Editor’s note: Angela McCue is senior manager of field operations at Applied Marketing Science, Waltham, Mass. 

As researchers, we face many challenges, from framing our hypotheses and crafting the right questions to data analysis and storytelling. But recruiting is often overlooked. Finding the right respondents can make or break the success of any study. Recruiting niche audiences or B2B groups can be especially challenging. Many choose to outsource this phase of the research. However, that doesn’t mean you should step away completely and let the recruiters handle it all on their own. Here are four ways that you can help ensure the success of your recruit.

1. Invest time in making sure you’re speaking with the right people.

As a research client, you know your target audience best. While a screener should be well thought out to ensure you reach exactly who you are looking for, this can be hard, especially when you are looking to speak with a new audience or learn about one you have less experience with. For example, maybe you don’t have the right terms or titles to find the right respondents. When this happens, be honest with your internal team and the fieldwork partners and inform them that there will be a pilot period. This period could last a week or two and helps to overcome the learning curve. The first few interviews may not be with the exact people you need and that’s OK because you’re learning about who isn’t the right fit for your study and how to narrow in on who is. 

Be sure to include the pilot period in your budget. If you need to speed up this process, speak to as many people as possible internally, especially those who may have expertise with the group you are looking for or work directly with them. Let them review the screener and provide feedback on the language used and the questions asked that will deem a respondent qualified or not for the research.

2. Be avai...