What is a Recruitment Screener in Market Research?

A recruitment screener is a document, survey, or call script used to qualify participants for qualitative market research such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, in-home usage tests, and more.

Market research companies and their clients create parameters or quotas for the qualitative research sessions, meaning the types of participants they would like to attend.

Designing a recruitment screener is a necessary step as it saves time and money when recruiting qualified participants for qualitative research.

Learn more about how recruitment screeners are used, best practices for creating a recruitment screener, and an example of a recruitment screener below.

What is a Recruitment Screener in Market Research?

Why are Recruitment Screeners Used in Market Research?

Recruitment screeners are often used to qualify participants to ensure:

  • They fit the appropriate target profile for the qualitative research (including age, gender, behaviors, purchasing habits, etc.)
  • They do not work in market research, advertising, or any other relevant industry, which may bias responses in a focus group.
  • They have not participated in a focus group or IDI in the past six months, year, or a timeframe deemed appropriate by your team.
  • They do not have any condition that would limit their ability to read or write.

For example, let's say Coca-Cola wants to conduct market research to understand why some customers choose their product versus a competitive product like Pepsi.

The marketing team at Coca-Cola decide it would be best to hold one Coca-Cola loyalist group and one Pepsi loyalist group. 

Specific questions would be asked in the recruitment screener to ensure both groups fit the targeted age range, both purchased only one brand of soda over the past year, and both always buy either Coke or Pepsi.

These would be questions included in your recruitment screener.

Example of a Recruitment Screener in Market Research

Below is an example of a recruitment screener in market research. It begins with an overview and then details the full recruitment screener. 

Example Qualitative Research Overview

  • Number of interviews to schedule: [insert]
  • Quotas: [insert]
  • Mix of genders
  • Mix of ages 
  • Mix of geographies
  • Mix of race and ethnicities 
  • Method: Zoom interview
  • Length: Interviews will last [insert] minutes
  • Recordings: Digitally recorded

Example Recruitment Screener Survey

1. Online discussions via Zoom are beginning the week of [insert]. Each interview will last [insert] minutes. If you participate, you will be sent [insert] as a thank you for your time and feedback.  Are you interested in participating? Select one.

  1. Yes
  2. No [Disqualify]

2. Please enter the following information so we can contact you if you qualify to participate. Each interview will last [insert] minutes. If you participate, you will be sent [insert] as a thank you for your time and feedback. Enter your responses below.

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email 
  • Phone Number

3. Do you or does someone in your household work in any of the following industries? Select one.

  1. [Insert related industries] [Disqualify]
  2. Market research [Disqualify]
  3. Marketing, advertising, or PR [Disqualify]
  4. None of the above

4. What state do you primarily live in? Select one from the dropdown menu. 

List of U.S. states 


5. Which of the following age groups best describes you? Select one.

  1. Born in or before 1945 
  2. Born 1946 to 1964 
  3. Born 1965 to 1980 
  4. Born 1981 to 1996 
  5. Born 1997 to 2003 
  6. Born in or after 2004 [Disqualify]

6. Which of the following do you most identify with? Select one.

  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Transgender female
  4. Transgender male
  5. Non-binary
  6. Other
  7. Prefer not to answer

7. Which of the following best applies to you? Select all that apply.

  1. American Indian or Alaska Native
  2. Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander
  3. Black or African-American
  4. Hispanic or Latino
  5. White
  6. Other

8. Which of the following best describes your total annual household income? Select one. 

  1. Less than $15,000
  2. $15,000 to $24,999
  3. $25,000 to $34,999
  4. $35,000 to $49,999
  5. $50,000 to $74,999
  6. $75,000 to $99,999
  7. $100,000 to $149,999
  8. $150,000 to $199,999
  9. $200,000 to $249,999
  10. $250,000 or more
  11. Prefer not to answer [Disqualify]

9. In a few sentences, what is your all-time favorite movie or TV show, and why? Please explain in a sentence or two what you like about it.  

Best Practices When Creating a Recruitment Screener

Before beginning recruitment for a qualitative research project, there are a few factors to consider. 

Length of the screener.

Remember the screener should be short and easy to complete.

Our qualitative recruiting company also recommends starting the survey by collecting contact information towards the beginning of the survey.

This is helpful because screening criteria/disqualifiers may be relaxed depending on the recruitment process.


There should be an appealing and easy-to-send incentive as a thank you for participating in the qualitative research. Consider online gift cards!

Learn more about why you should offer a reward for your market research.

Create a rescreening call script.

Secondary re-screening and scheduling phone calls should be placed after someone qualifies for the qualitative research.

This process confirms details about the project, critical qualifying criteria, and when the qualitative research will occur.

Send a confirmation email calendar invite, reminder phone call, and reminder text.

After a participant is re-screened, it is important to send a confirmation email and calendar invite as promptly as possible. Additionally. it’s helpful to require the receipt of the confirmation email.

Teams should also plan to place a reminder call 24 hours before the scheduled qualitative research and a reminder text the morning of the research.

For more qualitative recruiting best practices, watch this short video.

Contact Drive Research for Your Next Recruitment Project

Drive Research is a national market research company specializing in quantitative and qualitative recruiting. Our team of certified professionals works with brands across the country on survey design, fieldwork, recruiting, moderating, reporting, and more. 

To learn more about our services, contact Drive Research today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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Qualitative Recruiting