In the travel therapy world, your recruiters are everything. Is that dramatic? Mmmm… not really! This is the ONE that makes or breaks your travel experience and opportunities. All those things that are happening behind the scenes matter and impact us, but in our world, there is mostly one person who communicates everything to us. And that person goes to bat for us, decides how much to pay us, teach us, tell us quickly about new jobs, listen to our needs…. or not.
Getting the right recruiters for you is the best thing you can do as a traveler to have a great journey.
Who they are
Let’s actually break down their role: Their job is sales. It’s getting a traveler to hear about an opportunity and agree to go work in that opportunity. Sometimes people hear the word sales and it instantly brings images of the sleazy car salesman into their head. But “sales” is not actually negative when it’s done right.
When someone is good at sales it means they are good at communicating, listening, educating, and matching the right opportunity to the right person. A good salesperson is also someone that wants us to keep working with them so that means that they would pay us fairly, go to bat for us, and be a part of our team. It also means they have to be good at their own time management and spend time talking to people they could actually get in jobs…
With that in mind, here is a little bit of truth sauce that is important for us to know and empathize with:
Recruiters have to prioritize which travelers they talk to each day. This might not happen if you are a traveler that is very difficult to work with, hard to get ahold of, never does their paperwork, or is extra demanding and unrealistic about what you need. Or… if you just happen to be in a specialty where there are no travel jobs right now. If the recruiter is a good salesperson, they can’t spend that much time with you or they’ll just spend all of their days not booking travelers in jobs which is not doing their job at all.
So the secret sauce here is for us to be a good partner to them also. When we show up and communicate well, we can expect them to show up and be amazing for us. However, if we show up for them and they are don’t do their side, see ya! Move on STAT.
Who they are not
Magic. Even if we communicate super well about what we want, they can’t magically create jobs in San Diego if there are no jobs in San Diego. They can only communicate to us where there really are jobs and help guide us in the best place to get licensed to realistically get in a contract. And, they can pay us the best they can within what the hospitals are offering them, but they can’t magically pay you anything just because you want the same pay you saw on another travel therapist’s Facebook post. (Keep in mind whatever was posted on Facebook may or may not have even been a real job- it could have been a bait and switch that messed with our expectations). You can feel empowered all day long by negotiating, asking for more money, and trying to get to destination locations. But if the money and the opportunities are not there, you’re just going to end up without a job.
What else to know…
What they need and do: They need communication and openness! Most recruiters truly love their jobs. And their favorite part of their job is talking to us, getting to know us, and they light up when they’re able to get us in a job that we really wanted. Almost no recruiters are actually out to take advantage of us. And they get excited when we get excited. What they need from us is good communication and the ability to listen to where the jobs are really are and what they really can and can’t do for us.
Who they interact with the most: The talent (us!). They also may spend quite a bit of time doing what feels like data entry -submitting us to jobs through VMS computer systems- and talking to the account managers about what hospitals and clients have high or urgent needs.
Our relationship with them
How to impress them: Paperwork is sexy. Having a complete submittal ready profile is gold for them! Also gratitude. They do a lot of work that many times goes unseen or unappreciated. Their job is NOT easy and sending a handwritten thank you card, a Starbucks gift card, or even just an email that shows them that you see how hard they’re working to have your career goals come true can go a very long way!
What motivates them: Christmas bonuses, leaderboards, ringing a bell! Recruiters are competitive by nature. Every agency has its own way to gamify or make the sales process more fun for their recruiters. They might get an end of year bonuses for a job well done, they might get bragging rights that they are number one in their company on the leaderboard (which is typically a physical board on the wall that has everyone’s name listed on it in order of placement #s). Some companies even have a bell they get to get up and ring whenever they place one of us in a job!
What frustrates them: When we back out of a contract that we agreed to. Keep in mind that verbal yeses are yeses. When we use them to get information about jobs only to take them to other agencies (Ouch!). When we ghost them and stop communicating. When we hurt their reputations on social media without giving them a chance to make things right. When we don’t listen. When we act like we know the industry better than them and go into the relationship already assuming that they are trying to take advantage of us.
Any travelers need to check yo selves?? Take a look here👇
5 ways to be a travel therapist no recruiters want to work with
Watch out for red flags: Alright, I gave us all some good empathy about a recruiter’s life but it’s also super important for you to keep in mind that not every recruiter is great. It may not be malicious but some recruiters are just not as hard-working or as good as the next one. You should always know the red flags to watch out for in order to make sure you are with a great recruiter. You also should feel NO GUILT to change recruiters and make sure your team is the right one for you. It pays for itself- having a bad recruiter could result in you getting paid $6,000 less than your peer for the same contract. How do I know? Yeah, it happened to me.
Why it matters
Travel therapists who don’t have great recruiters can be massively underpaid, miss out on job opportunities, and be left sitting in the dark not hearing about jobs at all. This changes your whole experience. Please don’t skimp on making sure you have a great one. And by one I mean three. Some recruiters may tell you that everyone has access to all the same jobs but this just simply is not true. They may have some of the same jobs, but agencies have different relationships with facilities and different opportunities for us.
If you want the most job opportunities and best pay packages, work with multiple companies.
Plus, it turns out recruiters are humans. If they know you’re only working with them, even the best recruiter won’t have the drive to hustle quite like they would if they had some competition. But on that note, you need to make sure they know if they still have a chance. If you start working with four or more recruiters, it’s going to leave them to not even want to work for you because it’s going to feel like it’s a waste of their time. Stick to two or three recruiters that you can trust and talk to in between each assignment for the best success. 🙂
The other players
Your recruiters may be the most important players in the game, but they’re not the only ones playing. Check out the rest of these people (and the not-people too) and how they’re a part of your travel therapy journey.
The facility – The one who pays for everything else
Travel therapy agencies – Your employer & the middle man
VMSs and MSPs – The robots you need to make happy
The account manager – The hospital’s point of contact
The credentialing team: The paperwork peeps so you start the job on time
The travel therapist: You! (The talent 😊)
Cheers to the travel therapy game being a win-win for everyone,