Many travel nurses express understandable frustration with travel nursing Job Boards. In this article, we review all the most common complaints. More importantly, we discuss everything you need to know about how travel nursing job boards work so you can navigate your job search like a pro!
The Most Common Complaints about Travel Nursing Job Boards
Here are some of the most common complaints that travel nurses have with job boards.
Stale Travel Nursing Jobs
Travel nurses routinely respond to job advertisements for jobs that are no longer open. Sometimes, the “Posted Date” on the jobs is so old that it’s obvious the jobs are outdated. Other times, travelers complete the entire application process only to find out the job is closed.
Find your next travel healthcare job on BluePipes!
Other times, this problem leads applicants to believe that agencies are using bait-and-switch advertising tactics. These bait-and-switch tactics are actually very rare.
The Travel Nursing Job Closed Too Soon
Instead, it’s more common that the hospital filled the job before the agency could submit the traveler’s paperwork. Travel nursing jobs fill very fast. You can read more about that here.
Travel Nursing Jobs Lack Important Information
Travel nursing job postings often lack pertinent information necessary for candidates to decide if they want to apply. For example, the shift, start date or duration might be missing. In recent years, pay has also become somewhat of a requirement that is often missing on job postings.
Travel Nursing Job Search is Terrible
Meanwhile, the search experience on most job boards is really bad. For example, you might search for ICU RN and the job board returns PICU, NICU, and CVICU jobs.
Many Agencies with Bad or No Job Board
Moreover, many agencies have job boards that offer poor user experience. For example, they aren’t optimized for mobile devices or they’re slow and buggy. Finally, many agencies don’t even have their own job boards.
Why Travel Nursing Jobs are so Difficult to Manage
So, why do all these problems exist? It starts with the simple fact that it’s extremely difficult for agencies to organize and manage all their job openings. Here are the reasons why.
First, agencies often have access to hundreds or thousands of jobs. For example, TRS Healthcare currently has over 7,000 jobs posted on BluePipes.
Additionally, the jobs fill quickly. That means there is a lot of turnover. For example, a company with 5,000 jobs, might see 1,000 jobs close and 1,000 new jobs open each week.
The original Universal Job Application and Credential Management for travelers.
Moreover, agencies receive their jobs from many different sources. They come from many different Vendor Managements Systems or from the hospitals directly.
As a result, the jobs come in many different formats. For example, all the different VMS’s have different formats. Meanwhile, some hospitals may send their job orders in Excel Spreadsheets or even just plain old emails.
Finally, all of the data is different. For example, one system might call a shift “7a-7p” and another might call it “12-hour days”. Even worse, some systems allow hospitals to enter anything they want. Therefore, the shift might even be something like “715 – 815, days, some weekends, occasional nights”.
The high number of jobs and turnover rate make it unrealistic and cost-prohibitive for agencies to use humans to centralize and manage all of their job data.
Meanwhile, dispersion and nonuniform data make it very difficult for anyone to develop software that can centralize and manage all this job data. However, that’s exactly what agencies need in order to deliver what their customers want.
Travel Nursing Job Data Management Software
As a result, many agencies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing their own software to handle this herculean task. Additionally, several companies provide software solutions that agencies may purchase to manage their job data. The company we recommend is JobRobotix.
Here is a very basic description of how these software systems work. The software systems extract the job data from the source, normalize the job data so it’s all uniform, store the data in a database and continuously work to keep all the job data up to date.
Normalizing the data is perhaps the most challenging part of the process. Again, each job-source might have a different name for the same thing. The software must recognize all the possible variations of an item and then switch it to the agency’s variation of that item.
For example, if the agency calls a shift “12 hour days”, then the software must recognize all possible variations of 12 hour days. That includes things “7a-7p” or “7a-730p” or “8a-8p” or “12 hr d”.
Moreover, for the travel healthcare industry, the software must extract specific datapoints from the job data. This is because the software needs to store certain data points in their own data fields.
For example, the shift needs to go in the “shift” data field and the Specialty needs to go in the “Specialty” data field. This way, the data becomes easier to search, sort and extract.
Free eBook: How To Negotiate Travel Nursing Pay
You see, once the data is in the database, it needs to get back out of the database and onto a job board where candidates can view and apply to jobs.
How Job Boards Import Travel Nursing Job Data
There are many ways that agencies can make their job data available for job boards to import. Let’s take a quick look at the two most common ways.
