5 Mistakes to Avoid When Recruiting Focus Groups

Some focus group recruits can be more challenging than others. Finding and convincing participants to take time out of their evening to travel to a group is no easy task. It has to be worth it for them and the qualitative recruitment company has to convey confidence and organization throughout the process. Constant reminders and confirmations help too.

Once you have the participant recruited, your work has just begun. Plan on sending a confirmation email, placing a reminder phone call, and sending a reminder text to ensure they show up on their allotted date and time.

Thinking about conducting an upcoming focus group? Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when recruiting for qualitative research and focus groups in particular.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Recruiting Focus Groups

Focus groups are a form of qualitative market research where a group of people are gathered and a facilitator moderates a discussion.

Mistake 1: Creating a Long Screener

Keeping the respondent point-of-view top-of-mind is crucial here. Participants are willing to help, offer feedback, and take a survey if it is short and engaging. No one wants to take a 20 minute phone call, answer a 50 question online survey, or participate in another form of over-bearing questionnaire. Prioritize your must-ask questions and save those nice-to-ask questions for the group itself. Your first goal is to actually find and secure participants. If your screener is too long or boring, you'll shoot yourself in the foot from a recruitment standpoint.

Mistake 2: Creating Difficult Quotas

Searching for left-handed, blue-eyed, 18 to 20 year-old CEOs who are married, surf, and also garden on a daily basis? Keep searching. It's important to create quotas so the recruit can reflect your target population and you have a balance of key demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) but don't go overboard. Too many quotas create expectations that may not be reachable and sets your project up for failure.

Ask a few of the key quota questions and be flexible with demographics and you'll always ensure your groups are fully recruited. Remember it is qualitative research, not quantitative. The idea is to explore, not measure. Save your statistical reliability and audience breakdowns for your next survey.

Mistake 3: Hosting a Daytime Group for B2C Participants

Again, view your focus groups from the perspective of the respondent. Are they willing to participate in a focus group for 2-hours and earn $150? Likely. Are they willing to do this at 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m.? Probably not.

With the vast majority of the general population having a 9 to 5 job, asking the boss to take the morning or afternoon off could prove difficult. This creates another barrier and makes your focus groups that much more difficult to recruit for. Try to plan your groups around the respondents' schedules: groups beginning at 5:30 p.m. or later. You don't want to work late, but you have to make sacrifices when it comes to qualitative recruitment.

10:00 a.m. might work best for you but what if your focus group is empty?

Mistake 4: Not Paying Rewards On-Site

Sensing a theme here? Respondent perspective. It's paramount in market research. Without people willing to participate and share their time, our industry would not exist. A simple tip here is paying the rewards at the time of the group. After the group concludes participants should be paid their $75, $100, or $250.

Delaying this payment creates skepticism and dissatisfaction. Once a few days or a week passes participants begin to think if they will ever receive a reward. This does not reflect well on the focus group recruitment company or the facility. Pay these immediately.

Mistake 5: Not Allowing Enough Time for Recruiting

Qualitative recruiting takes time, particularly if you have some difficult quotas or niche participants you want to reach. As the old saying goes "Rome was not built in a day" and neither is a good focus group recruit. A qualitative recruit takes time, refining, communication with a client, adjustments, and hard work.

Forcing this to be done in a short amount of time (days or a week) creates issues. You'll either have to accept less than optimal participants or bend on your recruitment criteria to fill your groups. Choose that or accept the fact you might only have mini-groups of 4 or 5 people instead of 10 to 12.

Contact Our Focus Group Recruitment Company

Drive Research works with brands and companies across the country to recruit for qualitative market research projects and focus groups. Our qualitative recruiting firm can manage any type of B2B or B2C recruit. Our ability to digitally target audiences online allows our recruit to be cost-effective, timely, and of high quality.

Interested in receiving a quote or proposal for your recruit?

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Qualitative Recruiting