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:

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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.

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