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Candidates AND Recruiters Admit to Placing Each Other ‘on the Bench’


While viewed negatively in a romantic sense, over a third (39.8%) of candidates admit to benching a recruiter and a further, 77.7% of recruiters believe that it is beneficial to bench candidates. This is according to a new study from job site, CV-Library, which also found that 76.2% of recruiters find keeping potential candidates ‘on the bench’ useful in case a new hire doesn’t work out.

The study, which explored the views of 1,500 candidates and 700 recruiters, revealed that 77.1% of recruitment professionals think that benching is an effective part of their recruitment strategy, with 87.7% stating that they have made use of those they have placed in a talent pool. And this is not a one way street; the survey also found that 63.7% of candidates believe keeping potential employees ‘on the bench’ is useful in case a new job doesn’t work out.

But it’s clear from the findings that recruiters are willing to keep candidates in the lurch for longer, with nearly half (44.5%) believing that it’s acceptable to bench a candidate for over two weeks, compared to just 22.1% of candidates. Other key finding include:

  • The majority of candidates (53.6%) believe that the longest you should leave a recruiter waiting is up to one week
  • …Compared with just one fifth (19.5%) of recruiters
  • Interestingly, 10.9% of candidates said it’s acceptable to bench a recruiter for over a month, while only 9.1% of recruiters said they’d do the same to candidates

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments:

It’s clear that recruiters are increasingly using benching as part of their recruitment strategy, which is not entirely surprising.  Many recruitment professionals are under increased pressure to fill positions quickly, and having a pool of talented job hunters to revisit can help to reduce the time and cost of finding the right candidate in the future. This can also work in the favour of job hunters who may then be put forward for another, more relevant, position at a later date, or have a backup plan in case a new role doesn’t work out. Most interestingly, our data has revealed that this trend is also becoming increasingly popular amongst job hunters, though very few would leave a recruiter on the back burner for more than two weeks.”

Furthermore, nearly half (48.4%) of recruiters admit to rejecting a candidate in the final stages of the recruitment process and then hiring them later, with 73.6% saying that they do this up to five times a year. On the other hand, 42% of candidates revealed that they have been turned down for a position in the first instance, before being contacted again at a later date. However, whether this is a strategy that pays off is yet to be seen, as only 13.6% said they got the job as a result.

Biggins concludes:

“Keeping each other on the bench is clearly becoming an integral part of both recruiters’ and candidates’ strategies when it comes to filling a position / searching for a new job. Though some may view this negatively, it can be mutually beneficial for each party: opening up the possibility for new opportunities and an increased talent pool. That said it is clear that only a small percentage of candidates are currently getting jobs as a result of being benched. Ultimately, whether you’re looking for a talented new recruit or your dream job, the search can be long, but our findings suggest that benching can help you to get one step closer to ensuring you find the perfect fit.”


CV-Library is one of the UK’s largest online job sites, with the UK’s biggest database of over 12m CVs. The company was founded in 2000 as a response to Lee’s identification of a market niche. As a young carpet fitter at the time struggling to find work, Lee saw a need for an easy-to-use job board benefiting both job hunters and recruiters. With a £9k loan and help from a web developer, the CV-Library website was built. Lee’s raw passion and hands-on marketing strategies lifted the business off the ground and it is this that continues to push his company to new heights.

The business is now one of the fastest growing websites in the country. The team is expanding rapidly, now employing over 200 staff. It has also launched sister website, Resume Library, in the US, where the company is set to expand and take the brand global over the coming years. Lee puts the reason for his success down to working incredibly hard, loving what he does and a strong desire to make the business the best it can be.

Lee has received over 50 awards and accolades to date and was last year recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year. In April 2015 CV-Library was also ranked as number 49 in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100.


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