Talking to your users should be a consistent part of your product development process, no matter what the stage. Don’t ever assume you know how people will respond to what you’re doing – humans are complex creatures. When vetting an idea, it’s a great way to confirm that your solution will be different, and that the problem you’re trying to solve really exists in the world. When launching, it’s a great way to gauge reactions to user acquisition campaigns/ads as well as your first-time user experience. When growing, it’s a critical way to ensure your tactics will scale to large audiences.
But in this post, I’m going to describe a low-cost and perhaps the fastest way to recruit: Craigslist.
Posting a Gig
- Pick a city to post in. If you’re looking to recruit for an in-person interview, post locally or in the cities where you’re willing to go to.
- Create a post in the “gigs” section. I typically choose the “computer gigs” category but you can experiment with others.
- Describe who you’re looking to talk to and what you’re asking them to do.
- Provide an incentive in both the description and the “pay” input field on the Craigslist form.
Here’s an example from a recent post I made:
Some Things to Keep In Mind
- Keep in mind some biases that Craigslist will introduce to your participant pool: location (because you had to pick a city or multiple cities to post this to) and where you posted this. For example, I posted the above in the “computer
- I find that more people respond when I post the gig to “computer gigs” (vs other categories like creative or writing).
- I find that most people respond to these gigs at night, so expect at least one day turnaround for starting the recruiting process.
- Craigslist doesn’t allow you post links to screener surveys in the post (I used to use a Google Form to filter out people who didn’t meet the criteria of who I wanted to talk to) so make sure you’re clear in your posting what the requirements are. You might get some fakers still email you, so you might want to think of ways to filter them out before scheduling an interview.
- If you feel like you’re not getting enough responses, consider increasing your incentive. A high level of compensation is $1 per minute of time you’re asking them for, but I’d suggest starting a little lower at first as very few people make $60/hour.
- Don’t forget to factor in no-shows. For example, I posted a gig like the one below in 5-6 cities and in the course of a week, I had 20 interviews scheduled. Only 6 people (30%) actually showed up, even after accepting the meeting invite. I’d recommend following up the day before or the morning of to confirm they’re coming and remind them of the incentive.
Some Example Results
I posted this ad in both Austin and Craigslist as I’m trying some new meeting scheduling tools. I had 7 interviews on my calendar within 2 hours!
Want help recruiting user research participants, or any other parts of the user research process?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org