Every travel nurse will make a choice at one point or another about working with multiple travel nursing companies. Should you stick with just one company or work with several? One of the big pitfalls should you choose to work with multiple companies is the possibility of being submitted by multiple companies for the same travel nursing job. In this article, we’ll discuss all aspects of duplicate submissions for the same travel nursing job so you can approach this issue with confidence.
Should You Work With Multiple Travel Nursing Companies?
We conducted a survey in 2014 in which 53% of travel nurses said they work with more than one travel nursing company. Some might be surprised the number is so high while others might be surprised it’s so low. We’re in the latter group. We routinely recommend working with more than one agency.
There are several reasons we believe it’s best for travelers to work with multiple agencies. Here are just a few:
- It serves to increase your exposure to the job market because different companies have access to different hospitals.
- It enhances your bargaining position when negotiating pay rates.
- It ensures a higher level of service when done right.
- It ensures that you’re able to land jobs quickly should you encounter an unforeseen issue like a contract cancellation.
Clearly there are many great reasons to work with multiple companies. But like most things in life, there are also pitfalls to watch out for. The possibility of being submitted by multiple travel nursing companies for the same job is one of them. So, let’s begin with a look at all the ways this can happen.
How Does A Travel Nurse Get Submitted By Multiple Agencies For The Same Job?
There are many different scenarios that can result in travel nurses getting submitted for the same job by multiple companies. Knowing them helps us formulate a plan for avoiding the pitfall.
Recruiter Doesn’t Provided Name Of Hospital
Recruiters sometimes neglect to tell travelers the name of the facility that they’re submitting them to. This may sound crazy to experienced travelers, most of whom would never agree to being submitted without knowing the name of the facility. However, it happens nonetheless.
In some cases, recruiters prefer not to let the traveler know the name of the hospital. The recruiter might be worried the traveler will shop around to find the job with an agency the traveler has a better relationship with, or an agency that might pay more for this particular assignment. Or, the recruiter and traveler might forget to discuss the name of the hospital in their haste and excitement to get the profile submitted for what seems to be the ideal assignment in the perfect location.
The problem is that there is a very good chance many other agencies will have access to the same job. And if the traveler and one of those agencies connect to discuss the job, then there is a chance the traveler will get submitted a second time. The next recruiter might make a convincing argument that they can figure out later whether or not it’s the same hospital; for now, they just need to get you submitted for this hot job!
It’s also possible that the traveler doesn’t even consider the possibility that the two jobs are the same. Some travelers are unaware that multiple agencies work with the same hospital. As a result, the recruiter will never know the traveler has already been submitted for a job in the same city with the same job description.
Travel Nurse Finds A Better Pay Package
Multiple submissions for the same job can also occur if a better pay package presents itself after the travel nurse has already been submitted for the job. When travelers work with multiple companies or when they’ve released their contact information to multiple companies, they will undoubtedly receive calls from multiple agencies about jobs that meet their criteria. It’s quite common that these calls pertain to the same job.
This opens the door to the possibility that a recruiter calls and pitches a pay package that is better than the one offered by the company that has already submitted the traveler. In some cases, the second recruiter is able to convince the traveler to allow his company to also submit the traveler. We’re not judging! Who doesn’t want more money?! Plus, recruiters can be quite persuasive sometimes.
It may surprise some to know that this happens in reverse as well. In other words, some travelers shop around for better offers on jobs that they have already been submitted for. The traveler might not even tell the recruiter with the better offer that they’ve already been submitted. Even if they do, the recruiter will most likely submit the profile if the traveler approves.
Recruiter Submits Travel Nurse Without Notification
That’s because recruiters are always eager to submit profiles. There are two fundamental reasons for this eagerness. First, submissions are one of the “key performance indicators” that agencies track for evaluating a recruiter’s job performance. Second, recruiters understand that the sooner a profile is submitted, the higher the likelihood is of receiving an interview and offer.
Of course, this definitely leads to travel nurses being submitted to the same job by multiple agencies. In most cases, the traveler’s recruiters know the traveler’s desired destinations and job traits. So, when a job pops up that meets that criteria, the recruiters’ inclination is to submit first and ask questions later. Some recruiters will do this even when the traveler has asked them specifically not to.
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How Often Do Travel Nurses Get Submitted By Multiple Agencies For The Same Job?
As you can see there are many different scenarios that can lead to duplicate submissions for the same job. In fact, this happens more than recruiters and agencies let on. For example, I was a manager at staffing firm in the fall of 2012 when one of the account managers at Parallon (now called HealthTrust), the Managed Service Provider for HCA hospitals, emailed a list of their “winter travel nurse needs”. The list included hundreds of jobs.
The following day, we received an email from the account manager addressed to all staffing agencies on the email list. It informed us that he had received over 1,200 submissions. He also said that nearly 900 of them were duplicates. A whopping 65-75% of the profiles submitted were duplicate!
What Are The Consequences If A Travel Nurse Is Submitted By Multiple Agencies For the Same Job?
Such a high rate of duplicates is most likely not the norm. However, it is certainly an indication that duplicates happen quite often. The question then becomes, what are the consequences? It depends on the circumstances.
What Happens When There Is A VMS?
If there is a Vendor Management Service involved, then there almost certainly won’t be much in the way of consequences at all. In case you’re not familiar, Vendor Management Services (VMS) are essentially middle men between agencies and hospitals designed to streamline the process and help hospitals work with more agencies to get their jobs filled. Estimates are that anywhere from 40-50% of hospitals use a VMS. You can discover more about them here.
VMSs have huge incentives to get their clients’ jobs filled. The VMS isn’t going to reject a travel nurse just because they were submitted by multiple agencies. Instead, the VMS will most likely communicate with the traveler to find out which agency the traveler wants to work with and proceed from there as normal. The VMS may even wait for the actual job offer before determining which agency the traveler prefers. Either way, the hospital will most likely never know about the duplicate submission because the VMS has no reason to tell them.
