Your Recruiter and You: The Most Important Relationship in Your Travel Career
My recruiter continues to amaze me with his knowledge, passion for FlexCare, and his can-do attitude. I'm so lucky to have such an awesome recruiter who always has my back!
~ Caitlin C., ER RN
The one-to-one relationship between a travel nurse or clinician and their recruiter is vital to the success of any assignment.
Whether you're a veteran traveler or you're considering traveling, a strong working relationship with a recruiter makes your life easier, the process smoother, and your assignments more predictable. But what makes a good traveler/recruiter relationship? We put that question out to our team of recruiters and below are some of the top themes.
Transparent and Honest
Expect transparency and honesty from your recruiter. Every assignment and facility is different, so when you're evaluating a contract, it's not the time to be shy. Ask plenty of questions and make sure to read it thoroughly. There are numerous important aspects to consider, including (but not limited to):
- Guaranteed hours and call-off policy.
- Available benefits and how and when you qualify.
- Completion or retention bonuses.
- Why travel company pay packages may differ.
- The fine print: cancellation policy, non-compete clause, and adjustments or penalties for missed shifts.
A good recruiter will cover these points and will be able to answer your questions. The important thing to remember is that you don't want to be caught by surprise!
Make sure that you are transparent and honest with your recruiter. Let them know what your expectations are, how much communication you need, the best method and time for communication, and when something doesn't make sense to you. Any recruiter worth their salt will ensure that you feel like you are being heard.
Flexible, Resilient, and Adaptable
Successful travelers are willing to go with the flow. That being said, if there are real challenges, lean on your recruiter to help you find a way to resolve them before they become unmanageable. Traveling can create some interesting dynamics that can include anything from confusion about hospital policies to issues with other staff. Learn to adapt to new ways of doing things, but if you are struggling with something, don't struggle alone. Your recruiter can facilitate a positive outcome by helping you determine when it's appropriate to elevate an issue and when to let it go.
There are times when it might be difficult to know the best way to resolve an issue, but your recruiter can guide you to making a good decision.
Keep in mind that facilities and staffing companies have policies that have to be applied fairly. If something doesn't go your way, try not to take it personally. Consider the big picture regarding what it is that you are trying to achieve overall and the most professional options for accomplishing your goals.
Independent and Adventurous
Whether you're traveling for adventure, to conquer your fear of the unknown, or to expand your nursing knowledge, you will ultimately build life-long friendships and memories if you are open to new experiences. What do our recruiters see in top travelers?
- They are willing to push themselves outside of their comfort zone.
- They are realistic and understand that they will experience some element of homesickness. Don't cry silently from loneliness when there are numerous ways to reach out to family and friends.
- Successful travelers get out there and make things happen - especially on their days off. Your recruiter can help you find activities in your area - they may even know if there are other travelers at the same or nearby facility.
- High-performing travelers embrace their inner adventurer!
You don't have to be a total Type-A personality to have a successful travel career - you just have to be willing to go it alone at times and push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Hard Workers and Problem Solvers
This seems like a no-brainer. There aren't many nurses or clinicians who are low performers, but if you are getting into the travel gig to stave off burnout - you might want to spend some time evaluating the reason why you are feeling burned out before you commit to an assignment. We all have times when we have less enthusiasm than normal, but for some, burnout can have a long-term impact on their job performance. That means you might appear to be a slacker or unwilling to solve challenges. Here are a few ways to ensure you are always able to be a peak performer:
- Take care of yourself first. This means that you're practicing good stress management and you have healthy boundaries.
- Create a professional support network to build your confidence. Make sure your recruiter is part of that network and also include other travelers or even staff nurses.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Never assume anything about a coworker or policy. If you don't understand something, use your resources and seek out the answers. In turn, make sure you are open to feedback and to acknowledge the expertise of others.
- Think of a problem in terms of an opportunity to find a solution rather than something that is happening to you.
- Be "unbotherable." Okay, that's not really a word, but if you're having a bad day, just repeating the phrase, "I am unbotherable" will elevate your mind and your mood. Think of it as your cloak of stress invisibility.
FlexCare recruiters are by their very nature hard working, problem solvers, and "unbotherable." As your single point of contact, they educate themselves about the industry, facilities, geography, and you! They want what's best for you and will work hard to ensure that you have the information you need to make good decisions about your career.
Any successful long-term relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. If those are lacking between you and your recruiter, you will both be spinning your wheels in frustration. It's critical that you work together as a team and communicate clearly. When the recruiter understands what you want and need, you'll feel more secure.
At FlexCare, we have nurses and clinicians who have been with their recruiters long enough for the recruiter to know exactly what assignments will be a good fit and which ones to stay away from. When an opportunity presents itself to get your dream assignment, you want someone on your team who can jump on it quickly and has prepared you well to present yourself to a facility in the most effective and professional way.
It might sound cliché, but when your personalities gel, it feels like you have a professional soul mate - and that's the ideal experience. That being said, there's nothing wrong with not being totally in synch, but if you just aren't compatible in any way, then it might be time to find a new recruiter - and that's okay too.
The bottom line is that you want an atmosphere of trust and good communication when it comes to maintaining a great traveler/recruiter team relationship. That will be the foundation that supports you throughout each assignment. Don't settle for anything less.