When we, as Empowered Travelers, decide to only work with recruiters who are dedicated to the win/win, we are doing our part in raising the integrity of the industry as a whole. 

... So the next step is learning what the win/win and red flags are ...

If your recruiter does any of the things stated in this guide, you can always walk away knowing that not all recruiters run their desks that way. 

Usually it's unintentional, not all recruiters are trained well and are still learning. Many times they learn because we leave. You will be a great teacher for them and you can set boundaries, practice great communication, and walk away with grace and kindness while you do it.

Remember, when we talk about win/win, that means that travelers need to put in work on their side of the relationship as well.

So make sure you also read on to the traveler red-flags. These are the things you should not be doing if you want a great recruiter to stick beside you! 

Recruiters get to choose to work with us also; when we are awesome to work with, we get better jobs and better recruiters along for the ride with us. 


The Recruiter Red Flags

#1: Submitting us to jobs without our explicit approval. 

When a recruiter submits us to a job, that means our resume and application is given to a hospital or facility. It also means we are locked into that company to represent us for that assignment. And that hospital is going to then believe we want to work there and has all our paperwork to call us for an interview. 

If we have our paperwork in with multiple recruiters (which we should) we could get double submitted for the same position or called randomly for an interview when we are not prepared. Awkward! 

Yes, speed DOES matter when submitting our resume for an interview, it's a competitive industry and every advantage helps. But we also don't want our personal information carelessly submitted all over the place without us hearing about it first. 

What should be happening is:

1. Our recruiter sees a job opening that fits what they know we are looking for. 

2. They contact us and try to let us know about it asap

3. They have a pay package template made and pop in the numbers so we have an idea of pay and all the information they know about an assignment so we can make an informed decision for our career. 

4. We negotiate at that point with the recruiter if need be. We give them all the days off we need for that 13 weeks and see where gaps in information are so we can prepare a list of things to ask on the interview and start doing our own research. 

5. We say YES SUBMIT to one (and only one) company. We tell our other recruiters that we have been submitted to xx job so they do not double submit us. (Remember, many companies share job databases).

6. We do all of this as fast as we can! We want to get our resume in asap when we find a job that fits our desires. 

#2: Not showing us the full pay package before submitting us to a job. 

If you have a recruiter who is only giving you a gross or net weekly take home amount, you are missing some major information to help keep everyone's expectations in line. 

A pay breakdown should, at the least, have the following in it before you agree to be submitted for a position. (If they don't know something, they should write down "unknown" next to the line so you can ask in the interview or remember to follow up about that later). 

Recruiters- you should have a template that looks a lot like this so you can be ready to pop in the data when you get it! This doesn't have to take a long time, but it is GOLD in getting everyone on the same page and being a transparent recruiter for us. 

Recruiter Template:

1. Taxable Hourly Rate:

2. M & I Reimbursement (Non-Taxed- Weekly Rate):

3. Housing Reimbursement (Non-Taxed- Weekly Rate):

4. Travel Reimbursement: One-time amount and when they will pay it (ie: first paycheck or first and last?):

5. License Reimbursement: Is there a max? Is this included?:

6. Insurance (How much will be taken from my check each week or how much will I receive if I do not take this benefit?):

7. Over-Time: How much will I be paid per hour after 40 hours? (I highly advocate for at least 2x the taxable rate, or you are getting served a bad deal.):

8. Extra-Time: (For you travelers who work 36 hours- when you pick up a shift, you might have these awkward hours that are more than your contract and less than Overtime which starts at 40. So you want to know what you will be paid for hours 36-40 so it is not a surprise):

9. Holiday Pay: (This might be dependent totally on the facility but it's good for expectations. There is no reason to find these things out while we are on assignment):

10. On-Call Pay:

11. Guaranteed hours (Is there a guarantee? Any stipulations?):

12. Call off allowance (Some facilities will "guarantee" 36 hours a week but also allow for unpaid call off shifts up to xx amount per 13 weeks. Make sure you know how many shifts you could lose because this adds up!):

13. Cancellation Policy (Will you get a zero, two week, or four week notice if your contract is cancelled? Good to know up front in case (knock on wood)):

14. Extension (Yes this is something they will know at the start. At the very least, you want to know that the one time payments (travel, etc) will go back into you pay if you stay at an assignment. It is not so much a raise, as it is making the same money again. If they don't give you those reimbursements back in another form- they just got a raise for your extension):

15. Any extra details they have about the job (scrub colors, float requirements, shift (night/day),  past traveler reviews, parking fees, paid orientation, documentation software, etc). 

