Travel therapists, watch out for these 5 recruiter red flags

Learn travel healthcare like a from fellow travelers (unbiased and honest)

Finding the right travel healthcare recruiters changes everything. 💰You can make hundreds more each week – in the same exact job. ✍️You get to hear about the best jobs quickly so you actually have a chance to apply. 🤝You will have advocates who tell you the truth. They have your back. I literally made 2k less a month than my coworker doing the same job as me, with the same start date. I just happened to pick the wrong recruiter. My coworker was with the same company as me, just had a different person representing her. She had a good recruiter and I had a bad recruiter.

My recruiter was nice and funny and I would have said we were friends. I trusted him and never knew to negotiate or question the amount he told me the job paid. It’s the short game that he was playing. A quick win for a quick buck to his commission check that 13 weeks. There is no coming back from that and recruiters who play the short game hurt the industry by creating walls of distrust. They will forever have a rotating desk of travelers as each one learns that they are with someone they can’t count on.

Great recruiters love making sure you are paid fairly. They would never have you walk into a job where you show up and find out you are ridiculously underpaid. The great recruiters want you to be the one who is paid well. They want you to be able to brag about them, so each of your co-workers will want to have the relationship and trust that you have with your recruiter. They want honest referrals from doing a great job and they want you to succeed and be happy.

It’s embarrassing as a traveler to be really underpaid and it makes you angry as you go to work throughout that assignment. We, travelers, are juggling enough as we move across the country, as we show up as the new person (again and again), and the whole saving lives or rehabbing someone back to health thing. Having to realize we got ripped off is the worst.

My mistake was only working with one recruiter. And having NO clue what red flags to look out for. Because my recruiter was “nice” and made me laugh, I thought I could trust him. If I had been working with 3 this could not have happened. It’s checks and balances- one of the others would have showed me another job (or the same one) and I would have seen what I was really worth. I also would have seen other ways recruiters ran their desks and could have realized some things that were strange about this one.

Learn from my mistakes, please! Every traveler deserves to have honest recruiters. Here are the top 5 red flags that you should walk away from.

1. Blind submitting your resumé

Blind submitting a travel therapist means your recruiter submitted your resumé and personal information to a travel assignment before you explicitly said yes to that job. This puts travelers in a hard spot, and here’s why: When a recruiter submits you to a job, this tells the facility or hospital two things:

  1. That you are interested in that job with them and want to interview.
  2. That the recruiter who submitted you is who you have chosen to represent you. The facility assumes you told your recruiter to submit you to this job.

Once you are submitted you are pretty much locked in to being represented by this company for that job. That’s a loss in negotiating power.

It doesn’t feel good to have something so big and meaningful happen without you knowing. It’s your future at play. You don’t want the awkward interview call that you didn’t even know was coming. “er, um, who is this? What hospital? Who submitted me?”
But then don’t get me started on the…

The double submission

Double submission is when two different travel therapy recruiters (from different companies) submit you to the same job. The. exact. same. one. And this is where that blind submit business gets real.

It could look like this: You are working with Recruiter A from one company and Recruiter B from another. So far you are doing everything right, it is always best to have more than one recruiter when job searching. It helps you hear about more options and make more money.

Recruiter B calls you with an absolutely amazing job opening at your dream location. You respond to them with “A thousand times yes! Submit me, submit my resumé, submit my dog if you have to!” And now you’re in.

… But little did you know, Recruiter A submitted you to that same dream job about 10 minutes before you heard from Recruiter B. And you didn’t even know it. Not because you weren’t paying attention, not even because you didn’t want that job, but because Recruiter A just never told you.

That blind submission by Recruiter A turned you into a double submittal. It confuses the MSP or the facility trying to hire a traveler. It is unclear who you want to represent you (or worse, they could just assume you don’t know what you’re doing). It could also hurt your relationship with Recruiter B. You and Recruiter B decided to go in on this together. You had a good thing going! And now, you could be stuck with Recruiter A’s company or, at the least, a tricky situation in getting the facility to let you switch representatives.

2. Not showing (the full) pay upfront

Seeing the full pay package from your travel therapy recruiter is key to managing your expectations. But more importantly, it helps you to be empowered in negotiating and comparing your options.

But how do we know when a recruiter isn’t showing us the full pay package? Let’s say you check your email and see something like this from your recruiter:

A great job in the location you like with:

  • Gross Weekly Pay: $1850
  • Taxable Hourly Rate: $20
  • Tax-Free Weekly Stipends: $1100

Hmmm… It seems like a pretty good package, right? Although all of this information is helpful and accurate on the dollar amount, the truth is, your recruiter has not given you enough info in order to make a decision or to compare the two offers.

