Nurses are in high demand across all health care settings right now, and health care recruiters are an excellent resource to help nurses find the best job. With excess strain on resources from the pandemic and nurses leaving the profession from retirement or burn out, many organizations are anxious to fill empty positions. A health care recruiter can be the link that connects qualified nurses with the right opportunity.

Theresa Mazzaro, RN, CHCR, RACR, and senior talent acquisition specialist with Johns Hopkins Healthcare LLC,  is president of the National Association for Health Care Recruitment and says health care recruiters have the experience to know what nursing qualifications and attributes will work best for specific organizations and their job opportunities.

Because of the tight job market, health care recruiters tend to reach out to nurses right now, rather than being sought out by nurses. Whether a nurse is contacted by or is reaching out to a recruiter, Mazzaro offers some suggestions to make the experience better and raise the chances of nurses finding just the right role.

Mazzaro says a health care recruiter will talk with job candidates to find out how their skills will fill the organization’s needs, and they also want to know what a nurse is looking for in a job. They are the first step in the hiring process, and so are an excellent resource for nurses to find out if things like pay and benefits or shift opportunities will meet their expectations. She even invites nurses to join a LinkedIn group specifically for job-seeking nurses.

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Apply If You Have the Needed Skills

“If you see a job you want to do, apply for it if you’re qualified,” she says. But if the job description says you need five years of experience and you’re a new nurse, don’t send in a resume. “Read the job posting and be respectful of what’s written,” she says. If you write a cover letter, make sure you have the proper organization and names in the letter. Mazzaro says she’s received letters in which a competitor organization was listed. That lack of attention to detail will immediately disqualify you.

Give All the Details

Make sure your resume is up-to-date, says Mazzaro. If you provide all the necessary and accurate details it will save time in the hiring process. Some organizations calculate pay based on years of experience, so if you’ve been a nurse for 30 years, say so. Be clear and specific about what type of unit you work on. List your specific accomplishments and describe the types of patients you work with.

Understand the Job

If you are moving from one nursing responsibility to another, have an understanding of what the job means for you. Knowing the job’s typical duties is essential so you know how your skills will help you succeed and how you’ll help the organization. But also understand other details such as if you are moving from a night shift to a day shift, the pay rate might change. And if you’re moving from a staff nurse to an administrative role, you’ll be expected to have different hours and benefits. If you’re coming off a travel contract in particular, being realistic about the salary you’ll make as a staff nurse is essential, says Mazzaro.

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Be Honest with the Recruiter

“Do some research and talk with the recruiter,” says Mazzaro. “The time to talk about salary and benefits is with the recruiter and not when you’re interviewing with the hiring manager.” And also be open about your needs. Do you want a traditional schedule or do you really need three 12-hour shifts to accommodate your life? How far are you willing to commute? And Mazzaro says she always asks nurses why they are looking for a new job. “I want to find out what’s important to them,” she says.

A health care recruiter is an excellent resource for nurses who want a new job. Because nurses are in such demand, you might hear from one about opportunities you didn’t know were available. For the best results, be honest about your needs and wants in a job. With the right information, a health care recruiter can place you in a new role that will advance your career and benefit the organization you’re joining.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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