1. Use the Book
If you are interested in finding a contract researcher, rather than hiring one as an employee, then your first step would be to check out The Directory of Researchers. We sell this directory on our training site (www.therecruitinglab.com/researchersbook.html), and it’s the only one I know of that gives an exhaustive listing of researchers found in the United States. You will get information such as where each researcher is located, what their fees are, what they specialize in, etc.
I often tell recruiting firm owners that they will want to have contact with several good researchers before they ever need them. This way you have the confidence to take on large search projects knowing that you have an ad hoc workforce ready to pitch in and provide support. This will give you more confidence when selling your services as well. Seek out several contract researchers and negotiate agreements with them in advance.
2. Hire a Pro
You can find and hire professional researchers from either corporate human resources departments or retained search firms. Both of these sources will typically have people who fulfill a researcher-type role within their organizations, although they may go by a different title. The upside is that they come in ready to work, well trained, and experienced. The downside is that they will cost you much more than a person that you would train yourself.
3. Hire a Novice
If you prefer training your own person from the ground up, there are several options available. I have had very good luck with this profile:
A woman in her 30s or 40s who used to work in a business setting but has been out of the workforce for several years while raising children. She now wants to rejoin the workforce, but not at full speed.
Typically these women want a part-time or three-quarter-time position but also want a lot of flexibility in their schedule so they can be available for their children. If you can offer a flexible schedule, this is an excellent group to target, as they are often loyal, seasoned, and professional.
4. Hire a Student
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It might sound funny, but I’ve also had good experience with college students and know many others who have as well. Obviously, they will perform lower-level tasks, but if you have a clear system, scripts, and forms for them to use, they can be quite effective. I’ve found that good majors to target are Business (good drive) and English (well-spoken).
Call up your local college and find out about running an ad in the school newspaper. You can often also post a flyer on the bulletin boards and submit your position to the career center. Be sure to interview them via the phone first to test for vocal quality and maturity.
5. Work Your Network
Ask everyone for referrals: neighbors, friends, employees. If you see someone in a restaurant or a store that you think might be a fit, talk to him or her and see if you can make a connection. Post a want ad at the local church or fitness club.
Create an employee referral program to encourage your current staff to join you in looking for researchers. Give them an idea of what your ideal researcher would look like. Provide a cash incentive for anyone they refer who makes it past 90 days.
Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists firm owners and solo recruiters in generating more profit in less time. Gary offers several FREE SPECIAL REPORTS, including “14 Critical Candidate Questions” and “The Search Process Checklist,” on his website. Get your copy now at www.therecruitinglab.com.