The healthcare industry is ultra-competitive and exponential growth in the field has led to a proliferation of staffing agencies with varying levels of success. Undoubtedly, each one will likely talk a good game, but with so many choices it can be difficult for traveling nurses and allied health professionals to narrow down which staffing firm is best. Ahead, we’ll take a look at a few criteria you can use to help you evaluate staffing firms and choose the one that’s right for you.
Are they responsive and do they communicate openly?
Of all the things traveling nurses and other health professionals should keep in mind when choosing a staffing firm, clear and open communication is probably the most important. Whether you’re talking about the details of pay or perks, you want your recruiter to be upfront about the finer points of a potential contract.
When you’re evaluating a staffing firm, be sure to look for a recruiter that is responsive and crystal clear about every detail, no matter how small. Ideally, they should also be clear about what they can and cannot do for you.
Can you build a relationship based on trust?
It’s hard to overemphasize how important your relationship with your recruiter is. Their professionalism and know-how (or lack thereof) can make or break your experience. Be sure to pay attention to their experience, how comfortable you feel with them (for example, are they being pushy?), and how your personalities mesh (or not). Don’t forget to trust your gut. Very often, your first instincts are right.
As you go through your initial interactions, try to determine whether or not you trust this person to negotiate with your best interest at heart. At the end of the day, you need to know that your recruiter will advocate for you, find the assignments that best suit your needs, negotiate your pay, or accommodate any specific requests you may have.
Be sure they demonstrate a full understanding of your industry
While knowledgeable recruiters are important for any industry, they are exponentially more important for travel nurses and those in the allied health profession. If you’re in one location and entertaining the possibility of moving to another, you’ll want to know every detail so that you can make the best decision possible. So, the more information your recruiter can give you, the better.
While you would expect the work to vary from hospital to hospital and unit to unit, a knowledgeable recruiter can give you more granular details like what your role would look like from day to day. If your recruiter can’t give you the particulars of what to expect in each clinical setting, they would ideally have enough connections to put you in touch with someone who can.
And while the following should go without saying, it’s still worth mentioning here. In your initial conversations with your recruiter, be sure to pay attention to what they know, even on a basic level. For example, if you ask a question about charting and your recruiter is not familiar with basic admissions processes and systems, consider that a red flag and keep searching.
Make sure they understand your needs
A good recruiter digs a little deeper to understand your professional evolution. They should take the time to figure out where you’ve been, where you are right now, and where you’re going professionally. If you’re thinking about going with a particular staffing firm, make sure your recruiter is working for you, and that they understand more than just your qualifications for a particular role. If it feels like they’re just checking boxes on basic requirements, that could be a red flag.
Do your research
When you’re considering which staffing firm to work with, it’s important to do your own due diligence. While you can do some digging online to figure out how long they’ve been in business and which hospitals they’re affiliated with, you might have better luck asking around. Even if your contemporaries aren’t familiar with that particular agency, they may be able to offer up others for your consideration. While word of mouth and recommendations can take your search in a whole new direction, it could eventually lead you to the staffing firm that’s right for you.
Photo credit: Canva
by Alex Cunningham, National Recruiter II, Planet Healthcare