Multiple Recruiters? Multiple Agencies? Is It Okay?

A common question I've been getting lately is whether or not it's okay to work with more than one recruiter to maximize your opportunity, especially if you're new to getting in to travel social work.  Honestly, there's no right or wrong.

Recruiters I've spoken to actually expect that when you're getting into the game, you're likely going to be working with more than one agency; however, they do kinda operate with a code of conduct within the same agency - the no poaching unwritten code.  A few years ago, a recruiter from my current agency reached out to me about a job (I don't honestly remember applying to them, but must have).  I responded to the email about being available for work shortly, as I was coming to the end of a long assignment and it was definitely during a time of the year known for its lulls in placement.  A few days later, my current recruiter emailed me and explained that they understood that Recruiter X had reached out to me, but they had established contact with me prior and as a result, I would be managed by them.  I was willing to go with it because anyone willing to fight to get me on their team is someone that is going to work for more in the future.  I've stuck with them ever since.

However, when I first started out in travel, I applied to one company's site for a job and I was approached by a recruiter from another company about the same job.  I now understand that when you apply for any clinical medical social work job (clinical vs revenue - the difference between social work and case management, not licensure type) within an AMN company, all AMN companies can try to scoop you up as they share a job and employee/candidate database.  So I responded to that recruiter.  But she took 4 days to answer the question I had.  In that time, a recruiter with the original AMN company I applied with emailed me and answered every question I had.  Guess which recruiter got my business?

For me, the recruiter/social worker relationship is what I value the most.  This means that I generally don't work with multiple people across multiple companies.  But that's my personal choice.  I like to invest in my recruiter - I get to know them, I know about their kids, their hobbies, they text me from vacations, with pictures of their babies, they send care packages; I send holiday cards, birthday cards, I text pictures of my adventures.  I find that when I invest in people, they return that investment.

I also know plenty of people who work with multiple recruiters across different agencies whenever they want a new job.  It works for them, which is great!  Let's say you want to go to Tennessee, but you've never seen a posting for TN with your current agency - and then all of the sudden, someone reaches out to you that they have a job in Chattanooga.  If that's your thing, then go for it!  Diversifying your opportunity to see the country is a great reason to work with multiple agencies.

The downside of working with so many agencies:

  • Pay structure - it's going to be different everywhere you go.
  • Onboarding - every new company you start with has an onboarding process.
    • This will likely include filling out a lot of paperwork, getting your identity verified again, signing agreements, applications, etc.
  • Unless you've got great relationships with all of your recruiters, you might not be their top priority.  Agency B has no idea when you're ending with Agency F; so you have to be on top of getting them back on board and helping you find your next job
  • If you spend too much time away from one agency and return, you have to onboard all over again.
I like easy.  I'm all about not stressing myself out and enjoying what's out there to be experienced.  That's why I say this is a personal choice.  I don't want to onboard and do a ton of paperwork every time I need a new gig.  I love forming relationships and getting to know people.

This is also why I tell everyone:  if your current recruiter isn't cutting it with you, it's time to move along.  While I think investing in people is important, we have to ensure that the ones we're investing in are worth it.  If someone isn't giving you answers in a timely fashion, or they're coming across as rude or condescending, it's time to go.  You deserve more than to help someone earn an income off of you who doesn't care about you.

So at the end of the day, if you can manage working with multiple recruiters and agencies, it doesn't cause you stress, and you feel it's the right decision for you - GO FOR IT!!!  If you don't work well that way, it's too stressful, or you just don't vibe with the idea, then stick with one person.  Trust me, if someone is guilting you for leaving them or diversifying your opportunity, they were never the right recruiter for you.

Happy Adventuring, friends!


  1. Hi there, do you mind sharing which agency you're currently with...(or were with at the time the is was written). Sounds like a good agency to look into. I'd definitely like to.

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