How to Handle Focus Group Recruiting
(Applies to Depth Interviews Too)

Focus group recruiting finds qualified respondents for qualitative research.

You either recruit yourself, or send the screener to a professional recruiter.

Respondent recruiting is a time-consuming, tedious business.

Use a Professional Recruiter

If you are moderator or marketing researcher, use a professional recruiter. You’ll save yourself time and frustrations. Focus on designing research, writing moderator guides, moderating, analyzing results, and reporting.

Good recruiters get you the people you want to interview. Good recruiters screen out professional respondents. Plus recruiters can handle incentive payments.

Focus group facilities usually provide respondent recruiting services.

Professional moderators believe respondent recruitment is the most important service focus group facilities perform.

Monitor Recruiters Often

Make sure your recruiter clearly understands your screener. After recruiting starts, check your recruiter daily. Ask for respondent profiles. Check for quota progress and deadlines.

If you run into recruiting problems, you want to know right away, so you can fix problems. Common problems include people not meeting your screen. The specifications may be too tight, or there may not be enough respondents. Or the respondents may not be interested in the subject or incentive.

Another problem is professional respondents in consumer marketing research. Tell or warn your recruiter that professional respondents are unacceptable. Professional respondents are people who make a career or part-time job out of attending consumer focus groups. They bias the sample and skew results.

If your study requires respondents to keep diaries before joining the focus group, make sure your recruiter checks respondents’ progress with diaries.

If you recruit yourself, get a list of people. You can buy lists from list brokers. Or you can use your company’s internal lists of customers, prospects, experts, and channel personnel.

Incentives and Focus Group Recruiting

Respondents expect payment for their time. Consumer incentives are typically cash or prizes.

The value of an incentive depends on the people you interview, how much time they spend, and the region of the country.

In business interviews, offering information or reports with some cash entices experts and executives. Offer a summary report or free information in exchange for a depth interview. The information often gets busy executives, experts, and managers to agree to an interview.

Professionals such as doctors, attorneys, dentists, CPAs, and consultants usually want money. They trade their time for money. Sometimes you can get consultants to give you an interview in exchange for referring their name to the sponsor.

Consumer incentives can range from $50 to $125 for a two-hour focus group. Professionals can cost up to several hundred dollars.

Some companies do not allow employees to take incentives for a depth interview. In that case, offer cash to a charity of their choice.

Some large corporations restrict their employees from giving interviews. If you run into this problem, seek approval from senior executives. Some bend the rules. Information or a free report usually interests them.

The best way to find out the current market prices of respondent incentives is to get three bids from professional recruiters.

Incidence and Response Rates in Focus Group Recruiting

Incidence is the percentage of people on recruiter list who qualify for the interview. They are people who would pass the screener.

When incidence is low, response rates are low.

The response rate is the percentage of qualified people who agree to an interview.

So, the quality of the recruitment list is important. A high incidence list is a good list.

Response rates depend on the topic, incentive, and incidence.

The topic of discussion affects response rates. A topic of low interest is a tough sell, whereas a topic of high interest is an easier sell.

Work with Your Recruiter

Work with recruiters daily and oversee their progress, regarding focus group recruiting.

A good recruiter can get the right respondents for focus groups and depth interviews, and save you time and money.

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