Uprooting your entire life to begin a career of unknowns is a scary thing. Finding a job where you want isn’t certain, finding a job in the time frame you’re looking for isn’t certain, and finding housing is even more uncertain. That’s why it’s incredibly important to pick a travel nurse recruiter than you can trust and that truly cares for you as a human being. Not as a paycheck that they get to cash in every week for 13-weeks. Even with that being said, every great recruiter still may not be the exact fit for you. It’s important to narrow it down to your personality so that you can find a recruiter that is right for you specifically!
4 Things to Look For in a Travel Nurse Recruiter
While each recruiter should be tailored to your needs specifically, there are a few overarching qualities that every good recruiter should (and will) have. Here are some things that I’ve picked up on after speaking with multiple recruiters throughout the years.
As a new travel nurse, everything seems to be quite overwhelming. All a sudden you’re getting pay packages thrown at you, you’re hearing words that aren’t normally in your vocabulary such as “guaranteed hours”, “net pay”, “gross pay”, “tax-free”, and so on. It’s normal that you don’t understand what these things mean. What isn’t normal is working with a recruiter who doesn’t seem to have the patience to explain these things to you in-depth. Even if you’re slow to learn, that recruiter you’re speaking to should be slow to teach. Never accept to work with a recruiter if you don’t understand what they are saying to you.
Another important lesson that I learned from working with multiple recruiters, is that its imperative that your recruiter understands where you’re coming from, your wants and needs out of travel nursing, and does his/her best to get you where you want to be. If you tell your recruiter you don’t want to work the night shift, then they should understand and respect that wish and not pressure you into a night shift contract because it’s “good pay”. Remember, you’re the one who will be suffering through the long nights – not them. Again, they are just reaping the reward of your hard work and paycheck.
The third most important thing that you want to look for in a recruiter is someone who is a good listener. They need to be able to listen to what you want out of an assignment and give that to you. Once you give a list to them of things you want (i.e. NICU level III/IV, day shift, etc) then each assignment they send you should fill those requirements.
This should go without saying, but you should be able to trust your travel nurse recruiter. Trust that they have your best interests at heart, are giving you the maximum pay that they can, and that they are looking out for what your wants and needs are. Not to mention you need to trust that your recruiter won’t submit you to any job that you didn’t permit them to.
How to Find a Travel Nurse Recruiter Tailored to You
Now that we have those four key qualities out of the way, its time to get more specific. This is when things get more personalized to what you like and your unique personality. I want you to now get a pen and paper and start writing down things that you specifically want/need in a recruiter. Here are some examples:
Do you want a recruiter that communicates via phone, text, or email?
Do you want a recruiter that acknowledges it’s your first day of work or generally steers clear unless you contact them?
Do you want your recruiter to check in on you?
Do you want a recruiter who is easy to get a hold of? (i.e. you have their cell phone number), or are you okay with calling the office during office hours?
Do you want a recruiter who notifies you of every job opening under the sun, or do you only want to be notified for certain jobs?
Do you prefer someone to hold your hand through an assignment or do you prefer to navigate things alone?
Now the most important part about this process is – you need to be able to communicate these things to your recruiter. You cannot expect them to read your mind. And you can’t get upset if you don’t communicate what you want and then they don’t do these things. It’s also important to remember that travel nurse recruiters have boundaries too! Maybe for the sake of their well-being, they don’t want you to have direct access to them at all times. That’s okay, but maybe instead you need to make sure you have an emergency number available if that is something you need. Or to find a recruiter who will give you their number. Its also important to know that even if you get far along in a conversation with a particular recruiter, it’s okay to walk away and look elsewhere. Again, you’ll be working with them for the duration of your contract so if you have a gut feeling, follow it.
Jumping into the world of travel nursing is a hard and scary thing to do. Your recruiter will either be your best asset or one that can make this process a nightmare. Once you start talking with more and more recruiters it will be easy to weed through the bad and pick out the good. And remember, not every recruiter will be suited for every person. We all have different personality traits and different things we like. Be vocal about your needs and move on if someone doesn’t suit you.
For anyone wanting a specific recommendation for a recruiter – find me on Instagram (@passportsandpreemies) and send me a DM so I can further help you. Otherwise, you may find these posts helpful to learn more about the industry…