Q: How do I maintain relationships with recruiters that didn't land me my current travel job? Did I burn a bridge with them by taking a job?
A: I have been recruiting for just over 6 years now. Losing the "battle" of helping a traveler find an awesome assignment certainly can sting a little. But, in no way should it deter a good recruiter from wanting to help you on the next assignment. In fact, you'll likely find out which ones are the best fit by who will continue to help you.
That said, I have found maintaining a good working relationship boils down to one thing: communication. Do not ghost your recruiters, no matter how unpleasant you think the conversation will be. Truthfully, there is no greater sign of respect than to simply keep a recruiter in the loop on everything.
The first thing you want to do is to let your recruiter(s) know you have accepted a job with someone else. Thank them for the time and say you will keep in touch.
From that point, give us updates on your plans. This gives us a feeling that we are on level ground with any other companies and you respect our time.
Another important component is simply responding to us. We certainly don't expect immediate responses to calls or text messages every single time we reach out. However, taking a second during lunch or after work to chat goes a long way!
It's also very important to let your recruiter(s) know when you are being submitted to different jobs. You'll want to do this for a few reason. You certainly want to avoid being double submitted and ruining your chances of getting the job. You also should try to get multiple offers to compare, so that you get the best one possible. It's simply not great to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Finally, just be real. If you don't intend to prioritize a recruiter, let them know. It will save them a lot time and save you a lot of phone calls/text messages.