“[...] Simplicity is preferable to complexity; brevity in communication is more effective than verbosity.”
It’s unlikely that Robert Browning had market research in mind when he coined the phrase Less is More in the 1850s and provided the minimalist movement with a raison d’être. Nevertheless, the mantra can be applied in many a field, including qualitative research and more particularly, with recruitment screeners.
Clients often have a typical consumer in mind, for example, a company in the bottled water industry might be looking for a 37 year old male, who drinks a glass of sparkling water every Monday, between 7:30PM and 7:45PM. Am I exaggerating? Yes, but my example illustrates how it can be difficult to fill four focus groups with this exact profile.
Apart from feasibility, restricting participant profiles has another disadvantage. Having dealt with recruiting for thousands of focus groups, we’ve realized over and over again that simple, short recruitment screeners deliver better quality participants. When criteria are less confined, recruiters have a larger pool from which to draw potential participants, and can therefore be more rigorous regarding enthusiasm and articulateness of the recruits.
When it comes to building a recruitment screener, the best plan of action is to…
1) …keep it simple: no long introduction or complicated questions;
2) …strip it of non-essential questions and “nice-to-knows”, and;
3) …refrain from looking for a needle in a haystack.
Returning to my example, we might get the answers we’re looking for from males and females between 25 and 50, who drink sparkling water at any time of the day, on any day of the week.
The result? Recruiters will have the required leeway to find high quality participants. The participants will allow for a richer discussion with more depth. And the report will be more detailed and ultimately more useful.