Building a workforce with the right people is a challenging task that uses a lot of resources. Resume review, assessments, screening calls, interviews – there is no doubt that companies spend a lot of time looking for the bright and the best. According to one study, firms around the world interview, on average, 13 people for everyone they hire.

Yet many firms are neither tying their hiring efforts to their business strategy nor using tools to help make their hiring process streamlined and more efficient, according to a new study by Korn Ferry. Indeed, 61 percent of talent-acquisition professionals say their recruitment team is not aligned to their organisation’s business objectives. Worse, 29 percent admit they don’t have a strategic workforce plan.

It’s a huge missed opportunity because any good talent strategy is intrinsically intertwined with a company’s business strategy. To successfully implement business strategies, it’s critical for organisational and talent management leaders to step back and analyse the types of talent they need, what talent they have and design a talent strategy that will fill the gaps.

The consequences of the hiring disconnect can be particularly harmful when an organisation embarks on a major strategy or enters a new market. For example, the talent-acquisition team can smoothly build a strategy for identifying and recruiting candidates for an international expansion if the team finds out 18 months before the company expands abroad. If the talent-acquisition staff is informed later in the process, it will have to scramble to fill the positions.

Unfortunately, too often, recruiting is viewed as a transactional activity that is not mapped to the overall strategy, objectives and goals of the organisation. Company leaders might increasingly expect their talent function to play a bigger role in the growth of their organisations, but if the business and talent strategies aren’t aligned, this could prove futile.

To deliver greater value to their organisations, talent acquisition professionals must develop an in-depth understanding of the business strategy and how it impacts talent needs throughout the organisation.

Our study also revealed that many hiring professionals are not fully utilising available technology to engage and assess candidates. Only 28 percent of respondents report using mobile technology tools for recruitment. And even among those who use online tools, about one quarter of them don’t use the data the tools generate to inform onboarding or development strategies.

Talent acquisition professionals who are not availing themselves of software tools and dashboard analytics to track activity and performance are missing out on an opportunity to raise their level of performance and to work more effectively with their business colleagues.

The study also shows that firms aren’t averse to getting outside help; 88 percent say they work with recruitment process outsourcing partners, or RPOs, to find talent. However, relatively few organisations use other services that RPOs offer, such as employer branding, building talent communities, or creating metrics for reporting and decision making. Only 48 percent of survey respondents said they use applicant tracking systems for recruitment purposes, a surprisingly low number given that those systems are generally needed for regulatory compliance.

RPO firms can be particularly valuable in bringing technology and innovation to bear on the recruitment process, but many organisations are using them strictly as tactical recruiting machines. RPOs can provide quantitative information about the target talent pool, compensation and social channel behaviours. At the same time, RPOs produce data on conversion rates, time-to-hire, qualified candidates per hire, and interviews per hire — all of which can help develop a more professional talent-acquisition process.

To better serve their organisations, talent acquisition professionals should embrace tools, technologies, and services that raise the level of their performance and provide their business colleagues with better information on talent pools and talent trends.

Talent acquisition professionals are on the front lines in the war for talent, so the stakes are high. Like so many other things in today’s economy, talent acquisition is changing. The future will belong to talent professionals who stay ahead of the curve, work in a more strategic manner, and help their companies achieve their strategic objectives.

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About the contributor

Pip Eastman is the Managing Director for APAC Regional Solutions, RPO and Professional Search, Korn Ferry. She is responsible for the performance and growth of the APAC business; developing new clients, enhancing market presence and integrating RPO and Professional Search’s lines of business into existing clients. Pip has extensive experience in solution design. Her responsibilities included client development, contract and commercial negotiations, and the implementation, operational delivery, and continuous improvement of projects.

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