It has to be really hard being a recruiter for a health care staffing company. I say that because our experience has been that recruiters seem to have very little longevity. My wife, a certified occupational therapist assistant, has been with at least a dozen staffing companies, and if she found a recruiter she liked, he or she was gone after less than a year.
I imagine that a good recruiter doesn’t just wait for someone to call looking for an assignment. Remember, I said a good recruiter. We have met some that we were sure did just that. But a good recruiter cold calls various medical facilities to see if they need a medical professional, which can range from therapists and assistants, to nurses and doctors and the various medical fields in between. Some staffing companies specialize in only a few medical fields.
With that said, it seems to me that most recruiters would bend over backwards to keep a medical professional, but such is not the case.My wife and I have found that many of them, after you get on board, have a lackadaisical attitude toward their contractor.
It seems to me that companies would not have to work so hard to recruit medical contractors if they kept more of the ones they do have. To that end, I am writing a few suggestions recruiters can use to keep their contractors and it will emphasize physical and occupational therapy because that is what I have the most experience with. But there’s no reason why these suggestions shouldn’t work with all medical fields.
First, after you get someone to join your company and you get them an assignment, call them once a week, or at least every other week, to see how their assignment is going. I can’t tell you how much it ticks my wife off when no one at the staffing company calls her periodically to see if the assignment is a good one. She does not feel it is her responsibility to call them unless something is going wrong. As a result, it seems that they only time she is in contact with someone from the staffing company is when she is having a problem. With my wife, and with many others from our experience, paying them attention means more than an increase in pay.
Second, be a good listener. When my wife calls up, it’s because there is something not quite right about the facility where she is working. Sometimes it’s minor, sometimes it’s major. This is something important you may need to know. If the facility has a rehab director or administrator who is a poor manager, you need to know this. If the permanent staff there often passively picks a new contractor to torment, which occasionally occurs, you need to know this. If the patients are mostly low functioning and difficult, you need to know this.
Frequently, there may not be anything you as the recruiter can do about the situation, but sometimes it just helps if the contractor can vent. Plus, you may be able to bring it to someone’s attention at the assignment who can resolve the issue. More importantly, if this is a trend, you may not want to place anyone at that particular facility.
Furthermore, you will be showing the contractor that you care, and when you make a friend of the contractor, it is hard for them to change companies because they want to continue with your friendship. They like talking you to because you are interested in them.
Often, just listening and being sympathetic can prevent an early termination on the part of either the contractor or the facility. In addition, a quick phone call and you may be able to pick up some vital information about other contractors there who may be dissatisfied with their company and you can tell them all the wonderful opportunities you can offer
Listen to what the contractor is telling you they want. Is it money? Is it a particular place? Is it a particular facility – i.e. outpatient, long term care or hospital.
Third and final point, if you have a facility nearby your office that has one or more contractors there, drop by to say hello to the staff and rehab director. Bring some donuts, bagels or a fruit and vegetable tray. It shows you’re concerned and you get to make new contacts. Get to know the rehab director. Remember, do not try to actively recruit when you are visiting a facility. If anyone shows interest, give them your card and have them call you later. Nothing makes a rehab director angrier than someone trying to recruit from his permanent staff. You are just there visiting your contractors and seeing the facility they are working in.
It used to be that the rehab director was the person to talk to about getting a contractor in a facility, but not anymore. The trend now is for someone over the rehabilitation director to do the hiring of contractors and other personnel. But the director frequently has input as to which staffing company consistently puts the best people to work. Best time to drop by, just before lunch or right after. Most of the patients have been seen by then and the medical staff may have time to say hello and have a bite of what you have brought.
To sum it up, call, listen, visit. Try some of these suggestions and see if they work. You may find that you become the most valuable recruiter your company has, the highest paid and the one with the most longevity.