Talent acquisition far away from business objectives: Study


Talent acquisition professionals shy away from using the latest tools and technology that could empower them to get aligned with business objectives and it’s a big opportunity loss.

Talent acquisition professionals will probably disagree or hate the findings of this survey. However if it is to be believed, the fact remains that talent acquisition teams are far away from the organisation’s business objectives .

Talent acquisition teams are frequently without a strategic workforce plan, and those that do, rarely have a plan that extends beyond more than one year.

According to a study by Korn Ferry – Talent Forecast Futurestep’s global survey – of more than 1,100 hiring professionals, only 39 per cent of respondents report that their recruitment team is aligned to their organisation’s business objectives. Nearly one-third (29 per cent) admit they don’t have a strategic workforce plan, which helps them map future talent needs to business strategy. Twenty nine percent of survey respondents report they have no workforce plan at all. Forty percent said they have a plan that extends for 12 months and 17 percent report they have a plan for the next six months.

The fact is that recruiting is still viewed as a transactional activity that is not mapped to the overall strategy, objectives and goals of the organisation. It’s a different story that top bosses 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.

The absence of a long-term talent acquisition plan in most organisations is symptomatic of the separation between the talent acquisition team and the business leaders who develop and implement strategy.

Furthermore, surprisingly, less than 50 per cent are taking advantage of recruitment technologies such as applicant tracking systems, video interviewing, or online assessment tools.

What organisations don’ realise is that they are missing on a big opportunity by not mapping talent acquisition efforts to business strategy and not using tools that make the talent acquisition process smooth, systematic and efficient.

In fact, organisations that do use recruitment process outsourcing providers, use them largely for sourcing and screening candidates as the report suggests that less than 50 per cent utilise RPOs for employer branding or compiling metrics for reporting and decision making.

“When talent strategy and business strategy are not aligned, talent acquisition becomes tactical and ineffective,” says, Sue Campbell, managing director, Asia, Korn Ferry Futurestep. “To successfully implement strategies, such as M&A or organic growth, 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 how to fill the gaps,” she adds.

When talent acquisition professionals were asked what they would focus on if they could spend more time with their recruitment teams, 39 per cent said being a stronger partner with the business/hiring manager, followed by 31 per cent agreeing to strategic sourcing capabilities.

In line with that, Bill Gilbert, Korn Ferry Futurestep president, North America, says “It’s critical that talent professionals work closely with the company’s business and hiring managers to define and communicate the employer value proposition—why a candidate would choose their organisation over a competitor.”

He also says that “In addition, talent professionals should be able to use data to inform business/hiring managers on the size of a talent pool, compensation levels, and provide a competitive analysis of other organisations targeting the same candidates.”

Most surprisingly, many talent acquisition professionals are not fully utilising available technology to engage and assess candidates. For instance, only 28 per cent of respondents report using mobile technology tools for recruitment. “While the use of mobile technology in recruiting will undoubtedly increase in coming years, talent acquisition professionals should move quickly in this area to best capture candidates’ attention, particularly those in the millennial generation, who are perpetually connected to their mobile devices,” says Gilbert.

In addition, only 46 per cent say they use video interviewing or online assessment tools, and of those who do use online assessment tools for selection purposes, 26 per cent don’t use the data to inform on-boarding or development strategies.

Finally, the report sheds light on the use of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partners. The top two ways respondents say they work with RPO partners is sourcing (88 per cent) and screening (74 per cent) candidates. 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 per cent of survey respondents said they use applicant tracking systems for recruitment purposes—a surprisingly low number given that ATS is 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,” said Jan Mueller, managing director, talent acquisition solutions, EMEA, Korn Ferry Futurestep. RPOs can provide quantitative information about the target talent pool, compensation, and social channel behaviours, and at the back end, they can produce data on conversion rates, time-to-hire, qualified candidates per hire, and interviews per hire — all of which are helpful in developing a more professional talent acquisition process.

To conclude, the report states that the stakes are high and just 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 win the trust and confidence of their colleagues.


  1. Well written Lipi. Thanks for sharing

    YES, TA professionals must be open to and adapt to the technologies to foster and be Adept at the evolving recruiting techniques that is mainly to simplify, which obviously maps to and tracts up the Business outcomes. Need of the hour for the Talent Leaders, to ensure their teams are comfortable and receptive to the approaches and induct the crew appropriately..

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