Why do you need to know all of this before submitting? 

Because this is how you are able to make empowered choices about where you want to pick up your life, move across the country and work for the next 3 months. It's how you are able to compare pay between companies and have reality match expectations as much as you can. And it shows you that your recruiter is not tucking away the bad pieces and only showing you the rainbows to try to get you to say yes to a job - you know what they know and that allows you to work as a team and trust each other. 

#3 Not putting promises in writing

Your recruiter is telling you details about a job or how pay works or the days off you will get over the phone.


It's a perfect way to ask questions, be efficient with our time and not go back and forth with emails all day.

But for you- the empowered traveler- Take notes! Listen close. Write down what they say.

Hopefully, the recruiter does this as well, but we must be rock stars and take the initiative.

That way, whether we have a note-taking recruiter or not, we always land on top because we take control where we can. (And roll with things when we can't)
After all- life doesn't happen to us. We create it. 

So when the call is over, send the notes to the recruiter. 
You can say:

"Thanks so much for that great call! I made a list of the things we covered and agreed on for reference for both of us later. Can you write me back a YES if I got all of this right?

Then list what you went over: 


And then end it on the positives...

Appreciate you, 

Verbal promises + bad memory + he said/she said = the ingredients for a big ol' disappointment pie.

No one wins.

Put it in writing.

If they refuse to put promises in writing- red flag. 
Big ol' waving red flag.

#4 MIA/"Ghosting"

You are a traveler putting a whole load of trust in this one human as you pack up and head across country to your next assignment. 

Rule number one: They need to be there for you. 

The best recruiters get back to you within hours (most of the time- they are still human and have really busy jobs). 

The average ones get back to you the same day. 

If you are waiting DAYS - um - what the heck are you doing, recruiters? 

I am always surprised when I hear these complaints from travelers: when they are actively reaching out to a recruiter and can't get a hold of them. It is a recruiter's dream to not be cold calling, emailing and chasing travelers. So what the heck are they doing??

Well...that remains a mystery (sigh). But what is not a mystery is that they do not make the cut - See ya!. You need to know that your recruiter will be there for you. 

Unless you specifically request less, this is when and how often a recruiter should be in touch with you: 

  • During active job searches: (2 - 3 weeks before start date): Daily updates.
  • During an assignment: Weekly hellos. (Quick Texts, not calls). 
  • To ask if you want to extend your contract: 6 weeks before the end of the assignment. 
  • To start looking for the next job: 4-5 weeks before the end of each assignment. 
  • During a job cancellation: Daily updates just like a new job search. Urgency to the max during cancellations. 

#5 Making you feel guilty for working with multiple companies

Say you are buying a car...

You may LOVE your car salesman.

He made you a cup of coffee, you bonded over last night's "This is us" twist and you just.. well really like him.

That does not mean you don't Google the Kelley Blue Book value of that car! Of course you do! And of course, that salesmen would be ridiculous to tell you to blindly trust him and not do your own research.

If he made you feel bad for talking to the dealer down the road to compare prices and see what cars they have, you would roll your eyes. You like him - but you have to get the best deal you can on your car. It's way too big of a decision to make without doing a bit of research first.

For us- our "Kelley Blue Book" is talking to two or three different companies.

Bill rates change, regions that have the most need for your specialty change, and sometimes companies can even offer you different $$ for the same job for lots of valid reasons.

So we must:

1. Talk to 2-3 recruiters from different companies and ask them where the jobs are and what the pay range to expect in a specific region is at the moment.

2. When we are serious about applying for jobs, we ask recruiter to break down our pay fully so we can compare pay between companies.

Then you will know your worth (your $$ worth that is- you are worth SO much more than $$)

Now you can feel empowered and confident when you get offers. You know what to expect and can confidently say yes or no to pay packages at that point.

Recruiters who only work with you if you work exclusively with them? Bye Bye.