How Many Recruiters Should a Travel Nurse Work With?

Rick Martinez RN

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As a travel nurse, loyalty matters.

Being loyal to the travel company you're representing, to the facility you're at, and also to the staff and coworkers by your side. Loyalty goes a long way in this profession. Heck, it frankly goes a long way in any discipline or job.

And as a nomadic nurse, that loyalty may go even further.

For example, some agencies offer longevity bonuses. You might find it a bit smoother with tenure to locate choice contracts. And finally, being allied with a single recruiter provides an opportunity to build a great relationship and trust.

But on the other hand, being loyal to yourself and seeking the best options may mean working with other recruiters.

So in this article, I'm going to break down some solid reasons why you should absolutely be loyal to yourself and your career first and why having several recruiters in your pocket may be just what you need.

What are the advantages of working with several recruiters?

Point blank; having several recruiters on your Rolodex is just plain smart.

Besides the leverage you'll have in finding choice assignments, you'll also be able to tap into multiple networks of contracts and facilities. Look, I get it; having more than one recruiter may feel like your cheating on one, but it's not. Figuring out your best options and getting feedback from several sources is actually the most logical thing to do.

Especially as it relates to your career and future.

Consider this instead: if you walked into an ice cream shop, would you only consider what the clerk put in front of you to taste? Or would you want to see the full array of options, flavors, and blends?

I'm sure you'd want to see the entire menu so that you can best select what's best for you. Not to say a recruiter won't have your best interest at heart, but having a broad view of what's available is always the best way forward.

But besides the reasons I've already shared, there are also several other benefits to having several recruiters.

  1. Broader access: not all agencies hold the same contracts. That means multiple recruiters may have way more options than if you just stayed with one.
  2. More money: each agency has its own contracts with facilities. That means that each agency will likely pay different rates for travel RNs. So multiple recruiters give you the ability to see the best bang for the buck. And this brings me to...
  3. Leverage: when we buy a new car, we usually shop with several dealers. It's just the way it is. We seek the best price because we will be paying for it. The same goes for contracts and recruiters. Simply knowing that you are "shopping" for the best contract may be just the motivation a recruiter needs to make you a great deal.
  4. Leverage part 2: to be clear, I'm not proposing negatively using leverage. I totally mean to use it positively and in a manner that lets your recruiters know that you simply care about your next assignment and that you're serious about being a travel nurse.

How I work with several recruiters at once

I'm not gonna lie. I work with multiple recruiters and agencies at one time.

For example, I work with one in the federal markets. I work with another company that specializes in Southern California exclusively. And finally, I have a good friend and recruiter at one of the largest travel firms in the USA.

Some fellow travel RNs choose their recruits based solely on the company's size.

From the biggest to mid-size, and down to the "mom and pop" shops. Each of these will have its distinct and unique skills and relationships with facilities. It can be misconstrued that the biggest ones will have the best rates, and I've found that not true in many cases. Sometimes the smallest ones have the best leverage in pay because their overhead is much lower.

Make sense?

The biggest takeaway is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. It's best to pick the agency and the recruiter that makes the most sense for you as a travel nurse, not just because they've got a fabulous Instagram page.

The agency is great, but keep your focus on the recruiter

With the emergence of new staffing companies every day, many will have flashy marketing and gorgeous, social profiles. While that's all fine and well, remember that it's the human being on the other side that will be your potential lifeline on assignment.

So keep your focus on the recruiter, not so much the agency.

Just like we travel nurses, all recruiters are different, and there simply may be a recruiter that you mesh with better than others — and there's nothing wrong with that.

The final word

Just because one agency or recruiter isn't a fit for you doesn't mean that another won't be absolutely perfect.

The best advice I can give is to take your time, find the best few recruiters to work with and dive in.

You'll be happy you did!

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I'm a freelance writer and a decades-long travel nurse. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare.

San Antonio, TX
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