5 Tips For Choosing The Best Travel Nurse Recruiters

by Cassandra Martinez, RN BSN

With so many opportunities and countless information found in travel nursing, your greatest resource is your travel nurse recruiter. Their job is to answer all of your questions, keep your profile up to date, and submit you for your next big assignment. Your recruiter is the link between what you want in an assignment and achieving your goals as a travel nurse.

Choosing the right recruiter is essential to having a successful travel nurse experience. So, where do you find these awesome people?

Try these 5 tips:

1. Do Your Research

To find the right recruiter, you can start by researching travel nursing agencies. There are many agencies in travel nursing, and they all have something different to offer. Some things to consider:

Nationwide vs. Regional Agencies

As the name implies, agencies that work nationwide will have a larger selection of job locations, while regional agencies will serve a localized area. Nationwide and regional agencies may have different offerings, so it is a good idea to compare the two, depending on where you want to travel.

Pay Package Structures

Pay packages generally include your taxable hourly rate, tax-free stipends (includes housing and meals), benefits, and an estimated total weekly pay. The numbers may be presented differently depending on the agency, so be clear with your pay package expectations and ask questions.

Single Point Contact vs. Multiple Points of Contact

Do you mind working with an agency that uses different points of contact? Or can you barely juggle names and prefer to remember one person? Multiple points of contact include your recruiter and a team who specialize in various departments. A single point contact allows you to speak to one person for all your needs while on assignment.


Who doesn’t love perks? Find out which agencies offer the benefits you may want, such as health insurance, referral bonuses, and sign on bonuses. Some agencies may even cover on-boarding expenses before an assignment, such as vaccines and drug testing. Another benefit I like to look for is corporate discounts on products and services such as hotels, rental cars, and even scrubs! 

2. Know What You Want

Before you can find the right recruiter, you should have an idea of what you are looking for in an assignment. Things to consider in a contract include the location, shift, specialty, overtime rates, cancellation policies, pay packages, and benefits.

It’s also a good idea to know what you’re flexible with and what you absolutely cannot have in a contract. For example, you may not mind where your next assignment is located, but you are not willing to work the night shift, even if persuaded with free Starbucks coffee for 13 weeks. Figure out what you want in an assignment and work with a recruiter that can accommodate you.

3. Ask for Recommendations

When in doubt, ask around! Sometimes the best place to find a good recruiter is through your family, friends, and coworkers. Looking for the right recruiter is tricky enough, but when other people can give you recommendations based on their own experiences, you’re already a step ahead.

You can also go to reputable travel nurse sites and social media platforms to read the experiences of other fellow travelers. Nurses will often list the names of recruiters they recommend, as well as the names of those they advise you to stay far, far away from!

I personally have found my favorite recruiter through one of my nursing friends and it has been a positive experience. Plus, after completing my first assignment, my friend received a bonus for referring me! (Hint, if your agency participates in referral bonuses, refer your friends for extra cash.) Whether it be through a friend or a subreddit, try your luck with recommendations.

4. It’s Interview Time

Once you start honing in on recruiters that you like, it’s time for the interview. You can start off with questions such as, “How long have you been a travel nurse recruiter?” or “How many nurses do you typically work with at once?” Ask about their work availability and if they can be reached after hours via phone and email.

Another topic I always press upon my potential recruiters are submissions for travel jobs. Be sure to ask how their submission process works and if they will ever submit you without your permission. Being submitted without your consent can spell trouble if you submit for the same position with another company or if you just plain don’t want to work that assignment. Once, I was submitted to a job I did not consent to, and I dumped that recruiter like a bad breakup. Don’t let this happen to you!

5. Live and Learn

Perhaps the best way to find the right recruiter is through none other than your own lived experiences. Try out a recruiter and see if they are a right fit for your needs. You can even try working with multiple recruiters to see what opportunities they offer and compare them. Tell your recruiters you are working with multiple agencies and let them work hard for you.

Sometimes recruiters get the boot, and sometimes they become your best pal, but in either case, it is all experience added to your belt as a travel nurse. Picking the right recruiter can seem like a chore but putting the time and research into finding the right match can only help you during your travel nurse journey.

Next Up: Most Travel Nurses Are Missing Out On Money By Not Doing This One Thing

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