Finding a great recruiter can make or break a travel nurse’s career.
Whether it’s the constant influx of job opportunities, 24/7 support, or simply having someone as committed to your career as you, the traveler-recruiter relationship can be a life saver (no pun intended).
But how does a travel nurse find a great recruiter? How do you vet the available options? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
That’s the question that our CXO, Adam Conrad, asked a panel of GR Certified travel nurse recruiters at The Gypsy Nurse’s 2023 Spring Virtual Conference:
- Olivia Jarvis, Atlas MedStaff
- Chelsea Larson, AB Staffing Solutions
- JT Jumonville, Travel Nurse Across America
These takeaways from their conversation will tell you how to spring into your travel career by finding a great recruiter.
Why is the traveler-recruiter relationship so important?
Travel nursing is a high-touch industry. You’re jetting from assignment to assignment—whether it’s thirty minutes down the road, or halfway across the country.
Everything’s in flux—the facilities, coworkers, supervisors. So if you can find some continuity from assignment to assignment, it can make your life a lot easier.
That’s where a recruiter can help you. They can provide essential support as you progress through your career:
- Finding assignments that fit with your career goals—not throwing you into a one-size-fits-all template
- Working “one step ahead” to find you that next assignment—so you can focus on your current work and self-care
- Being your go-to support person while you’re on assignment
- Helping you with career advice and professional development
Especially as the recruiting sector becomes more and more automated, many travelers are relying on automated systems to place travelers. These systems, according to Jumonville, simply don’t support travelers in the way a recruiter does.
“You can get on any kind of platform to do automated ordering,” said Jumonville. “But you really don’t have insight into the hospitals or the experiences other recruiters have had on the floor. You don’t have someone tailoring an experience for you.”
Jarvis echoed that sentiment. “If you’re someone who likes minimal communication, maybe it’s for you. But my biggest fear is that when something hits the fan, who’s in your court?”
That’s the greatest value of having a great recruiter on your side. You have someone who’s in your court, who can advocate and support you as you progress through your travel career.
SEE THE LIST: Here are the Top Rated Healthcare Recruiting Agencies for the Second Half of 2022.
What should travelers look for when working with a recruiter?
Of course, finding a recruiter is one thing. But finding a great recruiter—that can be a challenge.
So what should you look for in a recruiter? What are some of the telltale signs that this person or agency could be a good fit for you? Here are some of the
1. They focus on creating a great experience
If you’re going to spend months and years working with a recruiter, you should want to work with them. And vice versa. The experience of the partnership is just as important as the more “objective” attributes.
Here are some signs that you’re in for a great experience:
- The recruiter is personable, warm, and easy to talk to—they take the time to get to know you, and you’re more than just a box for them to check
- The recruiter is transparent with you, and you never have to wonder if you’re getting the full story
- The recruiter has that X factor, that “vibe” factor; the two of you hit it off from the start
These are all subjective and tough to measure. That’s why it’s so important to look up recruiter reviews before choosing who to work with (more on that later).
2. They set you up for success
A recruiter’s job is to set you up for success in whatever placement you see. But that requires a certain amount of upfront work to happen.
“Why are you traveling? Are you having issues with the politics at the hospital? Are you making enough money? It’s important to understand what your clinical experience is,” said Jumonville. “I don’t ever want to get a call that you’re at a bad hospital.”
Make sure your recruiter is engaging in the following:
- They know the assignment inside and out—they’re not sending you into a facility blind
- They’ve taken the time to get to know you, your goals, your previous experiences, and other relevant insights
- They use insights from previous travelers to help gauge whether a placement is a good fit for you
It’s not going to be a good relationship if only one person’s putting in all the work. Your recruiter should be putting in time to make things work for you.
3. They’re available to support you, day or night
Travelers work all hours. You need a recruiter who understands that dynamic and is willing to be available at any time.
“I got a phone call at 5am this morning in Arizona,” said Larson, “Because a traveler just needed to vent about her shift. That’s what I’m here for. Granted, I’m not a nurse. I’m not there. I don’t know what’s going on. But I can be relatable and give them the comfort they need.”
Sometimes, that reliability and availability can go a long way. “Relationships are everything in this industry,” said Jarvis. “When I was a traveler, I didn’t need someone to hold my hand. But I did need someone to be there for me and support me if things went a little haywire.”
On the other hand, your recruiter shouldn’t always wait for you to go to them. “I do pulse checks with my nurses all the time,” said Larson. “I just want to make sure everything’s going okay, and if there’s anything I can do better as a recruiter.
4. They ask for feedback
Here’s a telltale sign that you have a great recruiter. They specifically ask: Is there anything I can do better as a recruiter?
As Jarvis tells her nurses all the time: “I ask for your references to check in and see how you’re doing. Now’s your turn to flip the script on me, tell me what I’ve done great and what I can do better.”
If your recruiter is willing to ask for feedback, it means that they’re interested in learning and growing together. That means they’re in this for the long-term relationship, not just a quick placement.
When you’re working to grow your travel career, that’s the person you want in your corner.
How Great Recruiters helps you find a solid travel nursing recruiter
If you go eat at a restaurant, you check Yelp or Google Reviews. If you apply for a full-time job, you check Glassdoor.
So where do you go if you want to find a great recruiter? Great Recruiters.
All three of the recruiters on the panel are GR Certified, which means they have the processes in place to create great experiences and regularly solicit feedback to measure and enhance those experiences.
“At the end of the day, we’re allowing someone to put their lives in our hands,” said Jumonville. “Great Recruiters allows me to say ‘This is who I am, this is my background, this is what other nurses are saying about me—not just 10, 20, 30, but hundreds of nurses.’”
“I really love this platform because it backs me up as a recruiter,” said Larson. “If a traveler is driving across the country, you don’t want someone to not be able to get a hold of their point of contact.” The reviews, for Larson, help provide that assurance that her travelers can count on her to support them.
Occasionally, the ball’s going to be dropped. It happens. But what Great Recruiters does is help put the ball back into your hands—you can fix those smaller issues before they become major problems.
Take a look at some of the things travelers have to say about these three recruiters:
“Olivia is down to earth and always answers the thousand questions I have in a timely manner! And she is completely honest with me about everything. Has truly been amazing to work with.” (See Olivia Jarvis’s profile here)
“Chelsea has been fantastic! She was recommended to me by a co-worker I met, and I’m so happy she referred me to Chelsea! She’s been amazing at always texting me back when needed and keeping me updated on everything we need to complete prior to my assignment. She’s such a sweet girl and very easy to work with. Highly recommend! :)” (See Chelsea Larson’s profile here)
“JT has been awesome to work with as a traveler for the past 16 months! JT responds very quickly to my calls or texts, and he is always available when it’s time to look for a new assignment, resolve any contract issues, or just to check in to see how my assignment is going and how I’m doing. JT sets the bar high! He is a top notch recruiter and truly cares about his travel nurses!” (See JT Jumonville’s profile here)
“The most important thing about Great Recruiters is that it’s objective,” said Jarvis. “It’s unbiased. It’s not put out there by a specific agency. These are real nurses that have really worked with me.”
LEARN MORE: How Travel Nurse Across America leveraged Great Recruiters to measure & maintain their recruiter performance.
Final thoughts on the traveler-recruiter relationship
This article only touched on a handful of the great points made throughout the webinar. If you want all of the insights these panelists offered, you’ll have to watch the whole video.