What Happens When There Isn’t A VMS?
When there isn’t a VMS, then the hospital is working directly with agencies. As a result, the hospital will most likely recognize when a traveler has been submitted by multiple companies. Different hospitals react in different ways.
Some hospitals simply ask the traveler which agency the traveler wants to work with during the interview. They might not even mind if the traveler doesn’t know yet. As long as the hospital finds out shortly after the job is offered, there won’t be a problem. Meanwhile, some hospitals maintain a strict policy requiring the traveler to work with the first agency to submit the traveler. Finally, others will just remove the traveler from consideration altogether.
Why would hospitals care?
Of course, that might leave you wondering why hospitals would even care. What does it matter as long as everything gets worked out in the end? Most often, hospitals just aren’t willing to take on any extra work whatsoever. Even the conversation to determine which agency the traveler wants to work with is too much.
In other cases, hospitals have some twisted notion that the traveler is up to something fishy. I have no clue what the justification for this belief is. Nor do I understand why it would even matter. Moreover, duplicate submissions are more often the agencies’ fault. However, I’ve worked with hospital representatives who have expressed this concern, so it certainly exists.
What Is The Impact On The Travel Nurse?
As you can see, there are many potential consequences when duplicate submissions occur. However, there are really only two consequences that have an affect on the travel nurse. The first is when hospitals or VMSs have a policy requiring the traveler to work with the first agency to submit the traveler for the position. The problem here is that the traveler may not want to work with this agency. This agency might not have the best service or the best pay. Second, travelers are also negatively affected when hospitals decide to remove them from consideration when duplicates occur.
The good news is that neither of these scenarios actually happen all that often. In fact, I think it’s fair to that they’re pretty rare. That said, you’ll certainly hear many travelers tell stories of the time they were removed from consideration for a job due to duplicate submissions.
I have no doubt that some travelers have indeed been removed from consideration. However, I also believe that the number is slightly exaggerated, not by the travelers of course! But by their recruiters.
I know many recruiters who have told travelers that the traveler was removed from consideration because of duplicates when in fact that was not the case. Why would recruiters do this?! There are two reasons.
First, some recruiters use this as a way of explaining why a traveler didn’t get a job. Recruiters often feel obligated to provide some answer, any answer, as to why one of their clients didn’t get the job. If the recruiter finds out that the traveler was submitted by multiple agencies, then this is an easy explanation to sell.
Second, in rare cases, recruiters use this as a scare tactic in an effort to get travelers to work exclusively with the recruiter. Recruiters always prefer to be the exclusive source for a traveler. It ensures that they’ll be the one to get the traveler on contract and that the recruiter’s hard work is rewarded. Of course, none of this justifies lying to the traveler about duplicate submissions.
The good news for travelers is that the vast majority of experienced recruiters don’t pull these shenanigans. Instead, it’s the rookies and folks who will undoubtedly have a short lived career as a recruiter due to their honesty issues. The problem is that recruiting is a high turnover job, so travel nurses will certainly be exposed to this. You can view this article for more ways that travel nursing recruiters betray the trust of travel nurses.
How Can Travel Nurses Prevent Duplicate Submissions?
Now, with all that said, we don’t want to minimize this issue. There is certainly a chance that travelers are negatively impacted by duplicate submissions. So, what can be done to mitigate this from happening?
1) Clarify The Rules With Your Travel Nursing Recruiter
First, make it very clear with all the recruiters you work with that they must contact you before submitting your profile for any assignment unless you have given them prior authorization. We’ll discuss prior authorization below. Let them know that you work with other recruiters and want to avoid duplicate submissions. Tell them that you’ll fire them if they don’t respect your request. And follow through with that threat if they run afoul of the rule.
2) Be Accessible For Travel Nursing Job Opportunities
Second, be sure that you’re easily accessible and/or quick to respond regarding job opportunities, especially during your job searches. Recruiters are telling the truth when they say it’s extremely important to get submitted quickly. You don’t want to lose that edge. So, it’s important to be responsive regarding job opportunities.
3) Research Travel Nursing Locations In Advance
Third, always perform research in advance when possible. For example, if you know you want to take an assignment in San Francisco, CA, then start talking with your recruiters in advance to lay the ground work. You’ll want to find out all the hospitals that each of your recruiters has access to in that market. Then, find out the pay rates that each of them offers at the hospitals they work with.
At that point, you could select one recruiter per hospital and give them a green light to submit your profile to the specific hospital should the ideal opportunity arise. This way, you can get your profile submitted quickly so you stand a better chance of landing the job. The other recruiters shouldn’t even need to be informed because they should be abiding by your first rule, don’t submit without consent.
4) Get The Submission Details
Fourth, always request the name of the hospital prior to approving a submission. This way, you can ensure you don’t accidentally agree to getting submitted a second time. Also, if you’re hearing about a hot job on the fly and want to shop around with all your recruiters to see who has the best rate, or who might have an inside track on landing the job, then you’ll need the hospital name to do that. This is perfectly acceptable. But remember, try to accomplish this quickly because the best jobs close quickly.
5) Keep Your Travel Nursing Recruiters Informed
Finally, let all your recruiters know when you get submitted for a job. This will ensure that there are no mix-ups. It also has the added benefit of lighting a fire under their feet to find you a job!
By taking these steps, travel nurses should be able to realize all the advantages of working with multiple agencies while avoiding the pitfall of getting submitted by multiple agencies for the same job. As always, we hope you find this information useful. We’d love to hear about your experiences with this topic or answer any questions you may have. Please post them on BluePipes Forums!