Working with a Nursing Recruiter

by Howard Gerber on January 17, 2013

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Working with a Nursing Recruiter

If you’re considering a traveling nurse job or simply looking for a change, you might find yourself working with a professional recruiter. Do you know what to expect? What to tell your recruiter…and what not to?

Who needs a recruiter?
If your plan is to apply to local facilities and stay within your current position, you probably don’t need a recruiter. On the other hand, if you want to apply for a different type of position, move into an administrative career, work as a temporary or travel nurse, then your best bet is to seek professional help. Recruiters bring a lot to the table – they’ll help your polish your resume to make the best possible impression and have established relationships with the right people to ensure your resume is noticed.

The recruiter’s agenda
Your agenda is simple, get a great job. The recruiter wants that for you as well, but in order to do that, she must match the right candidate with the right opportunity. A lot of factors are in play, and the most successful recruiters have an instinctive feel for sending well-qualified applicants.

Put your best foot forward
When you present yourself to the recruiter, treat the interview with the same care you would a coveted job interview. Dress for success, be on time, be prepared, and speak with confidence. The recruiter represents you, but their jobs depend on making the employer happy. If you want to land those plum interviews, you first have to convince the recruiter that you’re a suitable candidate. She won’t stick her neck out for you unless you can convince her you’re worth it.

Pay attention
Recruiters have a lot of expertise to offer. If she tells you that you can beef up your resume by joining a group, getting a certification, volunteering, or doing something else that sets you apart and appeals to employers, listen and respond. You may not know what might up your pay grade…but she does. The recruiter can also help you with answers to deceptively sticky interview questions. If you’re unprepared, some common questions can be a minefield.

Be honest and be flexible
Tell the recruiter what you’re looking for. Be specific, but understand that your dream job may not be out there right now, or you may not have the qualifications. So be prepared with a well-developed plan B. Don’t agree to take anything that comes your way, but have a list of positions you’d be happy—really happy—to accept.

What to approach carefully
Religious affiliation can be an issue, and is better left out of the conversation. If you feel strongly about religion, and want to work in, say, a Catholic hospital, it can be a selling point, but understand that it can also be severely limiting. If your objective is to get a job wherever you can, keep your private life private. The same can be said for atheists. If the best job out there is at a church-sponsored hospital, lack of religion need not stand in your way. Either way, you may limit your options by volunteering answers to questions they won’t ask.

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