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Communicating With Your Recruiter While On Assignment

You might be thinking that after you secure and start your first assignment, you won’t have much communication with your recruiter. They helped you find a position and now that you’ve started, you won’t reconnect until it’s time to find your next assignment. That’s what I thought as a new traveler. I was surprised to find a voicemail from my recruiter on my first day to check in on me. She continued to check in on me on a regular basis to make sure things were continuing to run smoothly. As new travelers, we don’t know what to expect in terms of communication with our recruiters once we actually start an assignment. For most of us, this is an entirely new kind of relationship. Hopefully you are as fortunate as I was and have an amazing recruiter who is proactive about checking in on you regularly to ensure that things are going smoothly! However, as is the case with any relationship, communication is a two-way street. It’s important to maintain open communication throughout the assignment, and it doesn’t always have to be initiated by the recruiter.

How often should I talk to my recruiter?

Often times, this is a matter of personal preference. You may be the type of person that is completely independent and once you start an assignment, you don’t want to be bothered. On the other hand, you may be the type of person that feeds off of frequent communication and want to talk to your recruiter a few times a week. Maybe you find yourself somewhere in the middle. Regardless, it’s important to communicate this preference to your recruiter so that the two of you can be on the same page. Remember, they likely work with several travelers and no two travelers are the same. Recruiters want to respect our preferences, but we have to let them know what our preferences are.

Some companies actually specify how frequently you are required to communicate with your recruiter in your contract, so be sure to pay attention to those clauses. Why would companies require this? As travelers, we are representing not only ourselves and our profession, but also the staffing agency. Our recruiters want to stay informed of how things are going while on assignment.

What form of communication should I use?

Again, this is a matter of personal preference. And again, we must communicate this preference with our recruiter. While some may prefer to email or text for convenience, others may choose to talk on the phone because it feels more personable. Your choice of communication may vary based on the particular situation. For example, a quick check in email or text, “Hey! Everything is going well” is appropriate. However, if you have a concern that needs addressed, it may be better to send a quick text to request to speak with your recruiter or send a professional email. Keep in mind that recruiters also have communication preferences. Just as we would become upset if our calls, texts, or emails were going unanswered, recruiters have the same frustration. So as in any relationship, it’s important to communicate openly about communication preferences.

I may have a problem, when should I tell my recruiter?

IMMEDIATELY!!! As travelers entering a brand new job in an entirely new place, it isn’t uncommon for us to run into obstacles. It’s part of the journey and something that makes us all grow as both individuals and practitioners. After running into a few problems of my own while on assignment, I’ve learned the important lesson that recruiters are our lifelines. Whether it’s a problem in your personal life such as car troubles, illness, a family emergency, etc, or a problem in your job, they need to know immediately. Hopefully, you have formed a trusting relationship with your recruiter and feel that you can talk to them in the event a problem arises. The really great recruiters are truly advocates for us travelers, but they are not mind readers. We have to communicate our needs in a timely manner so that they can resolve any issues that may arise. No problem is insignificant and recruiters would rather address a situation before it becomes an even bigger problem.

Here are some examples of situations in which you should communicate with your recruiter immediately….

  • Illness requiring you to miss work

  • Weather-related emergencies causing you to miss work

  • Car troubles affecting your ability to commute to work

  • Problems with hours (i.e. not getting enough hours or working too much overtime)

  • Ethical/safety concerns at the facility

  • Poor treatment at the facility

  • Family emergencies requiring you to miss work

  • The facility is trying to make changes to what you originally agreed to in your contract (location(s), setting, mileage, floating, etc)

  • The facility informs you of a cancellation/early termination notice

The above list is not all-inclusive. Remember, no problem is insignificant. In terms of communicating problems with your recruiter, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I have a problem and it’s after hours. I feel bad bothering my recruiter.

It is common for new travelers to feel bad about reaching out to their recruiter after hours. However, recruiters accept this as part of the job they do. They are used to their travelers working similar hours to themselves and realize that it is not always possible to communicate during office hours. Besides, life happens! The top-notch recruiters give their personal cell phone numbers out in the event that something comes up while on assignment and have no problem taking calls or texts outside of normal business hours. In fact, it is a serious red flag when a recruiter does not provide this information. You want to know that in the event something happens where you need to reach your recruiter immediately, you’ll be able to do so. As someone who has had problems while on assignment, I cannot stress the importance of having access to your recruiter after hours. They are your safety blanket! In the event a problem arises and you cannot speak to your recruiter during normal business hours, connecting with them after hours will save you both time and stress. This will allow your recruiter to create a plan of action so that they can address your problem first thing in the morning. This is particularly important if it is a time sensitive issue. The sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner it can be resolved.

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