A good recruiter should provide you with a full pay package when you ask for it.

A transparent travel therapy pay package looks like this:

  • Taxable Hourly Rate
  • M & I Reimbursement (Non-taxed, usually shown as weekly or by shift)
  • Housing Reimbursement (Non-taxed, usually shown as weekly or by shift)
  • Travel Reimbursement (Non-taxed, one time)
  • Overtime Rate
  • Extratime Bonuses
  • Holiday Pay
  • On-Call Pay
  • Guaranteed Hours
  • Call-Off Allowance (How many shifts the facility can call you off with no pay in a contract)
  • Cancellation Policy (Great to know this as soon as it’s available. Nothing like getting canceled 6 hours into your ride!)
  • Extension Pay (Will they work the travel reimbursement back into your pay if you extend?)
  • License Reimbursement and any conditions that go with it
  • Insurance costs per week

Quite a list! But it is the one way to guarantee you see the whole picture for each job option. By not knowing something as simple as the insurance cost per week, your pay could be hundreds of dollars different. Or if you are someone who loves to pick up extra shifts, one company might pay you over $30 more an hour than a different company for the extra hours worked.

It really pays to know the details. And an experienced recruiter can put together a full pay package in 5 minutes or less depending on the technology the company has in place for this.

3. Not putting promises in writing

Picture this: You and your recruiter are having such a great conversation about all the details of a job. Your recruiter started to woo you with words like “You’ll be paid three times your taxable hourly rate for any overtime” and “Yes, you have guaranteed hours!” and “Of course you can get a week off to go to that wedding in Bali!” They have sealed the deal now. You’re hooked!

Pro tip #1:

Things might sound too good to be true, but many things are possible. The important thing is to always ask if your recruiter can put these call details in writing and that they send them to you after the call. If what you discussed can truly be built into your contract, there should be no reason your recruiter cannot write it and provide it to you.

Pro tip #2:

YOU take good notes on your recruiter calls. That way, whether you have a note-taking recruiter or not, you always land on top.

Empowered travelers are proactive, not victims, and take control of their life.

It takes two to keep this relationship going, so take the step and email your recruiter the clear list of all the things you discussed or agreed upon. And end the email with a call to action for the recruiter. “Will you write me back with a ‘yes’ that I have this all right?”

And hey, putting a kindness cherry on top never hurt. Be an awesome travel therapist to work with, it pays off to have your recruiters like you. End the email positively and warmly. It doesn’t have to be “Love ya, boo!” (and hm, maybe it should never be that), but write “I appreciate you!” or “Thanks for walking me through that today.”

Getting verbal promises in writing helps you and your recruiter keep expectations clear and keep accountability.

4. Being ghosted

Ghosting is never cool, especially for our recruiters. This isn’t a first date gone wrong or avoiding that strange new number that keeps calling. This is about you and your dream job! And every second counts when you’re ready to submit to a travel therapy contract. Not kidding, some jobs close in minutes! Minutes!

Your recruiter’s job is to be there for you.

Best practice: They get back to you within hours. But remember, they are still a fellow human with really busy jobs, and these things we call life can happen every once in a while. So be forgiving if they’ve been really good to you so far.

Good, but not great: They get back to you way later on the same day. Not ideal.

Unacceptable: They wait for days to get back to you. Days?! If opportunities are closing in minutes, imagine the effect of waiting days.

Um, hello? I’m calling to land that dream job in California you told me about. It’s open right now…. Hello? Hellllloo?

Yeah, did you just cringe too? Why aren’t they answering? What are they even doing?

Bye, bye, non-responsive recruiters.

5. The guilt trip

Ah, the guilt trip. Not exactly the trip you had in mind when you started this amazing traveler life. And there’s no reason for it either.

If a recruiter makes you feel guilty when they know you’re working with more than one company, that would be like Amazon trying to make you feel bad for checking Google to compare prices on that new latte machine you want.

Of course, we are going to shop around and do our homework. The recruiters know they would also if they were in our shoes. Plus, it’s super important to know this: not all companies have the same jobs. So not only is working with two or more companies helpful in getting us fair pay, but it’s smart and really expands our options on the job search.

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

Vote with your feet (It’s okay to walk away)

If your travel therapy recruiter shows any of these red flags, make a move. Make a change. Be bold and brave and make sure you have three recruiters you truly like and trust.

