Qualitative recruiting is truly the heart and soul of a research project. The recruits – and their accuracy in terms of a company’s designated target customer – can make or break a study. In contrast to quantitative surveys, where we attempt to cover broad swaths of a market to find statistical correlations, in qualitative research, we’re looking for specific trends, ideas, perceptions, and opinions from a select group of consumers.
Qualitative recruiting goes hand-in-hand with a company’s segmentation strategy, where their marketing teams segment customers by type, and then do outreach and messaging per each specific segment. To make segmentation more accurate, we seek to segment our research audiences, which allows us to draw specific insights based on the consumer profile we’re seeking information from.
So you can see how the precision and accuracy of the qualitative recruiting starts to become so important.
In fact, a project can hinge on whether the recruits meet the target profile, match characteristics of a company’s audience, and, just as important, are willing and able to brainstorm, be articulate, and contribute their ideas and opinions to the investigative research process.
Qualitative recruiting: B2B audiences
In B2B qualitative recruiting, we’re seeking candidates in niche industries, with certain job titles and roles, and who can provide insight into how their product works, what the industry snapshot looks like, and how roles are interrelated. At InterQ, we pride ourselves on being able to find extremely hard recruits: In previous studies, we’ve found people ranging from C-suite hospital executives to cybersecurity professionals. We interview our candidates through a mix of focus groups, in-depth interviews, and with supplementary surveys.
Our recruiting process with B2B professionals is unique: Instead of relying solely on databases with candidates who apply, we use personalized outreach and networking to find candidates who meet the exact job role and profile we’re looking for.
Qualitative recruiting: B2C audiences
B2C audiences, historically, are easier to find. B2C qualitative recruiting is determined by a company’s consumer audience segmentation. For example, a company may be targeting women who are trying to get pregnant or Millennials who use social media apps at least 3x a day. Specificity is important here with consumers; in addition to the “ideal consumer type,” companies also like to get opinions from those who are outside of their target audience – either to see how they might make the product/service more appealing to new audiences, or to understand how the branding/product will be perceived by non-consumer targets.
Similarly to B2B qualitative recruiting, for B2C audiences we use a custom-outreach methodology to ensure that we’re finding exactly the right mix.
Before you hire a market agency, ensure they have solid qualitative recruiting
As you go along your search for market research agencies, spend time asking for case studies and specific examples about their qualitative recruiting methodologies and sample pools. If an agency solely relies on databases of volunteers, better to move on and keep looking; volunteer participants can have an inherent bias of being a personality type that seeks to inform brands. While this can be helpful, it may also slant the research. Remember: The quality of participants in a qualitative research study is one of the most important factors in research, so make sure you do your due diligence when interviewing and vetting firms.