Building the Nurse–Recruiter Relationship
By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
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I often write about how important a recruiter is to your career as a travel nurse. I had the good fortune to work with one of the best in the business during my travel years. But I also worked with other nurse recruiters as I “shopped around” for other companies. The trick is to find someone who you feel comfortable with and has the resources you need, and then to work together to achieve your goals.
I have referred to recruiters as the car salesmen of the health care industry--but know that I mean that with respect. The travel nurse recruiter works hard every day to hook up good nurses with good hospitals to meet patient needs. In order for it to work to everyone’s benefit, the nurse and recruiter really have to spend some time getting to know each other.
As I said, I had the privilege of working with one of the best recruiters in the industry. From day one I knew we would get along, as we had similar interests and I could tell that he was a go-getter.
Originally, I was just looking into traveling, but with Lance’s help (and a little push) I was off and interviewing within a month of our first phone conversation. From that moment on we had a great working relationship. I got to know him and he got to know me, and after a few assignments we really didn’t have to negotiate anything when it came to new assignments. He knew what types of jobs and locations were the right fit.
Now as with any good relationship, this didn’t happen overnight. It required work and good communication, on both sides.
Most seasoned travel nurse recruiters understand the importance of building this relationship, and will start by having a “get to know you” call. The recruiter is trying to find out about you, to see where you would fit and if you are serious about traveling. During this call it is important for you to ask questions, as well.
Here are some basic questions you might start with:
- How many travelers do you work with? (This will give you an idea of how busy they might be.)
- How long have you been in the recruiting business? (Experience is everything.)
- Do you like what you do? (This can give you an idea of how long your recruiter might stay in the job; I would hate to start over with another recruiter.)
- How is the staffing business right now? Are there plenty of jobs in my specialty? (This can let you know more about the stability of the company and their ability to find positions for you.)
- What areas of the country do you staff? (If you plan on going someplace specific, ask this early as the company you’re talking to might have limited contacts in your chosen location.)
Overall, spend this time getting to know your nurse recruiter, and let him or her get to know you. Then, once you’ve signed on with a company and have your first assignment, you will get to know each other even better. You’ll learn how your recruiter negotiates and he/she will see what kinds of things are most important for you, whether it be location, work environment, housing or pay.
Building a relationship with a good recruiter is key to being happy as a travel nurse. But you have to take that first step. Are you ready?
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