Being Treated Like a Number

Never treat your customer like a number. Seems pretty obvious, right? Yet, I’ve seen several online posts by nurses upset because a recruiter left them feeling like just that, a number. Yes, unfortunately, it does happen. In fact, that’s one reason I believe every phase of the sales cycle should always be about the traveler and not about the recruiter. Good things come from having good intent.

But are nurses treating recruiters like a number too? Interestingly, there are posts on these same sites wherein nurses are upset with recruiters who aren’t giving them pay information on every job. They complain this should be available to them prior to completing any paperwork for the agency. After all, it does take time to do paperwork, right? And if the number doesn’t meet their needs why would they want to invest the time? These nurses seem to be looking for a menu, and an order-taker. But this seems to contradict what most nurses would say they want in a recruiter.

Now I can appreciate what these nurses are saying if all other things were truly equal. But are they equal? Does every recruiter provide the same experience and support to their travelers? And are all agencies the same? Certainly not.

Without question nurses bring far more value to a recruiter and an agency than the contract they sign. Every traveler an agency hires either improves the agency’s reputation or chips away at it. Aside from possessing a strong clinical skill set (which is tops on the list), nurses who adapt to new staff quickly and “fit in” are highly valued. These highly valued nurses create a better client experience and, in general, are more likely to have a positive experience themselves. Ultimately, an agency can only ever be as good as the nurses they put out in the field. But what happens if recruiters aren’t qualifying nurses, but instead simply taking orders and blindly emailing contracts?

And what about the value recruiters and their agencies provide to nurses. Is the number the only thing of value a recruiter can provide to a nurse? What about the agency? Surely not. We’ve all heard the horror stories about terrible recruiters, and for that matter, terrible companies, who can only attract nurses by offering high pay. These nurses learn quickly they’re not valued and are left with little or no support from both the agency and recruiter. Some are fortunate and later learn the value a selfless recruiter with good intentions can offer them. But what happens if they’re not taking the time during that initial conversation to qualify recruiters and research the agency?

In the end, recruiters and travelers need each other. Hospitals simply refuse to hire nurses as 1099 employees these days. Whether nurses like it or not, they need recruiters and the agencies employing them. And without nurses, recruiters, would be out of a job. Recruiters and nurses alike both benefit when they take the time to qualify. Without a doubt the quality of the experience for each is subject to the actions of the other.

As I’m typing this I’m reminded of something a colleague and fellow recruiter once told me. He said, “nurses need to know that if they spend all their time talking only about numbers with their recruiters they end up being treated like a number.” I think this statement applies to both nurses and recruiters. And too often both are guilty of focusing on the number when they would each benefit from investing the time to qualify and get to know the person on the other end of the phone. Do you agree?

 

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