If you’re a travel physical therapist looking to build the travel career of your dreams, then listen up, because I’m about to lend you one of the best pieces of advice you’ll ever get: work with multiple recruiters at all times. It may seem simple, but trust me—it’ll pay big dividends. In this post, I’ll dive into the finer details of working with multiple recruiters and explain why it is so essential for success as a travel therapist.

In the spring of 2016, my wife and I (both travel PTs) decided to return to the Central Coast of California and accept a travel therapy position we had already held once previously. Beaches, trails, rolling hills, 75 degrees and sunny every day—in a place like that, how could you blame us? Our initial plan was to simply go through the same recruiter we had used for the last contract. That way, we could button up the deal quickly and cleanly. There was only one problem: our recruiter was no longer there. She had left the recruiting agency, and we were passed on to her manager.

Feeling uneasy about being placed with a recruiter I had never worked with, I decided to call up everyone on our list of recruiters and start a whole new job search—just in case this new guy turned out to be a dud.

That ended up being the best decision I could have made.

In the world of travel therapy, working with more than one recruiting agency and managing multiple recruiters is an absolute must! Over the years, my wife and I have identified three reasons why it is so crucial:

Retention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It - Regular BannerRetention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It - Small Banner

1. Job Selection

It’s a well-known fact that most recruiting agencies share 80% of the same jobs. The remaining 20% is what sets one company apart from another. Sometimes, these variations result from exclusive contracts with various hospital organizations; other times, it’s just dumb luck.

Once, when we were desperate to go to Alaska, we searched all over for work in the Anchorage area without finding any solid leads. Finally, after contacting seven or eight agencies, we came across an agency that had not just one, but four jobs—all within a 20-mile radius. Sometimes, you just get lucky.

2. Transparency

Fielding potential job offers from multiple recruiting agencies is by far the best way to get a feel for the job market in your desired location. When you’re long-distance job-searching, it can be challenging to get an accurate grasp of what a fair wage would be in your new location.

By using multiple agencies, you’ll not only get a quick snapshot of pay ranges in certain areas, but also potentially identify particular recruiters who aren’t giving you the fair shake you deserve. Often, the pay discrepancy between two therapists—all else being equal—is massive. So, while it’s not exactly convenient to deal with a few extra recruiters, it is definitely worth it, as it helps protect you from ending up on the short end.

In fairness to the recruiting agencies, as I stated in the previous section, some have exclusive or preferential contracts with various hospital organizations or large clinic corporations. This often is the reason behind the pay scale differences. So, it’s not always the result of a stingy recruiter (although that does occasionally happen).

3. Competition

Remember, this is business. Simple economics tells us that competition among companies results in benefits being passed on to the consumer. Similarly, having multiple recruiters—all of whom know that you’re working with other agencies—gives each agency a little extra motivation to find you the best job at the best rate.

While building a strong, trusting relationship with more than one recruiter can prove challenging at times, the benefits far outweigh the added hassle. We recommend using three or four recruiters from different companies whenever you’re on the hunt for a new job.

Looking back at our job situation on the Central Coast of California, it’s clear to me that using multiple recruiters was super important when it came to ensuring that my wife and I were treated as fairly as possible. Competition and improved transparency played crucial roles in the contract negotiations that followed. In the end, fearful of losing two experienced physical therapists with an established track record of providing solid value to our clinics, this new recruiter scrounged up a raise amounting to $200 per week after taxes—the equivalent of about a $10,000 post-tax raise over the course of a year! And if that’s not enough incentive to take this advice, I don’t know what is.

Want to learn more about travel therapy and PT career management in general—including strategies for securing the best jobs? Check out the e-book, Make More Money - The Travel Therapists Guide to Career and Income Growth.

Dr. Stephen Stockhausen, PT, OCS, is the primary author of PTAdventures.com, a travel blog chronicling his adventures and providing advice to therapists who are passionate about their profession.

