Qualitative market research still relies heavily on such tried-and-true methodologies as focus groups and in-depth interviews. This, in turn, requires finding qualified participants who can take part in the focus group or in-depth interview. It is no secret that recruiting for market research studies is time-consuming and tedious, which is why many qualitative research consultants rely on market research recruitment agencies.
Working with a Market Research Recruiting Firm
If you are a marketing researcher or moderator, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration by using a professional recruiter. If you work with a nationwide recruitment agency, you’ll have more time to focus on research design, writing moderator or discussion guides, moderating the focus groups or interviews, analyzing results, and reporting on the results.
Good recruiters get you the people you need, and are experienced in screening out the ‘professional respondents.’ Additionally, recruiters can manage the incentive payments owed to participants, another big time-saver.
Many nationwide recruitment agencies will have on-site facilities to host focus groups, although many recruitment firms keep their overhead costs down by not paying for such facilities and instead have relationships with facilities that can host focus groups. Some qualitative research consultants prefer that ‘observers’ not be present behind one-way glass, as they feel it changes the dynamics and the quality of answers given by focus group participants.
Many professional moderators feel that participant recruitment is the singular most important service to outsource to market research recruiting firms.
Challenges that Recruiters Encounter
It’s important that the recruiter clearly understands your screener so s/he can find the best-qualified participants. Once recruiting starts, check in with your recruiter daily; ask for respondent profiles to ensure they are aligned with the screening; and, check for quota progress.
Depending on the subject matter of the research project, recruiting can be challenging. Healthcare studies, or studies involving cyber-security can be difficult to find qualified participants, which is why you want to be in regular communication with your recruiter. If there are recruiting problems, you’ll want to know right away, so problems can be fixed. Outside of challenging subject matters, other common problems with regards to recruitment include people not meeting your screen. Perhaps the specifications may be too tight, or there may not be enough participants. Sometimes it can also be that the incentive is not well matched with the type of participant you’re requiring. If your study needs input from CEOs or executives then you need to make sure your incentives are higher or of more appeal.
Some studies require participants to keep diaries before joining the focus group or in-depth interview, if this is a requirement of the study you’re designing, be sure that your recruiter knows to check participants’ progress with diaries.
Recruiting for market research is its own specialty, which is why it’s best to outsource this function to the professional firms that make market research recruitment their area of expertise.