Eliminate the greatest pain point of User Research: recruiting.

After only working at Thumbtack for a couple of days, it became clear that my coworkers craved more contact with our users. Conversations with our pros and customers helped drive decisions from product roadmapping to developing our marketing messages. But the current process for recruiting participants wasn’t just slow and cumbersome, it required asking favors of coworkers who had other priorities and agreed to recruiting a fleeting moment of extra bandwidth.

Aim for connection, not perfection

Many practitioners seek the perfect participants and hold tight to the recruiting process laboring over screening and scheduling. We feel the need to control the quality of participants and ensure 100% participant attendance so we don’t waste coworker’s time. But what if that assumption is hurting our impact? Our teams care about connection, not perfection. What would happen if we relaxed our self-imposed constraints and enabled our teams to connect and learn from users on a larger scale?

Eliminate barriers and create magic

At Thumbtack, we went about building a system to match our fast and scrappy product development culture. We systematized recruiting to eliminate barriers between the desire to talk to customers and the team’s ability to connect. We created a team in the Philippines to support the outreach, communication, scheduling and payment.

The result was magical. Simply click a few buttons and meetings with customers appear on your calendar. Want to run some usability tests? How about tomorrow? Want to test some marketing copy? No problem. Want to run a comprehensive attitudinal study in top demographics with (fit in obscure criteria here). We’ve got you covered. Focus groups? I don’t like them, but sure, if your team gets value out of those go for it.

Make an impact

By getting out of the way, we increased our interviews by 583% That amount of contact with our customers brings learnings into the hearts of everyone here and making them more effective at their jobs.

Is the system perfect? No. Do participants sometime flake, leaving teams in the lurch? Yes (8% of the time to be exact.) Is everyone an expert at running interviews? Nope, some people have a long way to go. But you know what, we are working on it. And having that skill in your tool belt will serve you throughout your career. My coworkers are aware of this and hungry to learn and improve.

Inform real-time decision making

Making recruiting easy enables teams to test as they go and answer questions at a cadence that fits into their normal cycles. Teams think of User Research as something they can do to immediately to support real-time decision making. That means that more people across the organization live and breath the problems that our customers and pros face.

So researchers, get out of your own way. Enable more impact by eliminating the greatest pains points of User Research, recruiting.