Once you’ve been traveling as a nurse, technician, or other healthcare profession for a while, it’s inevitable that there will be assignments and travel nurse jobs that you won’t be hired for. Here are some reasons (and what you can do about them) why you may have been passed over.
Your resume needs work. Your resume is one of the first (and may be the only) things a hiring manager will see prior to deciding whether you are a good candidate for a position or not. Therefore, it’s crucial that it’s not only up-to-date, but that it’s detailed and easy to read. Check out our post on what you should be including in your travel resume.
You’re competing against 30 other caregivers. You may be an outstanding traveler, but if there are multiple submissions for only a few openings, then there’s a good chance there may someone applying who is a better fit at that time. Don’t despair! Ask your recruiter if he or she knows if the other candidates are being interviewed and how many positions are remaining/available. The response you receive will provide you insight into whether you have a good chance at the remaining positions or if you should keep looking for your next assignment.
You don’t have the right travel nurse experience for the job. Certain travel openings can be very specific. If you only have part of the required experience, the facility may wait for someone who has it all. No EPIC experience? This could be a deal breaker. Is the facility looking for someone with three years of experience in a specific specialty and you only have two? They may hold out for someone else. By gaining as much experience in your specialty as possible, you’re making yourself a hotter commodity. Your recruiter can tell you if you have all the necessary experience so you are not wasting valuable time that can be better utilized looking for an assignment you are completely qualified for.
The unit may not be sure if they actually need you or not. Occasionally a hospital may send out a travel nurse job opening that is ‘soft’. For example, a hospital may have said they needed five Oncology RNs. After a few spots have been filled, they may decide they’re fine with just three, even though they already have your profile. Another example would be a hospital trying to plan for one of their nurses retiring or going away on an extended leave. Events like this can easily be postponed or canceled altogether, meaning there is no need to hire a traveler at that time. Unfortunately, your agency has no control over these circumstances. However, when it does happen your recruiter is your best resource for additional options.
You’re difficult to get in contact with. If a hiring manager has to leave several voicemails for you, they may find better luck with another candidate who they were able to get ahold of right away. The easiest way to ensure this does not happen is to provide your recruiter with your current schedule and/or times you will be available for an interview before your package is submitted. This way it can be included in your package and sent to the hiring manager. If you do miss a call, make sure to always follow the instructions the hiring manage leaves for you to get back in touch with her/him. AND make sure your phone number on your resume is correct and that your voicemail is set up!
You have too many special requests. While some hospitals are flexible with your scheduling needs for specific travel nurse jobs, some really do need a traveler to come in and fill their staffing gaps. If you’ve requested multiple dates off, block scheduling, weekends and holidays off, etc., then bringing you on board might not really help the hospital’s staffing needs at this point. Also, if you are submitted with another traveler who does not have any special requests, the hiring manager may choose to go with the other traveler even if they have less experience. Tip: Try to schedule your vacation time in-between assignments, rather than in the middle of one.
You have a reputation. Bad attitudes, tardiness, and uncompleted assignments are just a few things that will blemish your status as a travle nurse. Many facilities are part of a larger group and will see that you may have previously worked at one of their sister hospitals. If you had problems there, then the managers may relay that information to the next place.
Your skills checklist isn’t accurate. Too often we see travelers filling out their skills checklist modestly, to say the least. If your skills checklist scores below a 3, you should have a discussion with your recruiter concerning why your score is reflected this way. If it’s due to a certain skill set, your recruiter may be able to relay that to the facility in a positive manner so they don’t automatically move on to the next candidate for the posted travel nurse job. Remember, skills checklist are very broad and incorporate skills not all facilities need, so always rely on your recruiter’s insight if you have questions about your skills checklist.
Final thought. You and your recruiter need to work as a team. You know your skills and experiences better than anyone and your recruiter knows what is required for a position you may be interested in. Constant communication between you and recruiter is key to successfully matching you to open positions.