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How To Get Recruiting Right

How to get recruiting right

The Uh-Oh Moment

The other day we received a call from a marketing agency in crisis. They had conducted focus groups for a client and the end result was disastrous. The participants who showed up were not only the target audience, but several arrived intoxicated and the facility still allowed them to participate. Needless to say, the client was livid and the agency’s executive team was working to salvage the relationship.

As moderators, most of us have been there. Maybe not to this extent, but many of us have walked into a room only to be greeted by respondents who flat out don’t fit the specs or are ‘professional respondents’ able to game the screener. It is embarrassing, frustrating, and the impact it can have on client relations is potentially very damaging. 

Personal experience with less than stellar focus groups and one too many off-target in-home interviews led our company to create a recruiting and research facility to compliment the qualitative consulting arm of the business.  As moderators, we wanted more control over the respondents we were interviewing locally. Our company will never be a national recruiting source – that is not our goal nor our specialty, but we do want to get recruiting right for the clients we serve in our region.

To do this, we’ve gone back to basics. We have a growing database, but we don’t rely on it alone to get the right people. Instead we rely on:

  • Grassroots outreach
  • Hitting the streets
  • Audience appropriate communication
  • Review process of each respondent by at least one moderator on staff
  • Grassroots Outreach

    Prior to each project the entire team brainstorms personal and business connections who may be key in helping find the right people for the project. For example, a recent project required a specific ethnicity and primary language. Our team knew people within the religious community who had experience working with this segment and connected us to people who not only fit the profile but were new to focus group participation, which resulted in deeper insights for the client.

    Hitting the Streets

    Sometimes all the brainstorming and grassroots outreach still doesn’t result in a full recruit. When progress is slow, our team hits the streets. We go to where the respondents live, work, and play to find the people we need. Last month we needed participants from a specific city about an hour away from our headquarters. Our team made the drive and spent the day interviewing people until they found respondents who fit the profile and could participate in the group.

    Audience Appropriate Communication

    All potential respondents must speak with one of our recruiters on the phone or in person to answer screening and articulation questions prior to participation consideration. This helps ensure that each respondent is engaged, conversational, and meets all screening requirements.

    Once screened, our recruiting team ensures that respondents are contacted in the method that is native to them. Typically this means sending text messages to younger respondents, email and/or phone calls to older respondents. Each respondent is asked how they wish to receive information and we make sure to contact them using their preferred approach. We always include a secondary and tertiary communication method to ensure all our bases are covered.

    Recruiter Continuity

    Each respondent is assigned a recruiter. This recruiter is the respondent’s consistent point of contact for the project. By building personal connections with each participant we generally have a 100% show rate for our focus groups. When a cancellation occurs, we typically have enough time to replace that person with another participant.

    Review of Each Respondent by At Least One Moderator on Staff

    Our qualitative consulting research managers have years of experience moderating focus groups, in-home, and one-on-one interviews. Prior to client review, one or more of the research managers will review each respondent to ensure that they meet the screening criteria. In addition, the research manager will review the participant’s articulation question responses and receive recruiter feedback on the potential participant’s phone interaction. Once a participant is approved by our internal research managers, they are sent to the client for final review and acceptance to the research study. 

    Exceeding Client Expectations

    Our recruiting approach has resulted in extremely satisfied clients. For our team, the knowledge of a job well done keeps us on the hunt for the next right respondent. Have a recruiting project coming up? Consider Elevated Insights to meet your recruiting needs.

    Have you had a bad or good experience with recruits for a research study? Comment below!

    Kara Carroll

    Senior Research Manager

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