How to Recruit for Market Research | Our 4-Step Guide

Many market research projects, particularly for qualitative research, involve recruiting. Recruiting for market research involves seeking individuals with specific characteristics to participate in a study.

An in-home usage test (IHUT) is a good example of a type of study that uses market research recruiting. Oftentimes, organizations look for individuals in specific markets who are likely to use its product. Learn more about how an IHUT project works.

Before the IHUT can begin, a market research company recruits individuals to participate in the study. Similar to IHUT market research projects (also called HUTs or simply home usage tests), this recruiting process is also used for focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other qualitative research methods.

Below is an overview of how to recruit for market research using our 4-step guide.

Check out the 4 steps for a successful market research recruit below!

Step 1: Create a screener survey

A screener survey is one of the most popular methods of recruiting for market research. The goal of the screener is to create an efficient way to gather information for potential participants. This helps the market research recruiting company identify those who are qualified to participate in the study.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a screener survey.

Tip #1: Keep the survey short and easy to read. Typically, screener surveys range from 10 to 15 questions. If the survey is too long or difficult to understand, respondents will be less likely to complete it. The goal is to encourage respondents to complete the survey and to ultimately fully participate in the market research.

Tip #2: Put disqualifying questions at the beginning of the survey. Since the answers to these questions may cause the respondent to be disqualified from the market research, it's important to ask these questions first.

Tip #3: Keep the demographic questions at the end of the survey, unless its disqualifying criteria or specific questions for quotas. For example, if you only want people aged 34 or older to participate, ask age towards the beginning and keep other demographic questions (i.e., income, gender, etc.) at the end of the survey.

Tip #4: If the respondent qualifies for the study, explain what is involved with the project, next steps, and collect all contact information needed. Also, if the participant will receive a confirmation call or email, it's important to let them know. Be sure each participant clearly understands the expectations for next steps.

Step 2: Keep the qualifying criteria broad (if possible)

When recruiting for market research projects like focus groups, in-depth interviews, and IHUTs, it's important to keep qualifying criteria broad, if possible. Market research recruiting becomes more expensive and a more lengthy process when qualifying criteria becomes too specific.

This cannot be emphasized enough especially for qualitative market research recruiting. Qualitative research is meant to be subjective, not measurable. Basing an entire marketing campaign off of what 2 or 3 people said in a focus group is not recommended.

Instead of delaying a project searching for people with specific characteristics, determine which characteristics are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves. Giving the market research recruiting company flexibility makes the recruit faster and less expensive.

Step 3: Distribute the screener survey and begin the recruit

This step is where the market research recruit begins. The screener survey should be distributed according to the sampling plan. Oftentimes, the sampling plan includes targeting those who match specific characteristics through targeted ads on social media or a research panel. We highly recommend starting with a soft-launch before a full-launch.

Here are the benefits to a soft-launch in market research.

Step 4: Follow up with qualified recruits

Following up with qualified recruits is one of the most important steps in the market research recruiting process. Our market research company specializes in recruiting and has several standards put into place to ensure those who qualify for the study are contacted, re-screened to ensure they qualify for the study, and committed to fully participating.

Obtaining commitment from an online survey is often not enough to guarantee participation. Extra steps and follow-up is required such as confirmation emails, re-screening calls, and even reminder texts.

Need help recruiting for your next market research project?

Drive Research is a market research company that specializes in recruiting. Our capabilities include setting up and structuring the recruit, managing the recruit, managing participants, moderating focus groups and in-depth interviews, and the analysis and reporting from the market research study.

Have questions for our team? We have answers!

Call us at 315-303-2040, email us at, or message us through our website.

Qualitative Recruiting