ideal candidate

Tips for Being the Ideal Candidate

So you’ve decided to explore the world of travel nursing and getting close to the start of this incredible journey.  Of course, there are many different ways you can go about making this career choice a reality, but more than likely you will need to work with a staffing company to make it happen.  Staffing companies help you explore multiple regions, positions, and possibilities all while doing most of the job search work for you.  Let me be clear though; as a prospective candidate you will still need to do some of the work yourself.  With that in mind, there are certain steps you can take to help the staffing company and recruiter effectively find you a travel position.  To be the ideal candidate, keep these tips in mind:

Set Your Priorities.    

Before you get too far into your dreams of travel and the hyper-specifics of one position over another, a healthy dose of introspection would be recommended by any recruiter.  Knowing your top priorities and motivations for pursuing travel nursing will often make it easier when setting goals for your search and making a final decision.  Quite often you may come up with a list of factors for potential jobs like: location, unit, type of facility, shift, time-off requests, or pay.  These factors are great to help you evaluate positions or offers, but how you prioritize them is the key.  Which are the most important things to you, your career, and your travel experience?  Pretty often you may only get the ideal outcome in several of those factors, so knowing which are the most important can be a headache saver down the road.

Be Flexible.    

Now that you know what your biggest priorities are for travel, you need to be flexible with them.  Like I mentioned before, you may be picking an assignment that meets 3 of your 5 factors and that is okay.  At the end of the day, you will have to be working not only for those pesky bills, but also to keep your skills up.  Being flexible enough to not pass up good jobs as you wait for a dream job that may not be out there is important.  Furthermore, once you start traveling you will be in new and exciting environments where being open and flexible can only help you succeed, grow, and form great relationships with the staff.  Be flexible and open to these new possibilities so you can truly make the most of your experience!


They say that communication is a two-way street and that also applies to working with a staffing company.  Any recruiter should be excited to communicate with you and will be looking to help you out in your search, but it is hard for them to help if they can’t reach you.  Given the crazy schedules of health professionals, especially traveling ones, recruiters are understanding that you may not always be available to talk, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get back in touch when you can.  Many parts of the travel job search process are very time-sensitive, and a breakdown in communication can sink potential wins for you as the candidate.  Make sure that you are holding up your end of the communication street, even if that means a tough conversation.  If you need to let a recruiter know that you have found a position or are no longer interested, do it!  They will appreciate the heads up, and more importantly they won’t be blowing up your phone.  Also, make sure you are cleaning out your voicemail!


When we speak about staffing companies and recruiters, it is important to understand what their motivations are.  Sure, they are motivated to help hospitals find qualified employees, but they also want to help you find a great position and reach your goals.  These professionals often have the perspective of looking at the health industry as a whole and are bringing invaluable insight into the search.  They should be able to better direct your inquiry and also bring it into the realm of reality with what the market is indicating.  Their consultation and advice shouldn’t be the only factor in your search, but it should be a factor – especially given that it is often backed up by a level of experience.  So yes, be sure they are listening to you and your concerns, but be sure to listen to theirs as well.

Follow Through.    

To truly make the most of your search, you should be bringing a level of follow through to your commitments.  Nothing bothers a recruiter or slows a job search like ghosting or flaking on responsibilities.  If you as a candidate say you are going to complete a form, send a document in, or accept a position, it is your credibility on the line to make sure you do that.  At the end of the day, you are only as good as your word.  Keep in mind, if you are slow to follow through, don’t be surprised if it is a slower process on the other end as there will be new feelings of apprehension in an industry with commitments and contracts at its heart.  Also, there’s only so much a company or recruiter can do.  If you don’t follow through, you may miss out on a position.

As you begin your travel career, relationships will become even more vital.  This extends not only to your coworkers, but also the staffing company you work with.  These tips can help you become one of the more desirable candidates for any staffing professional and can really lead to more career options and possibilities.  Travel nursing is an exciting career path, and one that you can play a large part of your own success in.  Best of luck!

Max Dayton is a Student Outreach Coordinator for the Student Outreach team at Aureus Medical Group.


  1. Paul-you can click on the “Find Jobs” box on the right or you can click on our logo at the top of this page to be taken to our home page. We have a job search box there as well.

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