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Permanent placement staffing services are offered to nurses free of charge by many agencies which collect a placement fee from the employer. Using a firm can be advantageous to the nurse as a good agency will have a lot to offer the candidate. First, nurses can oftentimes find positions through placement agencies which are not advertised or available elsewhere. Secondly, the agency recruiting for the position of interest generally knows what the employer is looking for and can help the candidate hone their presentation on their application as well as preparation for the interview. Remember, the agency has a vested interest in seeing the candidate hired. Additionally, some recruitment firms supply a concierge service for the candidates to help with booking flights, renting cars, and setting up hotels and interview times. As the process draws to a close, most firms will negotiate on behalf of the candidate on deal points such as salary, relocation assistance, temporary housing, bonuses, and other benefits details.

Candidates stand to benefit from the services offered by search firms, regardless of the staffing model. However, it is important to note that direct hire agencies, or search firms, generally operate under one of two models, contingency or retained search. In a retained model, the recruitment process is outsourced to one firm only and the retained firm will openly advertise the position because they have a contract in place with the facility to handle the search. The retained firm is usually paid their fee up front while the contingency firm is only paid when the position is filled. In the contingency model, many recruitment firms may contract with and submit candidates to an employer for consideration. In both models, the search firm works to market qualified candidates and helps to facilitate the hiring process for both sides.

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