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What are all the stages of the high-quality selection of participants?

Why is recruiting respondents such a time-consuming process or what all stages are composed of?

The era of marketing research has arrived quite a long time ago, and it seems that everyone already understands the power of accurate consumer data. Most often, we are asked to recruit respondents because “all companies have a website or a mobile application” and the customer wants to test this site for the level of usability. And they almost never turn to the issue of calculating options for monetizing a site or application/product, although this is what will allow for high-quality recruiting or research, thereby increasing profits by 70% in the long term. https://www.marketologi.ru/publikatsii/stati/4176/ The first part of the analysis of the budget for recruiting respondents consists of calculating the costs and benefits expressed in rubles, which will allow you to analyze what the cost of recruiting respondents consists of, what is really worth paying for, and where you can save.

For example, let's take a website for a medium or small business B2B company, without complex online services. To recruit respondents who will be real/potential customers of this company you need to carry out the following work:


1. Get to know in detail information about the company, its products and competitors. A team of five people studies the specifics of the company, the target audience of the client in order to formulate the tasks and ways of presenting information to the respondents when recruiting. Next, we should comprehend the key advantages of the company as a whole, so that when screening respondents, we can ask questions related to why the respondent contacts this company and hear an answer that will be close to the real situation. Thus, it will be possible to assign an expert to a specific target audience and understand how suitable he is and whether he really has experience of interacting with this company or its competitor.

2. Form a screening structure based on the client's requirements for respondents. For this, an entry-exit point is drawn up when communicating with the respondent, the respondents' answers to questions about the product are analyzed, taking into account such subtle points as non-verbal speech, intonation and speech confidence.

3. Study the product itself as a research topic. In addition, analyze the competitive environment of the product, its specificity and distinctive properties.

4. Control the collection of data, and this is: analysis of the screening of respondents, listening to recordings of conversations with respondents, screening out inappropriate participants, assessing communication with the respondent, checking a potential participant against the database.

5. Collect evidence of the respondent's consumption of the products on the research topic.


6. Send the address to the respondent, control the attendance of the respondent for the survey, control the participation the day before the survey, three hours before the survey, if necessary, arrange for finding a quick replacement for the non-arriving participant.

7. So, we have a list of participants for research. We send this list to the client, but the list may change since respondents may refuse to participate in the study at the last moment and we are forced to look for a quality replacement, which usually takes a lot of time because about 30% of the participants are replaced during one project. The client can always contact the participants on his own before the start of the study, communicate with them about his product, draw some conclusions and, possibly, ask someone to cancel if the person does not meet the criteria of the technical specification in the opinion of the customer. We, in turn, always make efforts to select respondents who will meet the requirements of the research customer by 99 percent, since we are directly interested in the successful implementation of the project, regardless of its scale or budget, as well as the popularity of the brand itself, here an important component is so-called reputation work.

The list of participants for each day of the survey, along with the screening questions, looks 90% exactly as it will later appear in front of the client, so it is much easier for us to calculate weaknesses or potential improvements.

8. In the course of the research, adjustments to the research by the client are possible. We take this into account and include it in the cost of the recruit, so the client can afford to partially change the schedule, the address of the study, or some of the non-basic criteria, and we will adapt, in turn, to these needs.

9. If there is a prompt replacement of a participant, for example, due to refusal to participate on the day of the study, we try to find a replacement as quickly as possible. Our head of the recruiting department, who has been working in the company from the very beginning of its foundation, listens to the recording of the conversation with a potential participant, assesses in all respects how the respondent meets the client's requirements, and also assesses whether the employee has completed all the points of recruiting respondents. The company has its own algorithm for recruiting respondents, which includes 32 points, from starting work on a project to finishing work on it and finally clarifying with the client whether the project can be considered closed and whether everything went well. And, if the entire procedure satisfies the above conditions, in turn, informs the staff recruiter if the replacement is accepted. Thus, we receive feedback from the client at the output, which helps us to improve the interaction.

Recruiting can be compared to building a house: first, the general layout and drawings (design), then the photo of the interiors, then the real construction begins - the frame and technical communications (backend), followed by wallpaper, furniture and a fireplace in the living room (frontend). The frame in this case is the target audience, which is selected for research, and if the frame is not strong, the house will quickly crack.

10. At the end of the project, we receive feedback from the client, make notes and take into account the client's requests for the future, if there are any, thus we collect information for further even more successful cooperation.

11. After the respondent participates in the research, the payment of remuneration is organized based on the results of participation in the research. This is perceived by the respondent as a reward for the time spent since in most cases the research takes place on weekdays and the respondent must take half a day off to participate in the survey. We understand that the time spent should be compensated, and the person should remain motivated to participate in other projects. Such a concept as contributing to the development of a product by expressing one's opinion is often insufficient for our mentality, we wrote about this in previous articles, see the article "What is the difference between the Russian mentality and the European one when selecting respondents."

