How to switch travel nurse recruiters at the same agency

Do you need to switch travel nurse recruiters? Read on, friend.

You’re in a situation where you’re working with a travel nurse agency that you love and want/need to stay with for whatever reason! You like their health insurance benefits. They have important travel nurse contracts with hospitals and facilities (and they’re in your dream location). You are certain that they’re your best bet for achieving your travel goals and nailing that awesome travel nurse assignment. But here’s the problem… you don’t like your agency recruiter. They’re not following up enough, they have limited experience (and it shows), or you just don’t get along with them for whatever reason.

A travel nurse recruiter can have a lack of knowledge, keep bad communication, etc. but they could also just be human and having a rough time in their professional or personal life. Experienced travelers know that not every recruiter can be great 24/7 every single day. You can give them the benefit of the doubt, but only for so long. If they’re consistently not getting back to you in a timely fashion, ignoring your pay package requests, etc… it’s time to move on!

And while bad travel nurse recruiters do exist, one bad recruiter does not equal a terrible staffing agency. You can keep your access to that same travel nurse company and their exclusive contracts, great health benefits, exciting job boards, and various career opportunities. All you need to do is find the right fit and you can still land that dream travel position!

Why it is not wise to go off on your travel nurse recruiter

Your recruiter could have done something that really upset you. Maybe you’re feeling some anger and you want to lash out. I’m telling you it’s not a good idea. Take a deep breath and remember that you can handle this in a better way. If you email or call saying, “you’re the worst”, “you’re doing a terrible job”, “get me a new recruiter now, etc”… you’re only making yourself look like a potentially difficult employee that recruiters won’t want to work with and healthcare facilities won’t want to hire. Instead, be clear that you are an active job seeker that will be professional and that you would like the same in return. If you take the high road, you can rest assured that a great solution will come out of this tricky situation. After all, you are an ICU RN, Medical Surgical RN, Emergency Room RN, Labor & Delivery RN, etc., that wants to experience professional growth and exciting opportunities; you know that travel nurse recruiters are your way to do this.

PS: travel nurse recruiters are pretty close-knit with their co-workers. If you act unprofessionally, chances are you’ll have a bit of trouble getting a new great recruiter. You could even be blacklisted which is a worst-case scenario. Recruiters talk, just like travelers. Word could get around and you could miss out on an exciting job opportunity in the meantime!

How to break up with your travel nurse recruiter professionally

Your goal is to maintain professionalism, always! You are a healthcare worker that has a professional complaint. And all you want to do is switch recruiters, which isn’t a big deal. Keep your dialogue both direct and kind. You can write a concise email or stay level-headed and straightforward on a phone call.

Here’s what I would do, traveler.

Take the conversation above your recruiter from the beginning. Call your staffing agency and ask to speak with the recruiter manager. You’re going to say,

“Hi [recruiter manager name]. I love this agency and here is why [list reasons here]. I would be grateful to keep working with this agency, but I would need another recruiter. This is what I’m looking for in a recruiter: someone who calls me to check in every week, a recruiter who pays me fairly and will show me the pay package (fully upfront) before they submit me to a job, and someone who doesn’t blind submit me to jobs. My current recruiter [list what they did that you didn’t like]. There are no hard feelings, but I would appreciate it if you would switch me and give me someone to fit these things that I’ve mentioned. Can you do that for me?”

How to deal with any pushback

You might get a bit of pushback initially. Remember that at most staffing agencies, the recruiters are salespeople. So they are making a commission if we’re working, meaning they probably won’t want to give you up so easily. They’re going to lose money because of it. And recruiter managers usually would like you to reconcile with your recruiter first, depending on how deep and long your relationship with that recruiter has been. But stand your ground. If you know you want a new recruiter, don’t feel guilty. Pushback is just usually the first step that the healthcare staffing agency will take. Say clearly and kindly, “Thank you very much, but I really do want to stay with this agency. Can you please get me a new recruiter?”

They will end up getting you a new recruiter because you were professional, kind, and direct.

Keep working with 2-3 travel nurse recruiters

Remember once you get your new recruiter, that you still shouldn’t rely solely on that one agency and one recruiter to help you with your job search. You need to keep working with multiple staffing companies.

Working with multiple companies will give you access to all different types of contracts, you will have a better chance of being the first to hear about jobs which will increase your likelihood of landing an interview tenfold, and larger companies may have more exclusive contracts and VMS access while smaller companies may have more direct contracts or are more willing to direct-market you. Have a strong mix of both and I promise you will have so many more opportunities.

If you love your recruiter or staffing company, you may be hesitant to talk to other recruiters. But if you have a location or pay goal, you may need to go with a different company to get to that location or get paid more competitively. This does NOT mean you have to leave the recruiters you like. It just means if you don’t have three you’re working with, you should!

And you can get vetted, transparent recruiter recommendations from me, here at Nomadicare! I have extensive experience with both travel companies and this travel industry. I can match you with travel nurse recruiters who have tons of jobs in the locations you’re trying to get to, recruiters who are with companies that have a mentorship program (if you need one), and recruiters who will give you a fair compensation package (like you deserve). Fill out the match form here and let’s build your dream team!

Cheers to never settling for less!

Laura Latimer

Laura Latimer

Travel OT and Founder of Nomadicare

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