Your recruiter will be your main contact person of the agency of your choosing. It is very important that you establish a good relationship with him or her. If you always have to call them and never receive a response, feel free to ask for a different recruiter.
Besides providing them with your location preference and start date, you should have a list of questions to ask them.
- What type of lodging would I be provided with?
For short-term assignments (less than 6 months), locum tenens providers are typically placed in extended stay hotels. Some sites may provide their own form of housing such as company owned houses or apartments. Unfortunately, some agencies will try to make the most out of the budget and place you in motels. I highly suggest avoiding these agencies or negotiating for better lodging. For long-term assignments (more than 6 months), apartments or condo’s are possible because of the longer commitment.
- How will I get to my assignment?
Agencies tend to prefer that you fly to your site and they will provide you with a rental car. If the site is not too far from your current location, they will allow you to drive and take your own car. You can negotiate what your preference is when the time comes. If you drive your own car they reimburse you 56 cents per mile. So driving from Miami to Los Angeles would be 2750 miles, and I would be reimbursed $1540 each way. Some people prefer to drive if they have pets, a significant other, or plenty of items to bring.
- What is the pay rate for family nurse practitioners? (or your respected specialty)
Most often your recruiter will deflect this question to you, trying to find out what is your minimum hourly rate. Try to ask them for an expected range of payment so they do not low ball you. For example, let’s say they asked you what your minimum hourly rate is, and you said $50/h. If you had asked for a typical hourly range, they may have said $45-60. Yet, now they know you will easily accept anything paying $50/h and they will not offer you more. Keep in mind that the agency needs a profit for themselves.
- How does the licensing process work?
By asking this question you first get a response about them being able to cover your new license cost or not. I know it is expected that they will, but there are cases where they will not cover the cost. Also, you want to find out if you are expected to pay for the costs and will be reimbursed in the future, or if they will pay upfront for the licensing fees. Sometimes you have the option to choose. If you pay the costs of the license yourself, the agency will commonly reimburse you after 30 days of working with them. If the agency pays for the licensing fees up front, they will occasionally have you sign an agreement preventing you from using that license with any other agency for up to 1 year.