. Many recruiters and managers feel that evergreen jobs can improve their chances of recruiting top talent instead of limiting the search to talent in the market at a given time.

From a compliance standpoint, do these evergreen jobs create a problem?

I would argue that they are both open positions and don’t create a compliance problem unless they are treated differently, up to the point of the AAP data collection. Both positions require the following activities to ensure compliance with E.O. 11246, VEVRAA and Section 503.
  • Listing with the State ESDS in the state where the opening exists. Under VEVRAA, this is required for positions below the executive level that remain open for more than three days and are not filled from within the organization.
  • Conduct diversity outreach.
  • Maintain accurate recordkeeping of all job seekers and applicants.
  • Properly track the job seeker’s status/stage and disposition to aid in identifying candidates to be counted in the AAP data.
  • Conduct an impact ratio analysis on hiring activity.
How would you handle the above compliance activities differently for evergreen requisitions?

First, with regard to the state job listings, for evergreen positions it may be difficult to determine the state in which the position will be placed until after the hire has been made. Keep in mind that you will not have to demonstrate to OFCCP the listing of evergreen positions that are not actually filled. I would suggest listing in the state where the recruiting function is performed or at the headquarters location. Second, the impact ratio analysis would not need to be conducted for unfilled evergreen positions.

Since what I am proposing may be different than what others may have suggested, I think that it would be helpful to understand the flow of an evergreen requisition compared to the flow of an open requisition. Think of the process of the evergreen position as a timeline with the timeline always ending after three months or when the position is filled, whichever comes first. This is to help manage and limit the size of the applicant pool for when a position is filled.

Evergreen Requisition Process

Open Requisition Process

There are some contractors that may think that the best approach is to always keep the evergreen requisition open. When they want to hire someone who applied for the evergreen requisition, they open up a new requisition and place the hire into it. Even though this method would limit the size of the applicant pool, for the following reasons, I would not suggest this approach.
  1. You are left with a one-to-one hire ratio which could be viewed as a red flag to OFCCP, particularly if there are numerous requisitions filled in this manner; and
  2. The state job listing at the time of the opening has not been satisfied.
Here are some typical scenarios which illustrate the different outcomes depending on how you manage the evergreen requisition. Scenarios one and two follow along with my recommendations above.

Scenario One – Requisition not filled, closed after three months and a new evergreen requisition is opened
  • January 1st – evergreen requisition opened
  • January 1st – March 31st – 200 candidates apply
  • March 31st – requisition closed and none of the 200 candidates are considered in the AAP data regardless of whether they meet the definition of an internet applicant.
End result - zero applicants are counted toward the AAP data.

Scenario Two – Requisition filled within the three months, closed out and a new evergreen requisition is opened
  • January 1st – evergreen requisition opened
  • March 1st – position filled and requisition closed. 125 candidates apply, 20 meet the definition of an internet applicant and are counted in the AAP data.
End result – 20 applicants are counted toward the AAP data.

Scenario Three – Requisition remains open for the entire AAP year (not recommended)
  • January 1st – evergreen requisition opened
  • March 1st – position filled and requisition remains open. 125 candidates apply, 20 meet the definition of an internet applicant and are counted in the AAP data.
  • August 1st – position filled and requisition remains open. 200 candidates apply, 50 meet the definition of an internet applicant and are counted in the AAP data.
  • December 1st – position filled and requisition remains open until the end of the year. 225 candidates apply, 70 meet the definition of an internet applicant and are counted in the AAP data.
End result – 140 applicants are counted toward the AAP data.

As you can see from the above illustration, keeping the evergreen requisition open for the entire AAP year will undoubtedly lead to a larger applicant pool with which to measure adverse impact. I don’t think that this would be the ideal situation for most contractors.

What do you do if you want to consider some of the candidates from a closed evergreen position for future openings or new evergreen requisitions?

Needless to say, this complicates the process; however, it is not at all unusual and follows along with some of the reasons why you want to have evergreen requisitions in the first place. The best practice is to contact the job seeker and ask that they re-apply to the new evergreen requisition if they are still interested. The other, maybe not so compliant but more practical process, is to manually move those candidates into the new requisition. You may take this second approach to avoid asking the candidate to continually re-apply to new requisitions.

However, if you keep manually adding them to a new requisition without fully knowing of their interest level you may ultimately increase your applicant pool. To rectify this, if and when the evergreen requisition turns into an actual open position, you can then reach out to the applicant to determine interest. If, at that point, they indicate a lack of interest, they will be self-withdrawing from consideration and therefore, not be considered an internet applicant for AAP purposes.

Hopefully, I have grabbed your attention and you will refrain from keeping an evergreen position opened indefinitely. Other helpful tips, and reminders, include:
  • Each evergreen requisition must be for a distinct position; however, more than one evergreen requisition can be open at the same time for different positions.
  • To keep the data clean, distinct evergreen requisitions should be created for jobs within the same AAP.
  • Evergreen requisitions should remain open for no longer than three months. If the evergreen position turns into an open position and is filled prior to the end of the three months, close out that requisition and open a new evergreen requisition.
If you have any questions or would like to continue this discussion, do not hesitate to contact me at debragardner@workplace-dynamics.com or at 410-581-4970. To receive our compliance updates and newsletters, sign-up at www.workplace-dynamics.com.