12. And now, the final stage. The recruiting department, represented by a full-time recruiter, replenishes the base of research participants, adding there those respondents who participated in the survey. After that, comments on each client, his recommendations and experience of cooperation with him are added to the list of clients in the section "recruitment algorithm". This makes it possible for the next project to take into account all the wishes and nuances as much as possible and invite this respondent again after 6 months if he meets the research criteria.

Let's consider some more questions on the analysis of recruiting costs in stages.

Recruitment stage. It is unlikely that it will be possible to do without studying the specifics of the company or developing a screener, but it is possible to delete from the scope of work that the head of the recruiting department listens to each recording of a conversation. True, sooner or later it will be necessary to do this work anyway, since in this case, the number of participants who do not meet the criteria may increase. Taking these points into account when recruiting is usually cheaper than recruiting later.

Screening stage.

We will not seriously discuss the option of using the respondent's non-verbal assessment during communication. You don't have to do this. But then all the shortcomings will need to be corrected at the stages of recruitment and the turnout of respondents for research, and an hour of work of the head of the recruiting department is more expensive than a full-time recruiter.

The stage of the survey.

Someone will still have to collect the research participants. It is possible, to hire specialists in this area at a lower cost, or to put the same person in charge of recruiting and screening and conducting interviews. However, in both cases, this will significantly increase the operating time. An unskilled person will do work longer even with simple tasks and with something more cunning he may not cope at all. And even if there is one specialist or freelancer for all trades, he will not be able to simultaneously do work in different directions as two specialists do. Also, freelancers usually have several projects and your project for him will be one of several. His goal is to complete the project as quickly as possible and there is no guarantee that the work will be done with high quality.

The second stage of screening respondents and confirming the honesty of the respondent about the actual consumption of the product.

Here you can save on training a specialist in this area. His main responsibility is to assess how correct the supporting documents are and whether the submitted photos of the respondents are not just Photoshop. Then one of the colleagues has to sit down and figure it out on his own, and then try to execute the project efficiently, without calling for a survey of people whose profession is to constantly participate in all kinds of research. The savings will be minimal, and it will be more expensive to redo the recruit. In addition, it is unlikely that most companies have a person who can drop their responsibilities for a while and engage professionally in all the above stages.

Recruiting respondents is a laborious process, each stage takes about several hours of active work, and the entire project takes 2-3 working days.


You can always find a rational solution. But there are patterns proven over the years that rarely fail.

For example, the more difficult the target audience is when recruiting, the more dire the consequences of saving are. For example, you can sell products on a one-page landing page, but this will not work with medical services or, say, boiler equipment. And, almost always, the more you save on recruiting respondents the longer, more expensive and tedious it will be to promote the product, and the more likely it will be phased out.

The average cost for recruiting experts for personal interviews ranges from 7,000RUB to 20,000RUB.

The average cost of recruiting ordinary consumers of goods of the everyday demand for face-to-face interviews ranges from 2,000RUB to 10,000RUB.

The average cost for premium respondents for personal interviews ranges from 10,000RUB to 25,000RUB.


The cost is always calculated individually for each project, taking into account the client's requirements.

Here are the prices taking into account the qualitative selection of respondents, the cost for the search of participants is included, the conduct of a two-level screening of respondents, verification of the data provided, control of the attendance of respondents to the study, interaction with the respondent at all stages of the study, prompt replacement of a participant if necessary, organization of remuneration to respondents based on the results research. As a result, you get high-quality data with which you can work and introduce a new product to the market or improve user experience, increase brand loyalty, and take a leading position in the market of goods and services.

Three "cases":

Selection of simple respondents for B2C in-depth interviews in an amount of (40 people), the average cost of such a project is estimated at 90,000 rubles, this cost will include the recruitment of respondents, two-level screening of participants, control of respondents for research, prompt replacement of a respondent if necessary, organization payment of remuneration to respondents based on the results of work.

Selection of hard-to-reach respondents for B2C (20 people).

Selection of experts for B2B (10 people), paying special attention to the difficulties and mistakes that customers may face if they make the selection on their own.

Justification of the cost of selection.

The cost is always calculated individually for each project, taking into account the client's requirements.

Here are the prices taking into account the quality selection of respondents, the cost for the search for participants is included, the two-level screening of respondents, verification of the data provided, control of the attendance of respondents to the study, interaction with the respondent at all stages of the study, prompt replacement of a participant if necessary, organization of payment of remuneration to respondents based on the results of the research. As a result, you get high-quality data with which you can work and introduce a new product to the market or improve user experience, increase brand loyalty, and take a leading position in the market of goods and services.

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