Over, Under, Around or Through: A User Testing Recruiting Story

So you want to user test something, but you don’t know how to find the right user. Don’t panic. There are simple ways to reach any audience―you can always go over, under, around or through to find them. Even if your target audience is a hard to reach group such as C-level, B2B executives, you can get the information you need with the right approach.


As in don’t “over” think it. If what you really want is to test the usability of an experience, then honestly you can get feedback from anyone. Everyone is qualified. Hit the streets or a coffee shop for a quick and dirty usability study. Or you can recruit friends and family through an email/social media screener and pay them a small monetary amount.

Estimated compensation costs for 10 users: $0-$1,000


Often, executives at the C-suite level have people “under” them gathering the data from sites and doing the research. Find out who these people are and recruit them, ideally through a professional recruiting company. They will be a lot easier to schedule and compensate than their bosses. Remember to recruit floaters or over-recruit in case of no-shows. It’s best to prepare for every contingency when planning a study―especially if you have clients watching.

Estimated recruiting and compensation costs for 10 users and 5 floaters (professional recruiting): $3,750-$4,250


Go to the people “around” your target audience. Think about who interacts with your audience and who knows the most about them. If your client doesn’t have the insight you need, perhaps they can put you in touch with customer service and sales teams. Stakeholders can be very valuable when it comes to understanding an audience.

Estimated recruiting and compensation costs for 10 users: $0-$1,000


Not satisfied with any of these options? Assuming you have tried the professional recruiting company route with no luck, you can go right “through” to the source. Recruit users directly from your site with a tool like Ethnio or Site Intercept, which will screen and recruit users on the spot or schedule a session at a later date. There is no better way to get feedback on your site than to survey the people who are actually coming to your site. You may also find that your audience is not who you thought it was. Keep in mind that in addition to the cost of the tool, you will probably have to offer higher compensation to attract a C-level respondent. If you go this route, you may want to skip the floaters and consider offering sessions outside of normal business hours to accommodate busy schedules.

When targeting senior executives, keep things as easy and simple as possible. Consider remote, unmoderated testing, which will allow users to complete a short study, at their leisure from wherever they want. UserZoom, open hallway and userlytics are great tools for remote feedback. Of course, the downside to this model is that you will not be able to speak with them and ask probing questions, but that may be the price you have to pay to recruit this type of user.

Estimated recruiting, compensation and tool costs for 10 users: $400-$7,000 

View the Rosetta Consulting white papers “Customer Engagement from the Marketer’s Perspective” and “Customer Engagement from the Consumer’s Perspective.”

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