Finding Travel Nursing Companies – Or Letting Them Find You

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Travel nursing companies spend a lot of resources and utilize many methods trying to find travel nurses. I assure you that at least a couple of these methods will blow your mind. They engage in advertising campaigns and attend conferences and job fairs. They utilize all facets of internet media including job boards, social networking, targeted advertisements, ad words, informational offerings, blogs, and even Continuing Education Unit web sites.

Commonly known travel nursing company methods

Advertising campaigns, conferences, and job fairs are all quite overt. Agencies commonly purchase advertisements in trade publications as well as niche publications, like Healthcare Traveler, that are obvious places for them to advertise. During peak times, when there are many more jobs to be filled than usual, it’s not uncommon to find agencies shelling out the cash to attend conferences of various types as well as job fairs. I call these “overt” because there’s nothing surprising or unusual here, just good old-fashioned marketing.

How travel nursing companies use job boards

The rest of the methods are all quite interesting, and some are just down right shady. Take the job board for example. It seems innocent enough; agencies post their open jobs and people apply for them. Not so fast. Yes, agencies do post open jobs. However, travel nursing jobs get filled very quickly. As mentioned previously, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) might have a job for 1 week at which point it may be released to all the Sub Vendors if the MSP failed to fill the job. At that point, enough candidates will be received within the first 2-3 days to pretty much seal the deal.

Now, that’s not the shady part. The shady part results from this reality. You see agencies know that they need to have candidates ready to submit to jobs as quickly as possible, so they sometimes post ghost jobs just to get travel nurses to apply. For example, if an agency knows that they have a pretty consistent need for ICU nurses in Boston, they just post a job advertisement to lure potential candidates to complete the Submission Profile paperwork. That way, they’ll have the candidates’ paperwork ready to go and they’ll contact those candidates if/when a job opens up.

Job boards can also be a great source for agencies to obtain your personal contact information. “I set the privacy setting”, you say? Not so fast, there are tricks! There are two types of information that are entered on most job boards. The first is the information that the job board captures through its profile and resume building services. These services are capable of capturing your personal contact information, work history, education history, and other pertinent information. The information gathered by these services can typically be kept private with the job board’s privacy settings, but sometimes it can’t be kept private. You’ll need to check each job board’s Privacy Policy or Terms of Use to see exactly what their policies are if you value your privacy.

The second type of information captured by the job board is the resume via the resume upload. This is where they provide you with the capability to upload your nurse resume. A significant percentage of people do this because it’s easier than completing the job board’s profile. A significant percentage of the job boards I’ve visited do not offer the capability to keep your uploaded resume private. They often times have specific language in their privacy statement indicating that they cannot keep this private. So, agencies, or anyone who has subscribed to the site, can just come along and dump the job board’s uploaded resumes in to their own database. Many job boards even have useful tools for facilitating the transfer of information. I suspect that there are even information brokers out there who use job boards to obtain contact information and then sell it to third parties. If you’ve posted your contact information on a job board, and are wondering why you receive 10-20 calls per week, this is perhaps the reason.

How travel nursing agencies use social media

Social networking is another method agencies use to find and recruit potential candidates. On the surface, social networking seems to be an obvious and above board method of contacting you. However, the ways these services are exploited is quite interesting. For example, you might use services like LinkedIn or Facebook and there’s nothing too intriguing about these services on the surface. However, these services may know an awful lot about who you depending on the amount of information you’ve shared about yourself. Agencies can purchase targeted advertising that assures the agency a very specific audience. Facebook may have been able to determine that you’re a PACU RN between the ages of 25 and 35 who likes to travel and loves the beach. If you suddenly see an advertisement for PACU jobs in San Diego, CA, don’t be surprised.

Informational offerings are one of the more interesting uses of social media. In this scenario, you might be looking in to travel nursing on the internet one day. A cookie in your browser captures this information and sells it to an advertiser. The next day, you see an advertisement that might say something like, “Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Recruiter: Free information guide to getting the most out of travel nursing.” Awesome! You click on the link and it asks you to enter some information about yourself to receive your free information. You find out that the 10 questions could have been written by a third grader, and the next day, you receive a call from a agency…or 10. This fancy trick can also be pulled off using social media services and chat rooms. You’ll see something like, “Download Our Free White Paper on Travel Nursing Salaries.” They’ll ask for your contact information and the next day you’ll receive a call from a company…or 10.

How travel nursing agencies use blogs

Agencies also operate their own blogs. Blogs can be a great way for agencies to achieve “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) when agencies attach them to their company web site. SEO is an internet buzzword that basically means that a web site is fine tuned to show up higher in the search results of Google, Bing, and other search engines than other web pages when someone conducts an internet search on terms relevant to the site’s subject matter. The trick is that some of these blogs aren’t so obviously run by an agency.

While they do indeed provide an informational service, they are designed and written for the purpose of guiding internet traffic to the site in an attempt to find interested candidates. This is accomplished by making many mentions of the key search terms and buzz words used for travel nursing and supplemental staffing. As a result, when you conduct a search on terms like “travel nursing” or “travel nursing jobs”, the agency’s blog shows up higher in the rankings. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s the way the internet works. But, when you arrive at these particular blogs, you have no idea that you’re on a web site owned an operated by an agency. Then, they ask you to join their community to receive all of the great benefits. You provide your contact information, and the next day you receive a call from a recruiter…or 10.

How travel nursing agencies use CEU websites

Agencies will also use Continuing Education Unit (CEU) web sites to draw in potential candidates. These web sites obviously provide a service to you, CEUs. But did you know that some of these sites are owned and operated by agencies? One such example is rn.com. This website offers a massive library of CEU courses, and offers an annual unlimited CEU package for a pretty good price, currently $34.95. It’s also owned and operated by American Mobile, one of the nation’s largest healthcare staffing agencies. So they not only collect a fee from you, but you provide them with your contact information to boot, as well as some basic information about your career. To be fair, I can’t be certain as to how they utilize this information, but their privacy statement is certainly worded in a way that gives them the authority to use it for recruitment purposes.

The point here is to simply point out that it’s best to be cautious with such services if you value your privacy and/or don’t want to be contacted on a regular basis by telemarketers. This is one of the benefits of using BluePipes. We’ll never sell your contact information to third parties and you could use the BluePipes messaging service to communicate with potential agencies prior to engaging them directly.

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