Are you overwhelmed by the sheer volume of respondents who seek you out to take part in your research – for free? Me, neither. Respondent recruiting exists as a field for the sole reason that respondents really do require recruiting and those within the field work to discover the perfect recipe of creativity, technology, tenacity and incentives to find the right respondents. At Murray Hill National, we’ve spent over 20 years perfecting our own recipe and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. 

What are some of the main issues or factors currently affecting recruiting?

A persistent factor that will always affect respondent recruiting is obtaining correct sample. If researchers don’t ensure that respondents are fully vetted before being presented to the client, we risk jeopardizing both the project at hand and the working relationship with the client. Every database is home to a pool of respondents whose presence naturally skews the data – repeat respondents, cheaters, professional respondents. 

Understanding the weaknesses of your recruitment process and taking steps to remedy them can help ensure a reliable sample while reinforcing your company’s reputation as a dependable recruiter. Solving these issues all comes down to honing your process – awareness of persistent factors will enable you to constantly check quality and catch issues when they arise.

Are you seeing or worried about high refusal rates?

Refusal rates typically vary depending on the type of study and the targeted audience. Recruiters have to dig deep and get creative when drafting invitations to a panel – don’t underestimate the value of a thoughtful approach. Generic invitations won’t necessarily be successful when your audience itself is not generic, so it’s best to narrow in on the specific types of groups that you are trying to reach well before sending out invitations or calling. 

Additionally, ensuring that the individuals you are reaching are actually within your target audience is critical. Initial refusal rates can be dramatically reduced by contacting the correct audience and making the topic and assignment as detailed, informative and interesting as possible.

What has been the impact of the rise of mobile phones on recruiting?

The proliferation of mobile phone usage has been an enormous opportunity, although it comes with its own set of unique challenges. Nearly everyone has a mobile phone, meaning nearly everyone carries with them an access point. This fact alone makes this method easier than others in recruiting respondents. However, recruiting via mobile phones has similar challenges to other forms of recruiting – the need for TCPA compliance being at the forefront. We now need to ensure that potential respondents have opted in to being contacted first, which adds an extra step to the recruitment process.

We’ve also found that people are much more likely to change phone numbers (and much more quickly) than they were when landlines were the main method of telephony. Recruiters should also keep in mind that some respondents may have differing views of an offer’s legitimacy when they are contacted by text message as opposed to a traditional phone call. Despite the extra considerations involved when contacting respondents via mobile, this method has been an incredibly valuable avenue for recruitment.

How has technology helped in the recruiting of respondents?

Technology has had a massive and pervasive effect on respondent recruiting. As mentioned above, the widespread adoption of personal tech like mobile phones means that we can reach a wide array of respondents. E-mail, also, has brought about a huge improvement in recruiting because of its widespread adoption. Additionally, recruiting via e-mail means that we can send a pre-qualification survey to accurately execute an initial sort of potential respondents. These surveys let us ensure that our respondents legitimately meet our qualifications and also allow the respondents to let us know if they are interested in the study. Technology has revolutionized the way recruiters can connect with potential respondents – in more ways than can be adequately covered by this article. Ultimately, though, technology offers increased efficiency and accuracy to an endeavor that thrives from both.

Have you noticed any trends regarding incentives? Do they have to be higher these days? Do respondents expect them?

Respondents definitely do expect incentives. The form and amount of the incentive vary depending on time, methodology and the type of respondents one is trying to recruit. For example, incentives offered to consumers will look very different from what is offered to B2B respondents, executives and health care providers. Incentives truly act as compensation for time and data and when recruiting respondents whose time and data are very valuable to them, companies will need to offer a bigger payout.

Respondent recruiting is a process that will always be under some form of growth or change – the shifting landscape of technology, data and our relationship to them ensures this. Some aspects of recruitment remain static, however, even as methods change. The best recruiters will always be professional, well-spoken and tenacious. Consistent creativity along with tech and social media savvy will help recruiters stay on top of a field that experiences some inconsistency and change. At Murray Hill National, we adhere to those values and look forward to the ways in which our field will grow in 2020.

Murray Hill National is one of the leading data collection and recruiting companies in the U.S. We’re committed to providing cost-effective, top-notch and on-time market research services through a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We are centered in the heart of Dallas but our recruiting spans the nation, providing clients with a diverse and robust respondent database for a multitude of industries such as B2B, technology, health care and consumer projects.

Susan Owens is president and owner, Murray Hill National