I have had several readers ask me questions about the time frame of searching for an assignment. How soon should we start searching? When should we begin getting worried if we haven’t yet found an assignment?

Sites generally are looking for someone to start as soon as possible. Therefore, I recommend beginning your search process 1-2 months before your ideal start date (if you already have the state license). It may take several weeks for something to become available that meets your criteria. As I have mentioned before, I always recommend working with more than one agency so you can increase your chances of finding the right assignment.

If you are 1 month away from your ideal start date, I recommend expanding your focus. This may mean being open-minded about the location; anywhere in the state vs just one city as an option. Or this may mean being open about the time frame; consider a longer time frame than the typical 3 months. You should also start consulting with other agencies you haven’t connected with yet.

Once you find an assignment you do like, the interview process can range from same-day interviews to 2 weeks. Then the site sometimes needs a second interview, or several days to make a decision (if they have other interviews or need to have a staff meeting about budget etc.).

Always inquire about the credentialing time frame. Each site is different and credentialing may vary from 1 day to 3 months. So if you are 1 month outside of your ideal start date, and the sites credentialing can take up to 2 months, you may want to consider other options.

Definitely, do not wait until the last-minute to find a position unless you are open to anything and anywhere. Sometimes recruiters will tell you that credentialing is quick, so in your mind you think you can start right away. I would definitely factor in about 2 weeks for credentialing for the majority of assignments. I would factor in 1-2 weeks for interviews and 2-4 weeks for the searching process. This is why I recommend searching about 2 months before your ideal start date.

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