XML and JSON Job Feeds for Travel Nursing Job Boards
XML and JSON Job Feeds are the most common mechanisms for job boards to access an agency’s job data. XML and JSON are both data formatting standards. Both are comprised of data “objects”. Each “object” is comprised of key/value pairings. The key/value pairings provide information about the object.
This might sound complicated, but it’s really quite simple. Here is an example of an XML data object:
In the example above, everything inside
The “keys” are the text inside the signs. So, jobID, startDate, shift, etc. are all keys. The values are between the opening and closing keys. So, 123 is the value for the jobID key.
Now, imagine a document with thousands of these job data objects in it. We might call it jobs.xml.
To create “jobs.xml”, the agency’s software accesses the database where all the job data is stored and creates jobs.xml using the data contained in the database. Then, the software makes the XML file available for the job board to download.
Typically, that’s done with an “http get” URL. That might sound complicated, but it’s really simple. Here is an http get URL for an XML file with job data in it: https:blog.bluepipes.com/sample-jobs.xml
Finally, a job board’s software can visit this URL and download the XML file to import the jobs into the job board’s database.
APIs for Travel Nursing Job Data
APIs are the second most common mechanism for job boards to access an agency’s job data. API stands for “Application Programming Interface”. Simply put, APIs allow software systems to communicate with each other.
Essentially, the job board receives access credentials from the agency, like a username and password, to access the agency’s job data. The job board can then import all the data into the job board’s database.
Software To Import Travel Nursing Jobs
Now that we know how agencies typically make their job data available for importing, we can take a quick look at how job boards actually import the data.
Own your own skills checklists on BluePipes.
Essentially, the job board fetches the job data from the agency and compares the data to its preexisting data for the same agency. In the process, the job board creates new jobs, updates existing jobs and removes closed jobs.
In order for this to work, the job board’s software needs to comprehend the data it receives. Unfortunately, there are no established standards for job board data. Therefore, every agency’s data is a little different.
For example, if the agency’s job data calls it “jobID” and the job board calls it “referenceNumber”, then the job board needs to know that “jobID” = “referenceNumber”. Typically, job boards handle this by “mapping”.
A “mapping” feature allows the job board to match items in the agency’s job data to the same items by a different name in the job board’s data. On BluePipes, we map all kinds of things including licenses, specialties, shifts and more. We’ll discuss the importance of mapping while we review the different types of travel nursing job boards next.
The Different Types of Travel Nursing Job Boards
There are several genres of job board. Each of them operates a little differently. We’ll provide a brief synopsis of each so you know what to look for.
Agency Job Boards
Most agencies have their own job boards. While there is certainly value for travel nurses to apply to jobs directly with agency job boards, there are two fundamental problems.
First, an agency’s job board includes only jobs from the agency itself. Unfortunately, no single agency has access to all the jobs. Therefore, you can spend a lot more time searching for the jobs you want.
Second, agency job boards often have a lackluster user experience, to put it gently. For example, they might require you to complete the entire job application, have a clunky interface or not be mobile friendly.
In any case, there are two common types of agency job boards.
Third Party Travel Nursing ATS Job Boards
Many agencies purchase Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) from third parties. ATSs help agencies with all kinds of things including recruiting, human resources, billing, sales, credentialing and more.
Some of the most common third party ATSs in the travel healthcare industry are BullHorn, Healthcare Source, BlueSky and Labor Edge. ATSs almost always offer options related to job boards.
Discover why travel nurses are calling us their “secret weapon”.
For example, ATSs often provide the job board itself. This means that the job board is actually on the ATS’s website and not the agency’s website.
In this case, you’ll see that the domain name for the agency’s job board is different than the agency’s domain name. For example, the agency’s domain name might be www.abcstaffing.com. Their job-board’s domain name might be https://leap.laboredge.com/agencyjobboard/abcstffing.
Self-Hosted Agency Job Board
Many agencies have a job board on their own website. In some cases, the agency’s third-party ATS provides a feature that allows an agency to easily add the jobs in the ATS to the agency’s own site. In other cases, the agency may have their own custom-built ATS that feeds the jobs to the agency’s website.
In this case, you’ll see that the domain name for the agency’s job board is the same as the agency’s domain name. For example, the agency’s domain name might be www.abcstaffing.com. Their job board’s domain name might be www.abcstaffing.com/jobs.
General Job Boards
Agencies commonly publish their jobs on third-party general job boards. These are job boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster, CareerBuilder and many others.
