Working with multiple recruiters as a travel nurse… should you? Or shouldn’t you? At a time when people are always “reachable”, it can be overwhelming to be working with more than one travel nurse recruiter. Your phone seems to always be ringing, recruiters are calling you (usually) about mediocre jobs with mediocre pay. And you think to yourself… why did I sign up with multiple companies again? Why did I give my number out to so many recruiters? But fear not! There is a positive side to working with multiple recruiters and here’s why…
When I first became a travel nurse in 2016 I was only working with one recruiter. I thought that she was going to always be my “person” and I felt an odd sense of loyalty to her. I signed four contracts with this recruiter before learning my lesson – it is okay to be working with more than one recruiter. When I was only loyal to one recruiter I had no room to negotiate pay, I didn’t know what pay packages other companies were offering, and I didn’t even know half of the hospitals that were hiring. (There’s only so much one person can do at a time). I continued to sign low paying contracts only to learn that the other travelers on my floor were making significantly more than me. It was a shitty feeling, but I still felt loyal to her.
It took multiple low paying contracts for me to finally snap out of my loyalty. I realized that I should start prioritizing my own needs and wants. After all, I was the one showing up at the hospital and I was the one doing the same work as everyone else… only they were getting paid more than me! I realized that I needed to start treating each contract as a business decision and not as anything other than that.
Once I started speaking with multiple recruiters I started to notice the differences in pay packages. While X company could pay X money, a different company sending me to the same hospital would pay me X+$200/week. I realized that I could lever my pay packages allowing me the freedom to choose which company I would rather be working with. (Tip: Always get the pay package quoted to you in writing to show other recruiters). I also realized that I could leverage things other than money. I could now leverage other aspects of my contract. Licensure reimbursement, CEU reimbursement, travel stipends, and more.
Pros to Working With Multiple Travel Nurse Recruiters
Room to Negotiate
When you’re working with more than one travel nurse recruiter you have much more room to negotiate things like pay. Each time a recruiter calls and offers me a job I specifically ask what the TAKE HOME pay is (after taxes) and ask them if that is the best offer they have. I then politely let them know that I will get back to them and “shop” around through other recruiters. However, there is a downside to this. Sometimes jobs go incredibly fast (I lost out on a contract in San Francisco because I was so obsessed with finding out who could give me the most money) and if you’re calling multiple recruiters the job could get snatched up. I also think that it is important to have a sense of trust in your recruiter. At this moment in time, until she proves me wrong, I wholeheartedly trust my recruiter. For that reason, I don’t “shop” around anymore as I’m content with her and I trust that she is giving me the absolute most money she can.
More Opportunity to Land the Job of Your Dreams
Another pro to having more than one travel nurse recruiter is that you have a higher chance of landing your dream job at your dream hospital! With more “eyes” out there looking for job openings for you, the better chance you’ll have at being submitted to those coveted jobs before they close. After all, one recruiter can only do so much work.
Cons to Working With Multiple Travel Nurse Recruiters
…Working With Multiple Travel Nurse Recruiters
It can be emotionally draining at times to work with multiple recruiters. I still feel a sense of dread and regret when I worry that I may be “screwing” over one recruiter only to help another profit. The way I handle this is by remembering that this is a business decision and that I have allowed each recruiter to offer the highest pay package that they can. I also have to remind myself that at the end of the day, I’m the one showing up and doing the work. I have to go with my gut feeling whether or not it seems “fair” to others.
As stated earlier, I once lost out on my dream job in San Francisco because I got a bit greedy. I was so worried about getting the highest pay package I could that I spent too much time waiting for recruiters to respond to me and my dream job got snatched up. It’s important to weigh your options every time a recruiter approaches you with a pay package. How bad do you want the job? Are you satisfied with the pay? If the job were to go away because you were “shopping” around, would you be upset? Would you accept the payment if everyone else was offering the same package? Always ask yourself these questions before accepting or declining a contract.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember when working with more than one travel nurse recruiter is that you have to trust your gut instinct. As you start to gain more knowledge in this industry trusting yourself becomes easier and knowing whether or not a recruiter is offering you mediocre pay will become like second nature. It’s important to not get too caught up in the little details and always remember why it is you chose to become a travel nurse in the first place. Assignments will come and go, recruiters will come and go, and at the end of the day, you have to be at peace with yourself and the decisions you make.