• Home
  • Blog
  • Blog

Out of Hours (OOH) cover for a healthcare recruitment agency plays a vital role not only in booking shifts but providing better services to both the client and candidates. A service aimed towards urgent care and manage last-minute cancellations/bookings.

Traditionally, the service is managed in one of the following ways.

  • Skeletal service: A team member carrying the Laptop / Mobile home and managing the cover. Serves the primary purpose, while still not serving the whole objective
  • Answering service: Just an answering service with no reactive approach. The action only happens when the recruitment agency opens the next day
  • Fully outsourced: Fully functional dedicated out of hours delivering 100% towards the objective of providing this cover for the clients and candidates. A service like this is managed by an offshore recruitment company

Let us talk about the potential challenges to look out for when outsourcing the out of hours service with an offshore recruitment company.


Recruiters want full ownership for their candidates and would not want anyone else to contact or manage those candidates. To be fair to the Recruiters, compliant and workable candidates with availability are currency, and a big part of the commission comes from placing those candidates. Given this situation, many healthcare recruiters refrain from updating availability on the system and sharing it with the out of hours team.

The biggest fear being these candidates will be placed by another recruiter in which case they would not get the credit and will have to find an alternate candidate that they can place into other locum jobs.

Implementing a simple process addresses a challenge like this. The ownership of the candidate does not change when the out of hours team places the candidate. The Recruiter does get the commission, and a percentage of commission is shared with the out of hours Recruiter/Team that placed the candidate into respective locum job.

The objective is to ensure that candidate availability is shared. You’d rather have your team, i.e. Recruiter or the out of hours team placing the candidate against losing it to the competition costing both the candidate and the margin. Both the offshore recruitment company and the healthcare recruitment agency can devise a mutually beneficial plan to address this situation.


Taking a cue from the point mentioned above, conflicts arising due to someone else booking a candidate (nurse/doctor) is real. Be it onshore or offshore; Recruiters get on the war front as soon as any other Recruiter books their candidate on the team without their approval.

Who owns the candidate and who gets the credit for the booking? This is a question leading to booking conflicts.

Also, this is one of the significant reasons for recruiters to not sharing the availability. Candidate ownership and accountability must be clearly outlined and explained to both the teams, i.e. Recruiters covering the regular business hours and the out of hours team.

What works is a commission structure where both the parties are rewarded, of course, the candidate owner takes a more significant percentage, but a split commission structure avoids conflicts and saves not an only hassle but also valuable management time.

The commission percentage shared with the offshore recruitment company is still much lower compared to the onshore Recruiter.


Recruiters covering the out of hours will know the impact of an incomplete handover, the most critical part of the out of hours process. You get this wrong, and you are bound to have issues that evening/night.

Sharing untimely and incomplete handover is one of the biggest gripes of the teams covering the out of hours process. Some of the many reasons for a situation like this are, lack of a structured process, Recruiters forgetting to update the details (not their priority), overworked during their shift booking candidates and lastly not having an expeditor coordinating between the teams.

Sharing the handover on time, i.e. thirty minutes before the shift ends/starts and sharing accurate information, both core and non-core. These aspects determine the quality of work delivered within the out of hours.

Core Information:

  • List of available candidates
  • Candidates that are to be placed for shifts
  • Cancellations to be managed
  • Any candidate queries that need to be addressed to the Ward Manager or Site Manager E.g.
    • Accommodation queries
    • Reporting instructions

Non-Core Yet Critical Information:

  • Candidates to be contacted for compliance
  • Chasing availability of candidates that are not contactable during regular business hours
  • Follow-up / Service calls to Ward/Site Managers for last-minute shifts to fill

Handover sheet factoring all the relevant information should be in place. Recruiters across the team fill it before time, i.e. the shift ends and an expeditor or a Team Leader reviews it before sending out to the out of hours team. A process like this ensures all the core critical information is covered. Out of Hours team are now armed with all the required information and achieve the business objective.


This is one of those situations where Recruiters end up booking the same candidate for different shifts but covering the same hours. What follows is either cancelling one of the bookings AND/OR backfilling it by finding a new candidate that is ready to work that shift.

There are two primary reasons for double-bookings:

  1. Not updating the bookings on the applicant tracking system (ATS)
  2. Recruiters book it twice without noticing they have already booked the candidate, i.e. human error

A simple process tweak by ensuring all the bookings go on the ATS resolves this issue. However, human error can only be controlled and managed by having a step by a step review process that ensures every bit of information is checked before making the booking.


How many times have you had to deal with an upset client and an unhappy candidate just because the Recruiter forgot to update the client about a candidate not covering the shift or the shift cancellation not communicated with the candidate?

Well, the root cause is one of the below reasons.

  • Untimely, inaccurate, and incomplete handover
  • Availability not shared
  • Shift cancellation information not updated on the ATS alerting the OOH team
  • Human error, i.e. Recruiter forgot to communicate

Handover documentation and process supersedes every other aspect before launching the out of hours implementation.

Booking candidates into respective shifts depends on the availability details shared, and the same goes for cancellations that are to be communicated to the candidates.

Out of hours can be managed effectively, unlike every other process. Ensuring all the process guidelines, stakeholders, and details are in place before implementing the process play a vital role in a successful transition.

Several other factors, such as multiple staff covering the shifts, rota, holiday cover, etc. must be taken into consideration when forming a team. Relying on alone member covering the required hours brings many challenges.

Are you looking for more information on the out of hours cover? Let’s connect!

Leave A Comment

41 + = 47