We use the term “general” to describe these job boards because they publish jobs from all industries. There are several common problems with these job boards for travel nurses. Here they are.
General Job Boards have Terrible Search Functionality
First, general job boards almost always have horrible search functionality. For example, if you search for – ICU Travel Nurse Jobs Los Angeles, CA – on a general job board, then it will most certainly return ICU, Neuro ICU, PICU, NICU, CVICU, PACU and many other jobs that don’t even remotely match what you’re looking for. Even Google is guilty of this. Moreover, you will have a very difficult time searching for jobs by shift, agency, start date and other important variables.
Two issues cause this problem. First, general job boards fail to account for the travel nursing industry’s unique data points. Typically, general job boards only account for the following items:
- Job Title
- Job ID
- Date posted
As a result, agencies must cram key search terms like licenses and specialties in the job title and hope for the best. Of course, agencies can also provide terms in the job description. However, even the general job boards admit that their search features rely largely on the title.
Second, some general job boards purposely push irrelevant jobs to the top of the search results. Why would they do this? For money, of course.
You see, most general job boards have a “pay-per-click” pricing model. That means that they charge the job’s publisher each time someone clicks to apply for the job. Moreover, they have a bidding system. Therefore, the companies that bid the most receive a boost in the search results.
This means that travel nurses must often spend hours sifting through the manure to find the kernel of corn.
Data harvesting is another problem that travel nurses will experience on general job boards. As we define it, data harvesting is when a job board tricks you into thinking you’re applying for the job but you actually aren’t.
Why would they do such a thing? To get your data. Hence the term, “data harvesting”.
A typical scenario goes like this. You search for travel nursing jobs on Google. From Google, you click to apply for a job on some general job board. You land on a page that looks like a job posting. It even has an Apply button.
Create your free Travel Healthcare Resume on BluePipes!
You click apply and the job board pops up a screen asking for your basic contact information like name, email and phone. You won’t see it, but in tiny, muted print, there is a link that says “skip this step”. So, you enter all your information and submit the form.
At that point, they direct you to the actual job posting on the site where you can actually apply. They scammed you out of your data. They will sell that data to anyone willing to pay for it.
Many general job boards engage in “PPC Arbitrage”. This is when job boards pay one price to get a click to their own website in order to charge more for a click away from their website. Here is how it works.
The agency publishes their jobs with a programmatic job advertising service like Appcast and bids $0.50 per click. In case you’re not familiar, these are services that help employers advertise their jobs on multiple job boards.
The advertiser publishes the agency’s jobs on several job boards. Those job boards then publish their jobs on yet other job boards where they bid $0.30 per click. And so on…
The result is that you click to apply for a job on one site, get transferred to another where you have to click Apply again, only to get transferred to another website, and so on. Of course, they’ll all probably try to harvest your data along the way. It’s an absolutely horrifying experience!
Higher Chances of Outdated Jobs
Many general job boards limit the number of jobs that employers can post. That’s because these general job boards charge per job posting.
Therefore, employers must constantly keep the jobs updated manually. This is an extremely time-consuming process. As a result, many employers fall behind.
Niche Travel Nursing Job Boards
The good news is that niche job boards like BluePipes are here to provide travel healthcare professionals with a much better experience. We’re able to provide tools and services that meet the unique needs of this industry.
For example, BluePipes has an extremely powerful job-feed processor. The processor automatically imports our partners’ jobs 6 times per day. As a result, the jobs are as fresh as possible.
Moreover, our job feed processor extracts the most important details for healthcare professionals including shifts, start dates and more. In fact, we are capable of importing over 30 data points for each job.
We have a highly robust set of mapping tools so that all the data is uniform and simple to navigate. As a result, we provide a far superior search experience.
We can also publish pay quotes in a way that meets the industry’s needs. We can accept quotes directly from a company’s feed. Or, we can run calculations estimate pay based on data that the company provides in their feed.
We do not engage in any pay-per-click advertising on our website. Therefore, every job you see on our job board was published directly by the employer.
Finally, we provide an amazingly simple application process. We do not require a resume. The process is mobile friendly and require minimal typing to submit an application.
We hope this information provides you with a better understanding of the job marketplace for the travel healthcare industry. We hope you find your dream job as conveniently as possible!
The post How Travel Nursing Job Boards Work And Why It Matters appeared first on BluePipes Blog.