Kyle Leffel
Kyle Leffel
April 15, 2016 - 4 min read

Interview With A Travel Nurse: Sure-fire Signs You’re Working With The Wrong Staffing Agency interviewed travel nurse Kyle Leffel, RN about his experience in choosing the best staffing company.

Did you have a list of deal breakers in mind that helped eliminate potential agencies?  (If yes) What were they?

Not really, for me I looked around online. I would read what reviews were posted about the company, and I also relied heavily on what my friends told me. I had a couple of nurses, that I use to work with refer me to the companies that they have traveled with. It seems most companies offer very similar benefits and wages.

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Can you describe any specific “red flags”?

Absolutely! For myself, I really focused in on how I was being talked to during my first phone call. If the recruiter talked more about how much money I was going to make, or just simply wanted all my contact information up front, then I knew they were only interested in completing a sale. The company I choose to travel with focused on me, and wanted to give me an amazing travel experience. After all, that’s what is most important.

Another red flag for me was web site design. I wanted to make sure the company I was going to work for looked professional. So if they didn’t take the time on looking professional, then I would often worry about what else they are cutting corners on.

How were you able to tell if an agency had your best interest in mind?

I could tell if the recruiter really had my best interest in mind when they focused most of our conversations on what they could do for me. They never really push a bunch of dollar signs or anything at me, instead they focused on where I wanted to travel. Did I have an all-time bucket list of travel locations? Or what could they do to make our experience something we would always remember?  This was very comforting to me. I felt like this company really had my back.

In your experience, are recruiters usually pretty helpful or do they tend to be pushy?

I think this question kind of ties into all the others. Honestly, you get both types. I have talked with some very friendly recruiters, and then I have talked to some very pushy “money driven” recruiters. It’s very easy to distinguish the two different types. If I am interested in choosing to work with a company, I will contact you. To me, it looks very desperate and pathetic to have the recruiters cold call me. To this day I still get at least two emails and one new voicemail a day from company’s trying to recruit me. I think the really good and helpful recruiters are often referred to by another nurse. The pushy recruiters are friendly but there is probably a reason why they are so pushy.

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What is your advice on comparing compensation, i.e., what is the best way to get a complete picture of compensation?

In regards to compensation and travel nursing, my best advice would be to not make it about the money. Either way, you will still get paid pretty well. Travel nursing is about the experience of getting paid to travel. But it is still important to know the basics of compensation. You get paid based on what your contract states. A good recruiter will go over all of this with you before you sign anything. For me I made sure I was guaranteed full time hours for my whole contract, so I was covered there. You can also get more money if you choose to find your own housing. Most companies will let you pocket the money on what it would cost them to find you housing. For example, let’s say it costs Company ABC $800 dollars a month for a fully furnished apartment with all utilities included. Now you can either take their housing option or you can take that $800 extra a month and pocket it. Then try to find your own housing that could be cheaper. This is called taking the housing stipend. This is great if you have friends or family in the area you are working at, and they let you stay there for free.

Are there any lesser known perks that I should ask about?

Not really, I mean you can build your contract how you want too. But the more you add into a contract such as a rental car, or want to fly everywhere it’s going to still cost you in the long run. So it’s really important to discuss these things with your recruiter. They usually know how to build contracts and add in all the little extra perks. A good recruiter will know how to wine and dine you. My recruiter sent my wife and I little care packages. I think on my first contract he sent us a foot masseuse, an official NFL sweat shirt of my favorite football team, T-shirts, hats, candy, gift cards, and some other stuff. It meant a lot to me because it showed that he cared enough to think about us, all while making sure we were enjoying our time away from home.

What are three questions I should ask every recruiter?

  1. Do you have a phone number I can call at any given time or day if I have an emergency or need to contact you?
  2. Do you have any nurses I can contact as a reference for you?
  3. Why did you want to become a travel nursing recruiter, and how can you best represent me?

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To learn more about Kyle and his decision to become a travel nurse, check out A Journey into Travel Nursing.

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