My name is Harvey Milk, and I’m here to recruit you.
It’s hard to conduct user research if you don’t have anyone to research. Recruitment lets you find people that have the information you seek to learn. Recruitment is risky since the effort hinges on getting the right people in the room. There are a number of factors at play, and various methods a team can use to find the right kind of participants. Before worrying about the risks and before scheduling participants, you first must document whom you want to recruit.
One of the first activities your team will do when planning recruitment is identify participants to recruit. It’s helpful that most projects have existing information on customers, giving your team a jump-start on identifying whom you want to recruit and, more importantly, why you want certain types of people to be involved in the research. Common sets of data to identify participants include:
Past qualitative research
Current analytic reports
If there is preexisting research on your product, refer to the existing materials. Your approach should be one of validation. Ask what is missing from the participant criteria. If a different team conducted the research, ask them how the participants mapped to their needs and what they might do differently in a new round of recruiting.
There is a wealth of knowledge about users hidden in the analytics ...