Catch & Release: Using New Recruiting Platforms


Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

A couple years ago we had a particularly tough recruit for people that worked in steel foundries or on oil rigs. After exhausting our normal recruiting methods, we gave this new platform—Respondent.io—a shot. We were able to find people. And most importantly, because they tied into LinkedIn and Facebook, verify that they were for real. (The low incidence was creating a real problem with fraudulent respondents.) A year later we were looking for aspiring authors and worked with User Interviews to recruit them.


In the in-between time we have worked with both these platforms on other qualitative recruits—both as the sole source for the recruit and also to augment recruiting. 


Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Let me digress for a moment.  A few years ago, after living in Colorado for several years, I was given a fly fishing rod as a gift. While I fished quite a bit as a kid and from time to time as an adult—I had always done the more traditional bait fishing. So I watched some videos, read some books and set out a few times to fly fish.


I haven’t caught a thing. 


So in the next couple weeks, because of a renewed interest in getting better at fly fishing (spurned on by my son-in-law who has taken me fishing with him a couple times), I am going to actually have a guide show me the ropes and hopefully move from vaguely clueless to knowing what I am doing. 


These new platforms for recruiting are, to me, like fly rods in the world of recruiting. I have been recruiting using more traditional means like phone and online screener surveys for so long, much like bait fishing.  Nothing wrong with it at all and it can be effective and works most of the time. (Yeah, in the world of recruiting, like you probably, I have had my share of awful experiences, but that’s a whole different discussion. Just like a bad day of fishing—getting caught in a lightning storm or losing your bait off the side of the boat, getting a sunburn, yes, things like that.)


These new platforms are bit different. The ‘screener’ that you use is not quite the same as screeners I have used in the past—so there is a need to adapt to it. And the processes are very different—especially once you have a qualified potential participant. The first few times it took quite a bit of adjusting to get it right. Luckily, I was able to tap into help and have an experienced ‘guide’ help me get the recruit right.


Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Why put up with the new platform idiosyncrasies? Why turn to fly fishing this late in life?


On the fly fishing, just because it looks fun and relaxing. And that it is. Though I still want to experience the thrill of actually catching something. But the focus and repetitiveness of patterning your fly cast has amazing therapeutic effects. For me, I can get one with nature very quickly and a morning of fishing I can just feel the stresses of life melt away.


On the new recruiting platforms?

  • Costs: Depending on specifically who you are recruiting, the prices to recruit are anywhere from a quarter to half as much as phone recruiting. 

  • Verification: You can verify each person by checking out their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. 

  • Profile info: For business-to-business research, reviewing their LinkedIn profile gives you great background going into an interview.

  • Cross-method application: These can be used for online research methods as well as traditional focus groups, interviews and other work. (For IDIs, you can take advantage of calendaring within the platform.)

I don’t use these new methods all the time, just as I still like to bait fish sometimes. But I am excited about what they bring to the research process—they are really a whole new world and quite possibly the shape of things to come. 


I will be speaking about this at the QRCA annual conference and sharing more specific tips for adapting recruiting practices to these new platforms in Savannah, GA, January 30-February 1, 2019. Join me to learn more: www.qrca.org/2019