I would shout this part from the rooftop if I could. It makes all the difference in your journey to have great recruiters. Don’t feel bad about being empowered to have a dream team that is working for you with integrity.

If you don’t have 3 recruiters you truly love and trust, give yourself a gift and make that happen. Having 3 recruiters you can laugh with, hear about jobs with, and learn more about the industry with – wow it makes a big difference. Working with 3 honest recruiters means you get to hear about more job offers, you get a real pulse on where the jobs are, and you will always know when a job is paying much less than the others- you have a way to compare different offers.

If you don’t know how to navigate between the 400+ companies to find your perfect three- I can help you. We know which companies have access/direct contracts in which locations. We know all their benefits. We know which will reverse market you when you need to go someone specific. And ALL the recruiters we match to travelers have passed the famous 3-hour interview to prove their integrity, knowledge, and hustle.

We are on a mission- take the used car games out of this industry and make sure every traveler has 3 honest recruiters. We deserve honesty and transparency on our journey!

We will ask you what you are looking for and match you with the right company and recruiter for you so you can live your dream with confidence 💪

Get your free match here.

Cheers to honest recruiters and empowered travelers,

xo Laura

Keep learning, empowered travelers 💪

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Additional Reimbursements

Did your offer come with something extra that would cost the staffing agency money? This may include a CEU class, scrubs, or sign on bonuses. Don’t worry if this section is blank, most offers don’t have extra reimbursements.

Travel Reimbursements

This is tax-free money that is paid to you to help you pay for the expense of traveling to your assignment. Many staffing agencies pay for this per mile up to a certain amount. They will usually pay this on your first paycheck or split between your first paycheck and last. If you are traveling a short distance this could be a very small amount.

Also, it’s becoming more popular for an agency to not offer this at all. It’s really not a big deal though. If you don’t get travel reimbursement money you should make a bit more in your weekly pay so many times it all equals out.

Weekly Housing Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code.

The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Meal Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code. The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Insurance Costs

Medical insurance can impact your final paycheck a lot since it will deduct pay from your check each week. If you are taking the company health insurance, you are going to want to know up front about how much this will cost you per week.

The average is around $30 a week but some companies charge as much as $100 a week to their travelers and some offer some health insurance options for free. If you are not taking their insurance just set this to zero.

Hours per week

For this calculation, put the hours per week you are expecting to work. And then feel free to run it again with the hours you are guaranteed. Many times contracts have guaranteed hours that are lower than the expected hours.

Guaranteed hours means if the facility doesn’t need you to come in, you will still get paid as long as it was their choice and not yours to not work.

Also, find out if this contract has any “call off shifts” where the hospital can call you off without pay a certain number of times per contract. This is common and not a deal breaker but just good to know!

Length of assignment

In travel nurses and allied health the most common length of a travel assignment is 13 weeks. If you are looking for a contract shorter or longer just ask! Sometimes facilities or hospitals who hire you will be flexible.

Taxable rate per hour

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city.

If you do not have a tax home all of your pay will be taxed and put in this field.

Good to know: Your taxable base pay is the only part of your paycheck that is legally considered income. The average taxable base pay is $20 but you might get offers higher or lower than this. It’s the only part of your paycheck that is taxed

Nomadicare’s purpose is to empower. It’s the lifeblood that flows through every single thing we create. We are here to make sure every traveler has all the transparent knowledge they need to make empowered decisions. We want you to feel confident so you can live your dream!

Nomadicare is partnered with dozens of companies and each of those companies have access to different settings, locations, and exclusive contracts. We know their benefit options and who have jobs in each location. We will match you to the best recruiters for you and your goals. Every single recruiter has been vetted and comes with the Nomadicare guarantee.
You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait and switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend. When you request an interview, we’ll instantly match you with the vetted recruiter who posted that job.
Typically 0-3 months before you are ready to start your next assignment is best. A short quiz will give us a picture of who you are, and what you are looking for. After the quiz we’ll have everything we need to match you with the perfect recruirer for your travel goals
If you know where you want to go and you’re ready to travel, Instant Matching is perfect for you. You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait-and-switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend.
We highly recommended being ready! Having all of your documents and being super responsive are key. Speed is the biggest factor in getting the job you want. We recommend using a free service like Kamana, which you can share your online resume, credentials, and licenses with a single link to any of our vetted recruiters when requesting an interview.
Graph Café, Chiang Mai, Thailand 🥇