Participant Recruitment: What Not to Do

Participant Recruitment: What Not to Do

In collaboration with Jasmin Joseph.

         Recruitment, whether it be internal or external, is a necessary part of the research process. Part of being able to carry out an effective UX research study is being able to recruit participants who are right for the study, as well as making sure to recruit enough of them. There are several articles (including our own) that provide various different tips and tricks in order to try to help the recruitment process run more smoothly and efficiently. But what about what not to do when trying to recruit participants?

       Below is our top three list of what not to do during the recruitment process so that you and your team can also avoid these mistakes.

  1. Not following up on recruitment leads.
    When going through the recruitment process, it can be easy to become overwhelmed at the number of participants that you have reached out to (or that are reaching out to you). As a result, it is possible for solid recruitment leads to becoming lost in the shuffle. Therefore, during the recruitment process, it is critical to have an organized and structured method of follow-up with participants. We suggest creating a spreadsheet or a document with the participants being recruited, as well as a tracking system of first, second, and third contacts or reach outs with each participant. This way you can easily keep track of your recruitment leads and when you need to follow up on them.

  2. Not creating a repeatable recruitment process.
    A key factor to ensuring successful recruitment is being able to have a structured recruitment process. Having a structured recruitment process makes the entire process more organized, and very importantly, repeatable by other team members. Through having a structured and repeatable recruitment process, team members are able to assist on the recruitment process without needing extensive in-depth prior knowledge, as well as it allows team members to share knowledge, techniques, and information that assisted their recruitment.

  3. Not doing A/B Testing.
    This is in reference to the participant recruitment ads you might be creating or posting online to try and get participants for your study. Oftentimes, a team member will create the advertisements and quickly implement them. We don’t often take the time to think about testing these ads or create multiple possible versions of the ad itself. Doing a simple A/B test on the advertisements used to recruit participants can help illuminate valuable information in terms of the ad’s effectiveness, as well as where the ad is most successful. Through doing A/B testing, you can customize and modify your ads to make sure they are helping your recruitment process to run efficiently.


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