  • Employee Engagement: Your Most Important Business Initiative Image

    articleJul 5, 2018 | 5 min. read

    Employee Engagement: Your Most Important Business Initiative

    What single business initiative can make your employees want to work harder for you, while inspiring them to be happier than ever with their jobs? Hint: The answer is not more money . The answer is increasing employee engagement . This is possibly the single most important part of an owner or manager’s duties. To tackle this job, we must start with creating unparalleled company culture . Wikipedia defines company culture as “the character of the organization; …

  • 5 Tips for Maximizing your Travel PT Lifestyle Image

    articleSep 29, 2016 | 7 min. read

    5 Tips for Maximizing your Travel PT Lifestyle

    Life as a traveling therapist has numerous perks: the freedom to live in various places across the country, multiple clinic settings to choose from, and of course, higher pay. But the most exciting benefit is the ability to take full control over your career and design the work-life balance you’ve always hoped for. Over the last few years, my wife and I (both therapists) have made it our goal to live in places others only visit on …

  • 7 Tips for Per Diem PTs Image

    articleOct 13, 2017 | 10 min. read

    7 Tips for Per Diem PTs

    I always assumed I’d work a full-time job until the day I retired. I had never even heard of per diem employment, much less considered it as an option for myself. Then, three years into physical therapy practice, I found myself at a crossroads. I had been working two part-time jobs at small outpatient orthopedic clinics, feeling a bit overwhelmed by both, and longing to get back to a hospital environment . A former classmate of mine …

  • 4 Surprising Factors Potential PT Hires Want in a Job Image

    articleApr 25, 2018 | 5 min. read

    4 Surprising Factors Potential PT Hires Want in a Job

    When you’re looking to hire a new physical therapist, you clearly want to find the best one possible: someone who is competent, committed to lifelong learning, conscientious, and caring. During the the search process, you probably pore over average salaries in your area , doing everything you can to ensure you’re providing a competitive payment and benefit package . After all, most PTs want the best possible compensation, right? Well, that’s partially true. With the cost of …

  • How to Attract Top Talent to Your Practice Image

    articleJan 22, 2016 | 2 min. read

    How to Attract Top Talent to Your Practice

    Every practice owner wants to hire the crème de la crème. Here’s how to get quality job candidates knocking on your door. Wouldn’t it be great to get the highest-quality job candidates lining up to work at your practice? Well, with a few tweaks to your strategy, that dream might not be that far from reality. It all has to do with curb appeal—that is, how you present your practice to potential candidates. Most companies offer competitive …

  • 4 Reasons Your Staff Therapists are Unmotivated Image

    articleJun 7, 2018 | 5 min. read

    4 Reasons Your Staff Therapists are Unmotivated

    Treating patients is equal parts challenging and rewarding, which is one of the reasons physical therapy is such a fulfilling profession . But if you’re noticing that your therapists’ motivation is lagging a bit, it’s important to understand why. Here are four reasons why physical therapists’ motivation can decrease, as well as steps you can take to make things better.   Their compensation is based solely on productivity. The Problem Nobody likes being reduced to a billing …

  • Train to Retain: Why Employee Training is the Key to High Retention Rates Image

    articleJan 26, 2016 | 2 min. read

    Train to Retain: Why Employee Training is the Key to High Retention Rates

    New employee training is the foundation for high retention. Here’s how to start newbies off on the right foot. You put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into finding and hiring great employees. So, it makes sense to do your darndest to keep them at your practice for as long as possible. What you might not realize is that the path to high staff retention actually begins at the end of the hiring process (that is, …

  • The Profitable PT: 5 Simple Strategies for Private Practice Success Image

    downloadApr 25, 2019

    The Profitable PT: 5 Simple Strategies for Private Practice Success

    So, you’ve opened your very own private practice—congratulations! Opening a PT practice is no easy feat, and you’ve dedicated long days and sleepless nights to getting your fledgling business off the ground. But the work doesn’t stop once you have a steady stream of patients—and if you want to see your practice not only grow, but also thrive, then it’s time to tend to the roots of your most crucial business processes. We gathered firsthand business advice …

  • The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring Image

    articleJan 25, 2016 | 2 min. read

    The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring

    Does the pressure of filling an open job position have you sweating bullets? Matching a candidate’s skills and abilities to a particular role is no easy feat, but my hiring process strategy can help you shed some of the stress. Physical therapists have a process for just about everything—except hiring. And not having a comprehensive hiring process can be costly for your practice—not only in terms of money, but also with respect to morale. After all, there’s …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.