How to Break Up With Your Travel Nurse Recruiter

How to Break Up With Your Travel Nurse Recruiter
Share Me!

We’ve all been there before – that dreaded feeling you have when you know you need to do something that you don’t want to do.  That little voice in your head that tells you, “It’s time to rip off the bandaid and get out – NOW.”  As a travel nurse, one of the worst things that can happen (aside from your contract getting canceled) is working with a company you don’t jive with or worse… a recruiter you don’t vibe with.  But fear not.  You are not alone.  Breakups with recruiters happen every single day and there is a way that you can go about it correctly.  Read on for tips on how to kindly break up with a recruiter you don’t get along with without burning any bridges.


How to Break Up With Your Travel Nurse Recruiter

You might decide it’s time to cut ties with your recruiter for one of two reasons.  First might be that you don’t like the company.  The second might be that you don’t like the recruiter.  If you don’t like the company it will be easier to break it to your recruiter that you’re jumping ship.  However, if you simply don’t like your recruiter but you want to stay with the company, things could get more complicated.


How to Break Up With Your Recruiter if You Don’t Like the Company

nurse in front of the painted ladies in san francisco

If you don’t like the company that you’re working with but want to continue travel nursing, don’t feel bad for switching companies (in fact, I recommend working with multiple companies/recruiters to start with).  You owe it to yourself to do what makes you happy and makes you want to get out of bed and go to work.

So, if you want to work with another company… how do you tell your recruiter?  For starters, I would make a list of why you’d rather work with another company.  Perhaps another company is paying you more?  Maybe a different company approached you with a job you want to take. Maybe you just don’t like that the company your with is hard to reach or doesn’t pay you correctly each week.  Whatever your reason is for switching companies, tell the truth without sugar-coating it.

Chances are your recruiter will try to get you to stick around.  If this happens stand your ground and remember your reason for wanting to leave in the first place.  You’re only wasting your time and their time by not being truthful and dancing around the breakup.

A good example of breaking up with your recruiter because you don’t like the company would be:  “Hi Sally.  I’ve enjoyed working with you, however, I don’t feel like I jive with the company.  It was difficult for me to reach anyone in payroll and/or compliance when I had issues and it’s just not the kind of company I want to continue working with.  I hope that you take my feedback to your manager so that things improve.  I want to reiterate that I liked you but I don’t want to move forward in the future.  Thank you for all of the work you’ve done for me!” – This is kind and precise.  You’ve stated what you don’t like and didn’t offer any false promises of working together in the future.

A bad example of breaking up with your recruiter because you don’t like the company would be:  “Hi Sally.  I think I’m going to try something else.  Maybe you could reach out to me in a few months?” – This example is vague and dances around the fact that you don’t want to work with the company anymore.  Now Sally will be keeping an eye out for jobs for you and will continue to contact you.  I encourage you to be more clear with your approach, it will play out better in the long run.


How to Break Up if You Don’t Like Your Recruiter (But You Want to Stay With the Company)

nurse on blue and green steps in san francisco

If you want to break up with your recruiter because you don’t like your recruiter things can feel more personal and therefore can be more tricky.  The key is to remember that your recruiter and you are in a relationship – if you aren’t happy, it is toxic to stick around.  There is no such thing as getting along with everyone and it certainly isn’t unheard of to switch recruiters.

But what if you love the company you’re with?  While it can be awkward it is still important to cut ties with your recruiter and request to work with someone else for your own peace of mind and sanity.  I highly encourage you to directly tell your recruiter that you’d like to work with someone else, and if they give you trouble or that doesn’t work, take it to their manager.  Give specific reasons why you want a new recruiter but still be kind about it.  Perhaps your recruiter doesn’t respond to your emails, gives you false information, or is just generally not a great person to work with.  State the facts, be clear, and stick to your gut.

If I don’t like a recruiter I’m working with I try to stick it out until the end of my contract and then when talks about extensions occur or about working elsewhere, I will bring up that I think it would be better if I worked with someone else.  For instance, I’d say, “I don’t think that you and I are a good match.  I want to stay with the company but I want a new recruiter.  I appreciate what you’ve done for me until this point but now I want to work with someone else.”  If they ask why then tell them why in a polite way that will hopefully allow them room to grow and change.

If you tell your recruiter that you want a new recruiter and they flat out refuse or act inappropriate about it, then it is 100% okay to escalate the situation.  Or if something has happened that has made you feel uncomfortable it’s okay to bypass the recruiter and go directly to the manager.  A way of doing this would be to ask your recruiter if you can speak with the manager, or call the main company number, and ask to speak with your recruiter’s manager.  Remember, if you speak with the manager give constructive feedback.  There is no point in saying, “I want a new recruiter because I don’t like my recruiter”.  Try to pinpoint what the exact issue is so that positive change can occur.


How to Break Up if You Don’t Like Your Recruiter (And You Want to Switch Companies)

nurse at sunrise with san francisco skyline in backdrop

If you don’t like your recruiter or the company you’re with, things can become infinitely easier.  While I never recommend ghosting, you can simply slip away much easier.  I think that it is still important to reach out to your recruiter and tell them that you’re moving forward in your career with a different company for a couple of reasons.  First, you don’t want to burn any bridges.  But second, you probably don’t want that recruiter to continue contacting you.


Read more:  7 Red Flags in Travel Nursing


When Breaking Up With Your Recruiter You Should…

  • Be pilot – Whether or not you thought your recruiter was good or bad you owe it to them to be pilot.  Remember – sometimes people are fighting battles that you know nothing about.
  • Stick to the facts – If you have issues, write them down and date them.  Stick to the facts without letting your feelings get in the way.
  • Show kindness even if they aren’t – If you try to break up with your recruiter and they lash out at you (which they might), don’t stoop to their level.  Breathe, stick to your guns, and appreciate that you’re getting out of a toxic relationship.


When Breaking Up With Your Recruiter You Shouldn’t…

  • Ghost them – Ghosting your recruiter will only prolong the breakup.  They may continue to reach out to you and it isn’t fun to dodge phone calls/texts/emails over and over again.
  • Be disrespectful – Again, your recruiter may be fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Don’t be disrespectful.
  • Badmouth them on social media – I get it.  Someone makes you mad and you want to tell the world.  But hold off.  We all have bad days (recruiters too) so keep your opinions to yourself.  If someone directly asks you about a recruiter I think it’s 100% fair to share your opinion, but your opinion doesn’t necessarily need to be shouted to the world.
  • Lie – Absolutely don’t lie to your recruiter.  Chances are they’ve been doing this a while and they are going to be able to sniff out a lie a mile away.  Saying something like, “I’ve decided to go permanent” when you haven’t is a lie and it shouldn’t be told.  We’re all adults now, deal with your break up like an adult and not like a child.


Breaking up with your recruiter can be scary.  But as long as you’re following your gut and being kind, it is no sweat off your back.  Remember, travel nursing is a business and stuff like this happens every single day.


My travel nursing career hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies.  Read about The Worst Experience I’ve Had With a Travel Nurse Recruiter to see what I mean.


Pin Me!


Share Me!

Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook



  1. Cynthia
    May 6, 2021 / 12:32 pm

    Thx! In the process of ripping this bandage off as we speak…thx for the tips!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *