Recruit-hacking / by Melissa Pepper

Recruiting these days is a challenge. Incidence rates are low (I mean really low); screening questionnaires are extremely long; algorithms, the latest darlings of marketers, lower the incidence rates and lengthen the questionnaires; consumers are hard to reach; and everybody's budgets are tight. That's why we've chosen to become recruit-hackers, staying nimble and layering solution over solution over solution. Here are five of our successful hacks:

  1. We hire talent and train them to be persuasive and discerning recruiters and creative problem-solving supervisors and project managers. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's not something we take lightly or put on autopilot.
  2. We are aggressive about growing and maintaining our database.
  3. We are active in the Austin community and the marketing research community so that our fellow Austinites know us and trust us and so do our industry colleagues.
  4. We have pioneered a high tech/high touch approach to recruiting. We start with an online pre-screening survey to quickly get to the folks who likely qualify. And we follow-up with a tailored phone screening that assures we recruit eloquent participants who fit the study profile.
  5. After experimenting with different approaches to using social networks, we have found that curating groups on Facebook and LinkedIn give us the networks and reach we want while maintaining some privacy and control.

We spend time most Fridays brainstorming new hacks because solutions these days have short shelf lives. We evaluate hacks based on ease and cost effectiveness. Our hit rate is about 5%, but our hits keep us in business.