5 ways to optimize your research recruitment experience

Your users are your most precious asset. And your first contact with them — recruitment — is crucial to the success of your outreach and your research.

For as much care we put into the user experience of our products, we should put the same care into the user experience of our research process. When the research process is a bad experience for your users, the quality of your research may decrease, you may not reach the right users, and may not even get users to respond.

To avoid this disastrous outcome, it’s important to optimize the recruiting funnel.

Hold up, what do we mean by “optimizing?”

When recruiting users for research, the ideal state is having the highest take rate from your outreach. To break it down more, it’s achieving your desired sample size, with the highest quality users, as quickly as possible, while burning the fewest number of users. That might seem like a lot to achieve, but it’s possible!

How do you do that?

By knowing your user and building your research recruitment process out of empathy for them. 👏 Your users are real humans, treat them like it.👏

The right messaging and the way you reach out is important for connecting with the right user. Is your user a developer, or a school teacher? Do they use your product every day, or just a few times a month? What are their day-to-day activities like? What are their goals, their challenges, their needs? Understanding these things and using them to guide and personalize your process is a great first step to optimizing your funnel and will lead to happier users, better relationships, and fewer no-shows!

The important second step, which should be happening almost simultaneously with the first, is to introduce automation.

Automation is 🔑

The key to optimizing your funnel and improving the recruitment process is to automate. It’s likely there are hours of tasks you’re completing in your recruitment process that could be automated. Not only will automation save you time and energy, it will also aid in democratizing research, eliminating errors, and obviously creating a better experience for everyone — your research team, your stakeholders, and most importantly, your users.

To begin automating your recruitment funnel, there are a few steps you should follow:

  1. Define or map out your user recruitment funnel (or user journey)
  2. Map out any friction points
  3. Determine which points to automate
Important side note on friction:

Friction isn’t always a bad thing. Depending on your goals for recruitment, you may WANT to introduce some friction into the process (e.g. a screener review stage). This comes back to mapping your research recruitment process to your research goals.

How do you know what to automate?

When you’re trying to determine if a task or element of your process should be automated, ask yourself this: What task do I perform most often?

Any tasks you do frequently or that follow a set schedule are prime candidates for automation. 🥳

Within your recruitment process, these prime candidates may fall under the following categories:

  • Scheduling
  • Outreach
  • Incentives
  • Screening
  • Consent Forms

Now it’s important to not get too excited about automation and forget that some tasks deserve your time and energy. Any tasks that require experimentation and thoughtfulness shouldn’t be automated, though you will encounter tasks that require both thoughtfulness and automation.

For example, in the outreach process, crafting the message is the art (and should be manual) and the outreach and ‘personalization at scale’ are the science, which you can automate the heck out of.

So, once you’ve crafted the perfect messaging, you can use email automation to send out your messages, use personalization tokens like “First Name” to keep your messaging personal at scale, and use things like automatic nudges to continue optimizing the funnel and avoid sending 100s of 1:1 emails.

What does a non-optimized recruitment funnel look like?

In short, it looks like a LOT of time spent not doing research. Bleh. 😩  Here are some of the tasks you’ll find yourself slogging through in a non-optimized funnel:

  • Identifying users
  • Sending emails
  • Reading through screener results
  • Manually qualifying participants
  • Scheduling interviews and sessions
  • Tracking down consent forms and NDAs
  • Sending & tracking incentives
  • Managing research participants

What’s the impact of having a non-optimized recruitment funnel?

Other than the obvious thing we mentioned above, lack of time to do what you really want (cough good research cough), the impact is pretty far-reaching:

  • Extended research timelines
  • Decisions without proper insights
  • Time spent with unqualified participants
  • Error-prone actions & decisions
  • Unhappy stakeholders
  • Silos

How do you create a frictionless automated recruitment experience?

Luckily, there are many ways you can tactically improve the chances of rapidly recruiting the right users. Here are just a few:

It gets even easier — utilizing tools to optimize your funnel  🧰

What would automation be without the proper tools? Probably nearly impossible — or just incredibly painful and clunky. Here are some of the common tools most companies are using to try to optimize and automate their recruitment process:

A hodge-podge of

  • Email automation tools like MailChimp or Salesloft
  • Traditional CRMs like HubSpot and SalesForce
  • Scheduling tools like Calendly
  • Survey tools like Qualtrics, Google Forms, and Survey Monkey
  • Sending Amazon gift cards
  • Spreadsheets like Google Sheet or Airtable

This is a really great start compared to just using Gmail, but it’s not the best.

An even better solution: Say hello to Rally 👋

You shouldn’t have to jump across multiple tools as you try to optimize your recruitment funnel. Ideally, you’d just use one.🥇 With Rally, the modern User Research CRM, you can spend less time recruiting and more time talking to and building relationships with your users.

Ready to optimize and automate your recruitment funnel? Join the waitlist for Rally now.

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