A study by business advisory firm CEB said that targeting appeal, where firms make themselves as visible to candidates as possible should not be prioritised over influence, where organisations take a more selective approach to candidates in order to find better quality ones.
The report, Moving from Appeal to Influence, said that the number of worldwide candidates had increased by a third over the last three years. But, employers found that only 28% of those candidates were of high quality. The figure has remained constant.
Research showed that the low quality of candidates was because employers were not targeting the right applicants through the use of branding.
Using the appeal of a company risked distancing the best people for the job with over six-in-ten (61%) of candidates saying they were more sceptical of claims made by firms presently than three years ago.
In another study by CEB, titled CEB 2014 Employment Branding Effectiveness Survey, the advisory firm said employers that focus on influence saw a marked rise in the quality of candidates and retention.
Using this approach, employers reported a 54% rise in candidate quality. The standard of those eventually hired also increased by 9%. This led to a 23% decrease in new hire turnover over those organisations that branded for appeal.
CEB managing director Donna Weiss told HR magazine that branding for “critical talent” was the best way to attract better applicants.
"Look at your most important talent segment and really make sure you're hitting that," she said. "You can significantly improve your talent pool in this way without putting that many resources into it.” She warned that if branding was wrong this may put off more prospective applicants than firms recognise.
"If you think of people who you might not know you're reaching with your branding, such as passive candidates or people who see your company but don't end up applying, it's a much bigger number than most people think," she said.