As a travel nurse or allied health professional, having a solid recruiter and staffing agency at your side can make or break your career. Therefore, it’s important to know what questions to ask to find the best travel nurse recruiter and how to pick a healthcare staffing agency that meets your needs. While this post is written through the lens of a travel nurse, these same principles apply to the techs, therapists, assistants, specialists, and more that are working across various sectors of the allied health community.
Recruiters are trusted by the staffing agency, therefore the hospital, to fill open needs with a qualified nurse. Easy-peasy … right? Not so much. Just anyone with a pulse won’t do here. These hospitals rely on staffing agencies to fill often critical shortages, quickly. Finding the right nurse at the right time is a challenge. So above all, this is a travel nurse recruiter’s primary focus.
Recruiters juggle hundreds of job requirements and hit the (digital) streets to hunt down the most qualified nurse. Any ol’ nurse won’t do. There are complex and specific requirements around licenses, professions, specialties, skill sets, certifications, competencies, and more to identify a nurse that meets the unique requirements of a hospital. As a result, finding a match can be a needle in a haystack. With the current nursing shortage, often times it comes down to one needle in a really big haystack.
Yes. Having a solid recruiter and staffing agency at your side can make or break your career as a travel nurse. The recruiter you work with often determines the difference between being the first one submitted for a hot job that everyone wants, or missing it because of miscommunication and disorganization.
A strong travel nurse recruiter takes the extra step to secure a hard to get contract. Once your contract is locked in, a strong recruiter advocates and negotiates on your behalf to provide a smooth flow into your new position. They recommend specific career advancement opportunities to make your professional portfolio more competitive. Present the best pay package and advise against lousy ones. Steer you away from nightmare hospitals. Bargain with unit managers to request days off. Educate you on the complexities of travel nursing. Identify your motivations to suggest creative alternatives when your plans don’t play out. Set realistic expectations.
Recruiters are like a travel agent, business partner, and pen pal all in one. You don’t want a lousy one. Plus, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. So, it’s worth taking the time to find the best recruiter that meets your needs.
Best case scenario, your values aren’t aligned, so communication is poor and you simply annoy each other. But rushing into a recruiter relationship can often lead to partnering with someone that is misleading, selfish, or dishonest. Your travel nurse recruiter is your business partner. They advise you on your options and how to approach them. They see and understand more than you do when it comes to these options.
In other words, trust and transparency is crucial. If you don’t have the same agenda, things are not going to go well for one or both of you. Having a lousy recruiter can result in the horror story of candidates being submitted without their approval, being lied to about contract details, or being pressured into positions they end up hating.
It’s easy to find a travel nurse recruiter — they’re everywhere. But as a nurse you want quality, not quantity. Good recruiters get noticed and attract good talent quickly. They have limited time and resources for their candidates. Therefore, they give the best contracts to the nurses they have strong and long-term relationships with. Interview your recruiter while they are interviewing you to make sure they are the best recruiter for your needs.
There are many questions to consider throughout the process.
In reality, there are no right or wrong answers. It’s all about finding a travel nurse recruiter that makes you comfortable and confident that they will advocate on your behalf. Ask yourself what else is important to you and go from there.