10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Travel Nurse Recruiter Was Doing (or Thinking)

I was scouring my LinkedIn feed this morning, as I often do being the dedicated Travel Nurse Recruiter that I am. Recruiting, you see, is really just a fancy title for a professional relationship builder. My days at my desk are spent connecting and networking via any accessible platform, which are abounding now that we are waist deep in the social marketing era. At any given moment you may find me leaving a voice message whilst sending off an email, syncing the contact with my LinkedIn, which triggers an invite to connect, sending a link to my Twitter, generating an auto “thank you” tweet, which links to Pinterest.. shall I go on? And this, my friends, is all from one contact.

I digress. Back to my morning perusal of the LI news feed. I stumbled upon a post. In a nutshell, the post complained that Recruiters are money hungry, magicians who have mastered the disappearing act once the profile is submitted. The author described an in-depth portrayal of a lazy resume shuffler who submits under qualified resumes in place of experienced, ideal candidates out of haste to move along to the next open job.

Sigh. I am not sure by which I am more bothered. The fact that my profession is perceived as such an impersonal, greed frenzy. Or that some of my peers in the industry actually operate as such. The older I get the more clear it is that I cannot speak for anyone but myself. In doing so I aim to enlighten the professionals on the other end of the transaction as to what exactly your recruiter goes through from that initial call (or tweet, connect, follow, post, pin, ping, etc) to your first day on the job.

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It is no secret that recruiting is a numbers game, and what better way to push for success than setting a steep expectation. It is not unlike any other career in the business world in that regard. Each organization has their own respective idea of targeted metrics. So yes, in short, we do need your business. Hence the tireless efforts to reach you, wow you, and clog up your news feed. You can’t blame us, really. Especially if you knew the hoops we jump through to land you that ideal contract.

Dream Job


So you got the gig. Yay. Assuming you are actually going to accept the offer (don’t get me started on the heartbreak each Recruiter has inevitably endured as our excitement plummets to the earth with a rejected offer). If you are in good hands, you are prepared for what’s expected of you next as you’re guided through the tedious and extensive credentialing process.

Now let me back up a bit. If you are like most nurses, you are completely in the dark about what it took to get you this far. Allow me to enlighten you…

1. Making the connection – It took 75 calls, 50 LI messages, numerous text messages, dozens of carefully crafted emails, and who knows what else just to reach you.. Thank you for answering 🙂 

2. The follow through – Odds are, it wasn’t an ideal time when we connected. You were busy. You were arriving to shift. You had kids screaming in the car. Whatever the case may be, you have a life. Somehow, some way, I managed to say something to engage you. Thus, the reminder was set. Fingers crossed you will answer. 80% won’t. 

3. The Talk – If your Recruiter isn’t a script reading robot, it is now apparent that we are people too. I’m just a girl on the phone asking you where you want to go and what’s important to you. And now that I know you a little bit better, I’m confident I can assist you. (Not that I wasn’t before, hopefully my charm and professional expertise have gained your commitment to the process.) You’re willing to take the next steps.

4. Homework Night – This is the part that (admittedly) is a bit tough for Recruiters. Well, for me anyway. This is when I chest-pass the ball in to your court. And I wait. I have assigned you an online application and a checklist. Simple right? 75% will never finish this part. Prohibiting me from moving forward with your profile and subsequently terminating the process. Sad face. 🙁

5. Mission: Possible – This part takes place at any given time following “the talk”. I have your preferences noted and am now prepared to embark on a mission through a densely tangled web in cyberspace. Sounds dramatic, right? Well maybe you haven’t heard of the nurse shortage, but it’s a thing. And I literally have thousands of open job orders at any given time. And because we work with so many hospital systems across so many cities, counties, and states.. they aren’t exactly conveniently located in one database. I won’t go in to too much detail, but just know that if your Recruiter is on the hunt for you, hang tight. Tracking down a specific “10hr shifts on the coast close to the city but not a long commute in a mid-sized hospital but no call and I can have these specified dates off” contract…it’s there, but it may take a minute.

This is when it is very important to have a down to earth, forthcoming Recruiter who will set realistic expectations.

6. Your Profile – Hooray! I now have everything I need to build your profile. You are the elite. Because of your commendable efforts, I now will have the honor of representing you. I have everything I need to assemble your initial profile and submit you for, you guessed it, your next travel contract. This is not a scan-and-go operation, folks. There’s work to be done. Each client requires a unique presentation. If I’m hounding you for seemingly useless information, I assure you I am just as irritated at having to obtain it. 

7. Your Resume – Yes, this requires its own category. Nurses are phenomenal creatures. Life saving, fearless, selfless, patient, generous, unstoppable beings. With strong stomachs. Crazy hours. Horrendous work environments. I bow down to you. Your resume skills on the other hand, well let’s just say.. You’re welcome. I fixed it.

8. The Waiting Game – I have poured my heart and soul (and time!) in to your profile. We have bonded. Maybe we are Facebook friends. Maybe we’ve shared stories and laughs, made it through a stressful scenario obtaining school records together. Whatever the case may be we did it. High five. Now we wait… We’re both eager for feedback, but unfortunately, no I haven’t heard anything quite yet. I assure you, you will be my first call. 

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9. The Offer – It all comes down to this moment. I have received the long-awaited email extending the offer. I am armed with a start date and a pay package. Believe it or not, I am nervous calling you. You may not know this, but many nurses have bailed. Even after all this.. the homework, the phone tag, the divulging of personal information. Even the constant “checking in” phone calls during the waiting game. They still said no. Be still, my heart.

10. The Acceptance! – But you, you said yes! And what does this mean? Aside from securing a killer contract, meeting all of your needs, you get to work with me! 13 weeks is quite a commitment to another human being. And just as much as I wanted you to land this gig, just as much do I want you to succeed. In all your endeavors. 

So there we have it, folks. Another glimpse behind the curtain. I have no delusion that any two Recruiters are created equal.  My hope is that this message will help bridge the gap and shed some light on what’s really going on in your Recruiter’s day to day life. And choose wisely.

With these tid bits of knowledge, perhaps you’ll know what to look for in a Recruiter, the right questions to ask, and be cautioned at any red flags.

Especially if you’re with a larger agency who plans to transition you to a new point of contact. This is a relationship game, after all.

How will you want to spend the next 13 weeks?


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