5 Insider Tips for Focus Group Recruitment | Qualitative Recruiting Secrets

When recruiting participants for focus groups, there are several factors organizations should pay special attention to. It is always important to keep participants in mind from the beginning stages of recruiting for the qualitative study to the end of the focus group lifecycle.

As a focus group market research company, Drive Research follows a trusted and proven process for finding quality participants and meeting a near-perfect show rate. Our focus group marketing research firm believes the client, participant, and respondent experiences should always be top of mind.

Every market research project has key goals and objectives. The data collected from focus groups can be critical to making business decisions to drive leads and sales forward. However, collecting this valuable information is impossible without a group of qualified and trusted research participants.

In this blog post, Drive Research, a qualitative market research company, reveals our secrets to hosting successful focus groups and meet our clients’ research goals – all while building relationships with participants throughout the recruitment process. 

5 Insider Tips for Focus Group Recruitment | Qualitative Recruiting Secrets

Our qualitative recruiting company reveals the market research industry’s best-kept secrets for finding the most qualified participants for your next focus group.


Secret 1: Keep the Screener Short and Sweet 

When it comes time for recruiting participants for your focus group, our qualitative recruiting company recommends developing a screening survey first. A screener survey can help field qualifying or disqualifying information of a potential participant.

However, like most online surveys, a recruitment screener should be short and straight to the point. Remember the screener is not the time nor place to collect every bit of information that you need to know about the respondent.

When developing an initial focus group screener, it is important to keep the respondent experience top of mind by keeping it short and simple. Make it quick. Make it easy.

A respondent does not want to spend their time completing a long survey to possibly qualify for a focus group. Instead, ask a few, but more carefully thought out questions that cover major qualifying or disqualifying factors.

As a result, you’ll have a higher completion rate and more possible qualified participants to follow-up with. 


Secret 2: Use a Mixed-Mode Approach for Recruitment 

After a decent pool of potential participants has been formed from the online screener, the focus group recruitment team can start calling those who met the major qualifiers in the online screener. 

On these phone calls, the qualitative research recruiters are looking for two key components from the participants.

  1. First, the interviewer will verify that the participant meets any additional qualifying criteria that were not asked in the initial screener.
  2. Second, the interviewer must make sure the respondent is an overall good fit for qualitative research.

Typically, this is done by asking open-ended questions and looking for well thought out and articulate answers. It is easier to make this call over the phone rather than just relying on answers provided online. People have a harder time being dishonest once a relationship has been established.

By picking up the phone and calling potential participants, our qualitative market research company recommends taking this time to share with focus group participants what they can expect for the group discussion and answer any questions.

This also helps with establishing an initial relationship with the focus group participants, which ultimately builds trust, accountability, and a higher show rate on the day of the qualitative research. 


Secret 3: Set the Expectations for the Focus Group Early on

After the confirmation phone call, the participant should be completely aware of everything that is expected of them for the focus group. Participants should know where the focus group facility is located, when they need to arrive, how long the group discussion will last, and other important details.

Don’t spring anything on focus group participants last minute. For example, if there are any tasks that are required to be completed before the focus group, the participant should be made aware of this before they agree to participate, not the day before or the morning of the group discussion. 

Drive Research always sends out a confirmation email following this phone call, so the participant has everything they need to know in writing. If you ask the participant to complete last-minute activities or homework assignments it may lead to mistrust in the process or a feeling the sponsoring organization is unorganized. Neither of which are good for your brand or for the show rate of the focus group.


Secret 4: Provide Focus Group Participants with a Reward

One of the many ways a market research firm can build trust with and create positive experiences for their participants is to pay their participants on the spot and in cash.  

Participants are spending an hour or two of their busy lives to attend your focus group. Sometimes, they are even taking time off work to participate. Paying cash immediately following the focus group concludes shows them that their time and opinions are valuable. 

There is a lot of participant skepticism surrounding the legitimacy of market research studies. Taking a few days to process a participant’s gift card might leave them feeling unappreciated, or even worse, like they just got scammed by your company. 

At the end of the day, if the participants are treated as a top priority throughout the recruitment and research processes, they’ll think highly of your market research firm. These positive perceptions create raving fans, leading to participant referrals, positive five-star Google reviews, and ensures future participation. 

You should offer a reward for your market research. Here's why.


Secret 5: You Might Need to Be Flexible with Quotas

Our qualitative recruitment company understands there are certain quotas that absolutely need to be met. However, after exhausting time and resources, sometimes not being able to meet a specific quota speaks to the general audience or population.

Before conducting research in a specific area, consider the population size and demographic breakdown of that area.

If you’re looking for a niche group of participants, it’s important to realize it may be difficult to recruit exact matches for your quotas. There are some quotas that can be loosened up that might not make a huge difference. Age and income are two quotas that can easily be adjusted and won’t have a huge impact.

For example, if you’re looking for participants within a specific income bracket, but the list of qualified participants is looking short, loosening up the income criteria may help. There isn’t going to be a huge difference from recruiting a person who makes $49,500 a year when you’re looking for participants who make $50,000 or more. 

At the end of the day, our clients come to us with specific research goals and objectives. Together, we create a strategic plan of action to develop an individualized research approach to meet these goals. 


Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in New York. Our team has the knowledge and tools to quickly find quality participants for your focus group study, cost-effectively.

Interested in receiving a proposal or estimate for a qualitative recruitment project? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com 
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Qualitative Recruiting