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How to work with two agencies, help!

Travel   (1,135 Views | 7 Replies)

790 Profile Views; 19 Posts

Hi all! I'm an RN with nine years experience on my FIRST travel assignment! It's a short assignment that my recruiter thought would get extended, so she didn't seem very motivated to find me a new one, I got a bit nervous and didn't want to be taking the only available assignment left at the last minute, so I signed with a second agency to be proactive. I feel a bit bad about it, but I have been reading that it is the nome, even recommended when you travel. My question is do I let my original recruiter with Company zone know about Company Two? She spoke with me today and is going to start looking for my next assignment. Do I still interview for both recruiters possible assignments? I like both recruiters, but they have differing styles for sure. What is the protocol on this type of relationship. They've both been good to me, I certainly don't want to alienate anyone. Thanks in advance for your advice!

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2 Followers; 1 Article; 5,378 Posts; 45,480 Profile Views

Absolutely tell all your recruiters that you are working with different agencies. That should serve to make them work harder for your business, and if not, drop them! There are over 300 agencies, and thousands of recruiters. They are a commodity just as we are, and if they don't perform, they shouldn't get our business.

It is only fair to tell them that you are working with others, and you should only allow agencies to submit you if you are truly interested in an assignment and would accept it if offered. No one likes time wasters. Another reason to exert such control over your recruiters is that the first agency to submit you to a hospital "owns" you. It is a real bummer to be submitted by an agency that you don't want to work with and pays $8 an hour less than another agency you are signed up with that has the same assignment.

You should work with more than two agencies. All kinds of things happen and you need a Plan C. Recruiters will stop returning calls (usually an indication that they don't have assignments for you), hospitals can be slow to interview or change their minds at the last minute, and so on. Call lots of agencies and pick around five to finalize paperwork with (a lot of work to be sure) - you should get more efficient with files on your laptop. Your criteria should first be picking recruiters that you communicate well with (and have a compatible style if you will), if you don't, negotiation will be impossible, and it is unlikely you will have a good experience.

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19 Posts; 790 Profile Views

Thanks for that! I will let my first recruiter know tomorrow. I realize that I haven't been doing any bargaining at all, I'm just taking what is offered if it sounds reasonable. I really need to pore over these boards a bit more. I am not doing this to make a fortune, just to be happy in my work and my life, so I don't necessarily feel like I need top dollar or anything, but I would like to be able to eat out once in awhile! So far I have these two ladies that I'm happy with, and as I'm reading through your advice, I realize now why one of them wants to submit me to every possible job! I'm learning as I go!!! Thanks for the input, and I look forward to learning more!

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2 Articles; 776 Posts; 26,029 Profile Views

So it's normal for hospitals to be slow to interview? I thought it might be based on experience with being regular staff and waiting for the manager to finalize with travelers, but my recruiters seem puzzled that I'm not getting calls back quickly. I know I've read here before about working with more than two agencies, but I feel like keeping track of two is more than enough to handle--I can't imagine adding more. On the other hand, I'm not getting results... I also HATE asking my former co-workers to give references and don't want to bother them with so many companies calling.

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trackhead has 20 years experience and specializes in Flight nurse, flight medic, ER, ICU, NP school now.

137 Posts; 2,939 Profile Views

I've done for assignments in the last 14 months with four different agencies. No issues. You're the one with the license and the skill, not them.

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2 Followers; 1 Article; 5,378 Posts; 45,480 Profile Views

I realize now why one of them wants to submit me to every possible job! I'm learning as I go!!!

It sounds like this one is doing things right, asking you before submitting. It is true that some recruiters will submit without asking to lock you into a hospital, but in both types of submission without permission, they know that a job in the hand is hard to turn down and that you are more likely to accept when a hospital says they want you. So it ends up being good business for them, especially if they know you are working with other agencies. It bites them when a traveler turns down an assignment because it makes the agency look bad to their client hospital.

Now sometimes you have a really good working relationship with a recruiter who knows you well and submits you to jobs he knows you want. That's OK, but is certainly not possible after a single assignment.

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2 Followers; 1 Article; 5,378 Posts; 45,480 Profile Views

So it's normal for hospitals to be slow to interview? I thought it might be based on experience with being regular staff and waiting for the manager to finalize with travelers, but my recruiters seem puzzled that I'm not getting calls back quickly. I know I've read here before about working with more than two agencies, but I feel like keeping track of two is more than enough to handle--I can't imagine adding more. On the other hand, I'm not getting results... I also HATE asking my former co-workers to give references and don't want to bother them with so many companies calling.

Slow to interview is not normal, but some hospital and some managers are notorious for it. Sometimes it is the agency's fault, there is actually no assignment, but communication with HR can be so difficult that agencies may post the assignment because they saw another agency post it (or a traveler said another agency had it).

Keeping up with five agency's paperwork is just as easy as two once it is all in. If you train your recruiters to email, text, or FaceBook you, maintenance is no problem. Part of your problem is with your professional portfolio, certainly with your references. You need to get written references, period. This will cut down dramatically on phone calls and simplify any calls tremendously (they can simply verify that your reference works at the hospital for example). In fact, they really don't need to verify at all until you have been offered an assignment.

Written references also give you much more control over your career: you have no idea what someone will actually say on the phone, or who might answer the phone and spout crap about you. When you have a collection of written references that you have curated, you know what is presented to the manager.

I try to get several written references on every assignment: some are too poorly written to pass along. There is a huge protective effect getting them early as possible in an assignment, if they try to terminate you, you have some protection against false charges. You also have a reference in hand that you cannot obtain after you have been terminated.

Agencies also collect a written reference/evaluation from every assignment, but they won't share them with you as you can just take those very valuable pieces of paper to another agency where they are like gold. Take the hint and collect your own, you will be much more valuable to any new agency.

A reference/evaluation form handed to a manager, director, or charge nurse can literally take them 3 minutes to fill out (if you stand there while they do) versus a formal letter of recommendation that can take some time and few do well at it. Sample forms are available for free download from PanTravelers.

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2 Articles; 776 Posts; 26,029 Profile Views

Thank you, Ned! I wish I'd read this advice before I left my full-time job. It's always sounded so bloody easy to do travel nursing (especially considering some of the lackluster travel nurses I've met) that I thought (and was encouraged to think by every recruiter I spoke to before leaving my job) I would just be able to walk into this.

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