In a number of our blogs, we’ve focused on why it’s important to partner with a nationwide market research recruitment agency. Focus Insite has a strong team of recruiters who work their magic every day, and throughout the year, we’ll be turning our spotlight on some of the individuals who make up our teams.
All of our recruiters are shaped by their life experiences and part of what makes our teams so effective is giving them space to connect with study participants.
We are excited to introduce you to one of our project managers and recruiters, Serenity Bohon. Serenity has been a part of the Focus Insite recruiting team since 2020 and her authenticity and love of connecting with people shines through on every project.
It’s not just about finding enough people to fill a study, for Serenity it’s personal. She wants study participants to feel seen and heard, and part of what makes her such a great recruiter is her personal journey as a cancer survivor and author. While market research can sometimes be about the numbers, for Serenity it’s really importantthat each respondent feels like a person who matters for their own unique story and opinions.“We see you, we need you, we appreciate your time. As a recruiting firm, we work for the clients or researchers we serve, but what I really want to be is an advocate for the respondents who are so gracious with their time and energy in a very busy, very noisy world. I want them to enjoy their experience, trust us, and be glad they participated in a unique and rewarding experience.”
Serenity is well aware that the quality of every study comes down to the people that she recruits. One of her favourite recruiting projects was for a motorcycle study. The recruit was challenging because there weren’t any motorcycle riders in the database, so she had to go in search of riders. “I had to go look for them and convince them to participate, which they were willing to do not because of the money but because they loved to ride. That was fun.”
While she appreciates that some people are really eager to participate in a study, being honest when answering screening questions is imperative. Her advice to those wanting to participate in market research is, “Don’t try to guess how the application wants you to respond. Sometimes researchers want to speak to people who aren’t interested in the brand in question. They want people who use it a lot and those who use it a little. Be yourself. You won’t qualify for every study, but sometimes you’ll be exactly what we’re looking for.”
Additional advice that Serenity has for those looking to participate in market research is, “Fill out the survey as honestly as possible. Take advantage of long answer options if you feel you need to explain something further, and answer the phone when we call! Each project has a project manager – their email is listed on the ad/email or invitation to apply. You can reach out to them if you feel like a particular fit for a new study or just want to know if you qualify.”
While recruiting has many rewards, there are also challenges. Serenity finds that screening guides that aren’t well organized or written can make recruiting challenging, or worse, screening guides that ask the same question in lots of different ways. While having redundancy in screening questions can sometimes filter out unqualified participants, there is a balance. “The most challenging thing is when a screener has a lot of questions that ask similar things in different ways… I’m not sure most people know themselves as well as they think they do. Screeners often want to capture a person in a really tight box or a specific moment in time…The respondents end up contradicting themselves in their responses. It becomes difficult for us to know if they qualify, and challenging to segment them correctly.”
While convoluted screening guides may make recruiting more of a challenge, Serenity is undeterred. She has learned many tricks and tips from more seasoned recruiters. Serenity finds that open-ended questions are her best work-around for determining if someone qualifies for a study. “When it comes to rescreening, open-ended questions are the trick. They open a conversation with the respondent and help tell the real story. I’ve also noticed, like anything in life, people are much more responsive to and cooperative with humans than with entities. Whether I’m texting first, emailing, or calling, I really want the person on the other end to know I’m human and actually listening to them.”
Beyond good people skills, Serenity says that recruiters also need to be detail-oriented. Very few studies are as simple as a 50/50 split between male and female in the same age bracket. Qualitative research consultants have a variety of quotas they need met and it’s up to the recruiter to know them by heart and juggle all of them to ensure the final recruit is the perfect mix. Recruiters also need to suss out if a respondent has misrepresented him or herself during the application and screening process. Serenity says, “It’s the recruiter’s job to make sure a respondent really fits.”
Serenity’s compassion, love for people, respect, and her life experiences are partly what makes her a great recruiter and project manager.