How Registration Calls With Locum Agencies Work
So you’ve narrowed down your shortlist of locum agencies, and you’ve booked in your registration call with one or more of them. But what is the call actually for and what does it cover? This can be a bit daunting, but it's an important conversation to get right.
With that in mind, in this article we’ll discuss the way to make the most of this call and give you some top tips to ensure you're well prepared to start your journey as a locum doctor.
Why do agencies do it?
The aim of the call for the agency is as follows:
👉 To gather registration information about you. For example, your professional background and experience, and what kind of work you’ll be looking for.
👉 To pitch themselves to you. This will involve explaining how they work, what kind of relationships they have with the Trusts in the areas you’re looking in, and what kind of work they may have for you.
👉 To explain the process of working as a locum doctor. They’ll discuss how you get compliant, how they’ll find you work, and how you get paid, amongst other things.
Why should you do it?
It’s a great, no obligation, no commitment way for you to find out more about the agency and the roles they might be able to offer you, and allows you to gather more information before deciding whether to move forward with them.
These calls are completely non-committal. That means there's zero obligation to proceed with registration if you decide against it. The agency is not allowed to keep your personal details on file or contact you again if you tell them that you don’t want them to, so don't feel pressured to agree to anything.
What will they ask?
The first part of the call is used for information gathering on their part. They’ll ask you a lot of questions about yourself and what you’re looking for. This will usually include things like:
❓ What stage of training you’re at, and your previous experience or rotations
❓ How long you’re planning to locum for
❓ How many hours you’re looking for, and whether you’re happy with doing unsociable hours
❓ Whether you’re looking for ad hoc shifts or a long-term position
❓ Which specialties you’re looking for, and at which level of seniority
❓ Which region(s) you want to work in, and how far you’re willing to travel
Once they’ve got all the information they need, they’ll likely talk a bit about how they would work with you, whether they tend to get the kind of work that you’re looking for, and the next steps for getting compliant with them (if you choose to move forward).
What should you ask?
You can use this as an opportunity to ask them any questions you have about the whole process of locuming, so anything you’re unsure about can be clarified. It's wise to prepare a list of questions in advance so you can gain as much value as possible from the time spent talking to them.
It’s also worth using this as a chance to get further information about their capabilities as an agency. Some of the things you might want to ask are:
❔ Which geographical regions do they tend to cover?
❔ Which Trusts do they get the most work from?
❔ Do they tend to get more long-term positions or ad hoc shifts from the Trusts they work with?
❔ Are there currently shifts available in the specialty and region you’re interested in?
❔ How do you find out about available shifts from them? For example, is there a daily or weekly email update they send out?
❔ Will the person you’re talking to become your dedicated recruiter, or would it be someone else?
❔ How do the shift bookings and pay work?
You may also use the opportunity to ask for tips from them on what the Trusts look for in a locum doctor, and how you can best market yourself to be booked for shifts over other people. For example, you can ask them for tips on what to include in your CV to stand out.
Our Top Tips
1. Prepare in advance by having a clear idea of what kind of work you’re looking for.
2. Use the opportunity to ask questions and gather information about them as an agency.
3. Take what they say with a pinch of salt. Try to do your own digging, or use Messly’s service to check they can provide the work that they say they can.
4. Feel free to say no, and to ask them to take your contact details off their system if you don’t want to proceed. You can either do this immediately, or take some time to think about it. If you don’t do this they'll assume you want to go ahead and will start hounding you about getting compliant!
This article is part of a wider series, supporting doctors like yourself with a comprehensive set of guides to ensure your F3 year is a success. These guides cover everything from initial planning, options for moving abroad, help with finding work, and tips for making the most of the experience. Click here to visit our F3 Resource Hub to explore the full list of guides and articles.
Find locum work on your terms
The best locum agencies together in one place, competing to find you the best locum shifts. Managed for free through your Messly account.