Working with a Recruiter

Nurses work in a dynamic, high-demand field that changes constantly. However, when it comes to finding new jobs, nurses sometimes struggle. Working with a recruiter can lead to exciting opportunities in nursing and ease the job-hunting process. Recruiters work in a variety of industries, including legal recruiting, IT recruiting, and sales recruiting. A recruiter for nursing jobs specializes in hiring qualified nurses.

Some recruiters work in-house for the hiring company’s human resources department, while others work for recruiting agencies. Recruiters work for an employer, identifying qualified candidates for job openings. In both cases, job seekers do not pay recruiters, instead, recruiters receive a salary from the hiring company. This makes recruiters a valuable asset to nurses with limited job-search resources.

Recruiters meet with nurses to determine their qualifications, career goals, and fit for potential nursing jobs. They also work with hiring managers to recommend qualified candidates and assist job seekers during the negotiation process. Because many recruiters earn a bonus based on the percentage of the nurse’s starting salary, recruiters are incentivized to find their clients the best paying jobs possible.

How Do You Find a Nursing Job with a Recruiter?

Finding Nursing Recruiters

In an ideal situation, a recruiter reaches out to a nurse unsolicited. However, nurses can also increase their chances of finding the right recruiter with a few simple steps. Nurses should polish their LinkedIn profile with their background and experience, endorsements, and other information that can help recruiters identify potential job candidates. Nurses should also post a resume on job seeker sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster. Nurses can ask contacts in their field for recommendations about recruiters. Some professional organizations may provide resources for finding recruiters who specialize in healthcare.

Nurses should never pay a fee to a recruiter. Instead, recruiters make money when they find jobs for their clients. The hiring company pays the recruiter, usually based on a percentage of the new hire’s first-year salary, and clients do not need to pay for recruiter services. In some cases, recruiters work on retainer for large healthcare systems. In either situation, nurses do not need to pay recruiters.

When evaluating a potential recruiter, nurses need to do their research. Ask the recruiter about their connections in the healthcare field, the length of their experience, and their placement record. You might also consider asking for references or testimonials from clients who received nursing jobs. Because working with a recruiter requires building a relationship, nurses should also check with recruiters about their preferred method of contact, such as email or phone, and whether they schedule an in-person interview.

Initial Interview with a Nursing Recruiter

Getting a nurse job with a recruiter requires building a partnership that benefits both people. Many nursing recruiters build relationships with their clients through an initial interview. During this process, the recruiter screens potential candidates to determine whether they fit with particular nursing recruiters. Some recruiters start with a phone screen and then schedule an in-person interview.

When meeting with a recruiter, make sure to follow nursing recruiter tips. Always tell the recruiter what type of job you hope to find and your background and qualifications. Make sure to discuss your short-term and long-term career goals, your desired salary range, and any preferences about the job environment. If you prefer to work for a physician’s office rather than a hospital, make sure to let the recruiter know.

However, nurses should not discuss certain topics with a recruiter. If the recruiter has particular positions in mind, do not tell the recruiter you have no other current opportunities. Also keep information about your financial situation private, and do not share the lowest salary you would accept. Instead, focus the interview on establishing a professional relationship with the recruiter.

The Job Interviewing Process

After an initial meeting, recruiters work with nurses to find job openings. Getting a nurse job with a recruiter requires multiple steps. Before submitting a nurse’s resume for a job, recruiters reach out to their clients to confirm that the job fits with the nurse’s qualifications. Once the nurse approves the position, a recruiter submits the resume, often directly to the hiring manager. Recruiters may also recommend particular candidates to the hiring manager, even selecting specific candidates for a face-to-face interview.

If the hiring manager wants to proceed with an interview, the recruiter may set up and organize the interview process, or even participate in the interview. Recruiters can also help their client prepare for the interview. Recruiters follow up with hiring managers and candidates after interviews, helping negotiate a job offer and starting salary for successful candidates. Recruiters also provide feedback and advice to help candidates improve for the next available opportunity.

Should You Look for a Nursing Job with a Recruiter?

Advantages of Working with a Recruiter

With so many openings in healthcare, nurses may find themselves overwhelmed with the job application process. A recruiter can help job-seeking nurses save time and energy, making the process more efficient. Recruiters can also help nurses stand out in the job market by drawing on their healthcare connections.

Job seekers do not need to pay recruiters. Instead, when a recruiter lands a job for a nurse, the recruiter receives a commission from the employer based on a percentage of the nurse’s salary. This means recruiters possess a strong inclination to garner nurses the best offer possible. Additionally, because recruiters build ongoing relationships with employers, they try to find candidates who match up to ensure that they get further work from the same company.

Recruiters also serve as invaluable resources. They help nurses update their resumes to appear more attractive on the job market, and their insider information helps nurses understand what employers look for. A recruiter for nursing jobs with a track record in healthcare can use their connections and network to find the best jobs quickly.

Potential Disadvantages of Working with a Recruiter

Some nurses prefer to apply for jobs on their own rather than work with recruiters. After all, recruiters only get paid if you find a job, which might create an incentive for the recruiter to suggest taking a lower salary offer or a job that fails to fit your credentials and preferences. Nurses can protect against this incentive by discussing salary ranges and specific job requirements in the initial interview. On the other hand, because recruiters earn their salary based on a percentage of the salary a nurse receives for the first year, they feel no obligation to negotiate the highest salary possible and run the risk of the employer moving to a different candidate.

While recruiters act as a bridge between job seekers and hiring employers, they may need to put the employers’ interests first. Recruiters often use the term “client” to refer to job seekers, but they more accurately work for the companies that pay for recruiter services. Because of that, companies may not allow recruiters to share certain information with potential candidates.

Many recruiters work with job applicants in a variety of fields and may not understand the nursing profession. Nurses can screen recruiters by asking about their experience recruiting in the healthcare industry and asking for specific examples of prior clients.

Tips for Working with a Recruiter in Nursing

Recruiter FAQs


How Many Times Do You Meet with a Recruiter, on Average?

Nurses often meet with a recruiter for an initial interview and then conduct additional conversations over the phone or through email.


What Kind of Qualifications Do Recruiters Typically Have?

Many recruiters hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or sales. Recruiters may also boast a background in training, customer service, or employee relations.


Can You Work with Multiple Recruiters at the Same Time?

Yes, nurses can work with multiple recruiters. However, if you build a relationship with more than one recruiter, let the recruiters know. Additionally, make sure that multiple recruiters do not submit your resume to the same position.


What Are the Signs of a Good Recruiter?

Good recruiters build open, supportive relationships with nurses and hiring managers. The best recruiters enjoy broad networks and can provide referrals from past nurses who received jobs as a result of their efforts.


What Are the Signs of a Substandard Recruiter?

Recruiters need to maintain open lines of communication, so if a recruiter sends out your resume without letting you know or asks you to lie about your qualifications, look for another option.