4 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Qualitative Research Recruiter

From focus groups to individual interviews and every qualitative technique in between, once you’ve decided that conducting qualitative research is the best option to solve your research problem, choosing a recruiter who will best suit your needs is the next important step. Here are four considerations to help you figure out which supplier might be right for your project.

1. Choose a recruiter who knows the category
Choosing a recruiter requires more than picking up the phone and calling the first company that has access to research participants, and who meets your pricing and sample size requirements. Consider the recruiter’s familiarity with the topic. Do they have past experience with the category that gives them inside knowledge and understanding of what your potential recruitment issues might be? Can they offer guidance on incentive values that would work best in this category? Does the recruiter have the types of employees who would understand how to screen and identify for participants you’re seeking? For instance, some projects might require recruiters who are particularly compassionate in order to work with patients or people who are vulnerable.

2. Choose a recruiter who builds excellent relationships
Hard to reach target groups often have a buffer around themselves. In some cases, the buffer is simply geography or rarity/incidence. In other cases, the buffer is comprised of people like health professionals or administrative assistants who are tasked with ensuring another person’s time is wisely spent. A great recruiter will have built up relationships and friendships with people at a variety of organizations and associations, people who will trust the recruiter not to take advantage of their relationship with the target audience. Not only with these relationships speed up the recruiting process, they can also lead to better data quality as participants will be more likely to feel their privacy is protected within the relationship.

3. Choose a recruiter who knows the target audience
Needless to say, it’s impossible to recruit an excellent sample if the recruiter doesn’t truly and genuinely understand the target audience. The recruiter needs to recognize when some behaviors are often conducted with family or friends, whereas others are often conducted alone. Or, that some behaviours happen only at a department store or at a boutique. Or, that some behaviours need to work around lifestyles. A good recruiter will also understand the different needs of psychographic and demographic groups. For example, taste tests of children’s snacks need to work around school schedules, soccer, and dinner prep, and maybe even help caregivers with babysitters. Or, people who have less education might be more intimidated by professional or official sounding scripts – but then, everyone would benefit from more casual, plain language.

4. Choose a recruiter who knows the appropriate sampling options
Given the multitude of options, from random digital dialing to mall-intercepts and more, choosing how and where to obtain sample can be difficult. Most of all, though, it’s important to be transparent and detailed about the sampling processes so that a client who wishes to replicate the research with a different product or different target group can be assured that any differences in results are due to the product or people, rather than the methodology. This includes noting the days, times, and specific locations where people were recruited, as well as noting any events that could have affected the results. For instance, besides seasonal differences with which researchers and marketers are very familiar, social events (e.g., a march against environmental unfriendly practices), political events (e.g., a heated election), or environmental events (e.g., earthquakes) can change people’s perceptions within a time frame and then not be recalled the next year ruining any chances at replication.

If you’d like to talk about your qualitative recruiting needs, please get in touch with us! We’d love to help you figure out what options might work best for you.

You might like to read these:
Mall intercept research: A quick guide to pros, cons, and the safety of your intellectual property
7 ways to reduce your research costs
What exactly is the IHUT research methodology?


Canadian Viewpoint is an MRIA Gold Seal field and data collection company that specializes in English and French Canada. Our offline and online services include sample, programming, hosting, mall intercepts, pre-recruits, central location recruitment, mystery shopping, site interviews, IHUTs, sensory testing, discussion boards, CATI, facial coding, and other innovative technologies. Learn more about our services on our website. Follow us on Twitter or Linkedin, or sign up for our newsletter!
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