Think about the start of every successful user research project you have witnessed or been involved in, and surely one of the things that jumps to your mind is the need for a great recruitment brief. This is true for all kinds of research or testing projects, but especially if we are talking about complex or niche sessions like research with business owners, for example.

Our years of experience recruiting all types of participants show us that there is a direct correlation between a quality, well-thought out B2B brief and the success of a project. We understand that it can be hard to create the perfect research brief, but spending time to craft a detailed document is the first step towards a seamless recruitment process.

In order to achieve this, there are a number of different elements that need to be considered. Keep reading to find out the key elements you need to remember.

🎯  Sharing the nature/aims of the research with your recruitment agency

+ Understanding the wider scope of the project will help us during the screening process, allowing us to probe further to obtain information that would be inaccessible otherwise.

+ It allows us to ‘sell’ the advantages of taking part in research to a busy business owner, for example. If someone can see the benefit to themselves/their business of giving up 60 minutes of their time, they are more likely to take part and will remain engaged throughout the process.

+ During the recruitment stage, we may come across potential participants whose profile may not completely fit the criteria, but can provide great value to your research by sharing useful feedback about a product or service. In this scenario, we are able to identify their contribution as valuable because we understand the overall aim of the research. In other words, the more you tell us, the more we can help!

🔎 Identifying your primary and secondary criteria

+ Doing this at the start of the process allows us to understand who would be suitable from the get-go – often projects looking for niche B2B professionals who hit multiple layered criteria can be unrealistic – and advise you appropriately. PFR work on a consultative approach with our clients and, by having a clear understanding of your primary and secondary criteria, we can better plan the path ahead towards a successful project.

+ It helps us inform our own research and create our recruitment plan A, B and even C, depending on the complexity of the requirements.

📏 Offering tangible measurements

+ Giving tangible criteria helps us verify the participants’ suitability. Using works like regularly or not often can be subjective meaning there is room for error, by removing the element of guessing we are more likely to find your perfect participant

+ This helps us to build robust screener questions to filter out those who are unsuitable
The more information, the better.

+ It’s useful for us to have all the available information upfront, even details you might think are not relevant. Researchers often have a lot of ingrained knowledge that they think isn’t important, but it can really help out with our recruitment research. Sharing all available information allows us to create highly efficient recruitment plans and helps us to use tailored recruitment methods to improve engagement – this means we can be proactive, rather than reactive.

📆 Lead times and testing dates

+ Business professionals are usually time-poor, so we urge our clients to keep this in mind when scheduling their research sessions. Being flexible and allowing participants time to schedule a research session into their diary will reduce the risk of drop-outs.

+ Offering a range of testing dates rather than one day will open up the pool of participants able to take part in your research by 19%.

+ Providing three to four weeks’ lead time allow us to use free find methods, such as LinkedIn, to yield the most suitable responses and makes it possible for us to build rapport with potential participants.

+ We advise providing all available testing dates at the start of the project, so we can make these dates available to the participants. If a client decided to add additional dates to a project after we have started recruitment, this makes our process less efficient. This usually means our team will have to recontact all the participants, which translates into time lost for us and more costs for the client. We only have one opportunity to make a first impression on a participant, especially if using free find methods, and we know from experience that any last-minute changes can be seen as a sign of unprofessionalism or a reason to distrust the process.

We understand that not everyone will be familiar with this important part of the process, which is why the PFR team are always available to consult with you throughout the brief writing and set-up stages. Our B2B recruitment team, composed of experienced project managers, have been trained to assist during the initial stages of recruitment, including asking and answering questions, identifying areas of interest and related feasibility, and helping you optimise your brief to deliver the best research results.  

Other useful blogs:
+ Writing an effective participant recruitment screener
+ User recruitment brief: how to write one and what to consider



Nicole Partington, Head of Projects

If you would like to find out more about our in-house participant recruitment service for user research or usability testing get in touch on 0117 921 0008 or

At 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 up with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.