7 Qualities of a Great Travel Nurse Recruiter


By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor

In the unique and exciting world of travel nursing, there are few things more important than a strong recruiter–traveler relationship. Recruiters are the guiding light on any travel nursing journey, whether it’s your first assignment or your 100th.

But how do you distinguish a really good travel nurse recruiter from all the rest? How can you be sure you are working with someone who has your best interest at heart? As it turns out, there are several qualities that set top-notch recruiters apart.

Seven characteristics to look for in a travel nurse recruiter:

1. Stellar communication skills

Travel nurses will tell you that the importance of a recruiter’s communication skills cannot be stressed enough. Nicole Reisinger, RN, who traveled with American Mobile Healthcare, said communication is “so huge.” Her recruiter, Heather Murray, always kept the communication lines open during her year of traveling throughout the Boston area.

Communication is also an important trait that Lindsey Mieras, RN, an American Mobile travel nurse, identified in her travel nurse recruiter, Christina Pastoral.

“You recruiter is your first contact in the travel nursing world and someone you will stay in close contact with throughout your traveling career,” she said. “It can be an overwhelming experience deciding what city to move to, where to live and choosing your place of work … not to mention the licensing, forms, taxes and insurance changes, and the general headaches associated with frequently moving.”

“I wanted to feel supported and like I wasn’t alone in the process,” she continued. “Christina helped me feel comfortable and guided me in my transition from place to place.”

2. Honesty

A good recruiter tells it like it is. Whether you are trying to decide if a travel nursing position might work for you, or dealing with a situation while you are already on assignment, you want to work with someone who will relay the facts and portray all information as accurately as possible.

But that type of honesty should be two-way street. In order to build a successful working relationship, you as the nurse candidate should be open in communicating your wants and needs.  Recruiters are not mind readers, and it is essential that you are upfront and honest about your expectations from the very beginning.

3. Accessibility

Travel nurses often take assignments in unfamiliar locations, which means they need to work with someone who can be reached by phone or email--in order to answer questions, solve issues and act as a resource.

“Christina Pastoral was a great recruiter because she didn't make me feel like I was just a number on a list,” said Mieras. “I dealt with other recruiters at other agencies who seemed like they couldn't wait to get off of the phone, interrupting me and brushing me off or blatantly ignoring my questions.”

“She regularly called just to check up on me and really got to know me,” Mieras explained. “If I had a question she couldn't directly answer, she wouldn't leave me to fend for myself. She would guide me and personally contact the correct person who could solve the problem.”

4. Trustworthiness

The ability to trust your recruiter and your staffing company is essential, Reisinger explained. “You want to know that you are getting into a job and a situation where you will be successful, and that you are not alone.”

Travelers want an honest, dedicated and attentive recruiter, Mieras added. “I like a recruiter who gets to know me and treats me as an individual, who understands that not all positions are right for everyone and has the ability to find the right contract for me. Christina did that.”

Staffing companies that have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval have high standards to uphold and invest heavily in training their recruiters and other staff. This can provide an added sense of security for the travel nurses they employ.

5. Patience

Patience truly is a virtue, and in today’s fast-paced society, it may be more important then ever. A patient recruiter takes the time to listen, answer questions and provide reassurance.

Patience is one of the qualities Mieras enjoys most about her recruiter. “Christina was a good listener and patient, and never made me feel like I was bothering her by calling,” she said.

6. Pleasant working style

“My recruiter was so friendly and I chose American Mobile because I felt more comfortable with the interactions that I was having with her,” Reisinger said.

Just as patients want to work with nurses who demonstrate kindness, compassion and caring, nurse travelers should look for recruiters who demonstrate those same qualities. You want to find someone who you connect with and with whom you can quickly establish a bond.  In many case, travel nurses end up building long-time friendships with their recruiters.

7. Success at his/her job

Another “must have” trait for a nurse recruiter is that he or she knows how to find the right jobs for you and can serve as a career advisor. You want someone who is going to go the extra mile and search out the assignments that meet your specific needs.

“I started working with my recruiter because she stayed in contact with me and she really worked to find a fit for my specialty and what I wanted to do,” Reisinger said. “She would always call and check up and bring new ideas for assignments that I hadn’t thought about pursuing. She was able to find a job that really was a fit for me.”

Mieras said she truly appreciated her recruiter’s dedication, determination and understanding during a tough time in her life. “She was so understanding when it came to finding me a contract closer to home when my dad was ill. I know she genuinely cares about her nurses.”

Related articles:
Building the Nurse–Recruiter Relationship (Blog)

Ready to advance your nursing career? Connect with leading travel nurse recruiters across the country. Request a call today!

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