“Social Media.” Everyone is talking about it. Everyone wants to use it. Everyone is trying to figure out how.
At the QRCA Conference in Montreal, I recently participated on a panel discussion titled, “Social Media Recruiting: Way of the Future.” The goal was to discuss how social media is currently being used to recruit face-to-face and online qualitative. The panel was organized by the QRCA Field Committee and led by Michelle Finzel of Maryland Marketing Source.
Some of my take-aways related to social media sites were:
- Most “social media” recruiting started with Craigslist. Craigslist still has a bad reputation though its discussion area is really no different than other social media sites.
- Linkedin seems to have promise for B-B recruiting, but so far few have found methods that work.
- Facebook is the primary social media site used for qual recruiting. Facebook is being used in two ways.
- Many firms have their own Facebook pages that they use to troll for participants who have previously “Liked” them.
- Firms are getting adept, through trial and error, at paid advertising for particular respondents on Facebook
Social media recruiting seems to work best with consumer recruits. Facebook and others are able to target ads at specific consumer demographics or other measures they can access. Such targeting can make certain difficult-to-recruit consumer groups much easier. However, if such criteria is not available, difficult recruits can be extremely expensive since the recruiter must pay/click for each respondent who clicks through to the screener. For low incidence studies, this can be cost prohibitive and, therefore, not helpful.
The panel discussed the ethics of client disclosure. Do we need to disclose to clients that the recruits came from social media sites? Generally, the panel agreed that, in most cases, such disclosure was not necessary. The burden is on the recruiter to ensure that the participant qualifies in every way regardless of the respondent source. If the recruiter is doing his/her job correctly, the source is largely irrelevant.
Bottom Line: Social media recruiting can help with certain recruiting problems. However, the panel agreed that traditional recruiting rescreening and verification steps still must be taken. Social media recruiting is a way to broaden the recruiting reach but it does not relieve the recruiter of the responsibility to thoroughly screen and verify their respondents.
Social media recruiting is likely here to stay. However, it is not stand-alone. It still requires some form of traditional recruiting process to ensure that ethe right respondents fit the right project.