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User recruitment: a brief history

By Jess Lewes

Business Development Director


We are really good at what we do. This isn’t something I say very often because any job that involves working with people can be hard to define, and being ‘good’ is subjective. However, for a talk I gave at User Research London in June this year I undertook some internal research into the last five years, which showed some incredible statistics about how we have developed our user recruitment service in that period of time.

When I step back and look at the service we are delivering now, we are light years ahead of what we were doing, and what many other suppliers operating in the same space are still providing. So, the history in brief:

User recruitment – five major changes in five years

1. The criteria we are recruiting against has increased by more than 100% in the last five years – typically, five years ago we would be given seven pieces of recruitment criteria; now, we are generally recruiting to at least 15 pieces of criteria.

2. The number of questions on the screeners we write has increased by 80%. This is almost double – typically, five years ago a screener would have an average of 15 questions; now on average our screeners have 27 questions.

3. In the last 12 months, the number of ‘end clients’ we are working with has over taken the number of agencies we work with – more companies are setting up their own in-house user experience labs.

4. We have seen an increase in the number of user experience projects in the B2B market, now around 40% of our projects require business participants such as business owners, or people in specific professions to take part in research related to their jobs.

5. We recruit over 1,000 participants every month across over 100 different projects.

As a business, we have grown by 600% over the last five years and our growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down. I have already written this year about the plans we have to keep up with the changing requirements of our client base.

A huge amount of our work comes as referrals from other clients, and that is testament to the service we provide; that our clients are happy to recommend us to their peers.

Take a look at the full slide deck from my talk below or click here to view online. You will also find some tips for how to write a recruitment brief.

If you want to find out how you can get more from your user recruitment process, improve your rate of attendance, or even get support with the recruitment by enlisting the help of a specialist recruiter give me a call on 0117 921 0008, or drop me an email at The initial consultation is always free.

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jess lewesAbout the author: Jess Lewes is the Director of Projects at People for Research, and is passionate about supporting the UX and market research community with high quality recruitment. She is also a source of knowledge for best practice in participant recruitment.

About People for Research: We recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.

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