Surveys are a great way to obtain real, practical, and actionable information on a topic you are interested in. Thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet, many surveys today are conducted online. The world wide web offers convenience. Neither the interviewer nor interviewee needs to move from their location during the survey.
Still, online surveys haven’t rendered face-to-face surveys obsolete. There remains a place for in-person surveys. One big challenge interviewers face is approaching random persons for a survey. You will undoubtedly face rejection plenty of times. Nevertheless, the following tips can increase the chances of the other person becoming a willing participant.
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1. Right Timing
If you see someone walking briskly, seemingly in a rush to get to their destination, getting their attention will be difficult. Someone who appears tense and avoids eye contact is likely not an ideal survey candidate.
Instead, approach persons who signal they could be willing to spare some minutes for you. How do you tell? People who appear bored, are taking a break from their routine tasks, or look like they are in a good mood are perhaps the best people to talk to.
Irrespective of the person you approach, make it clear from the beginning how long it’ll take. That way, they can make a judgment on whether they will indeed sit for the interview. CAPI software could come in handy in this regard. The candidate can see for themselves how long the interview will last and don’t have to just take your word for it.
2. Examine Body Language
Brisk walking, tense facial expression, and a lack of eye contact are just some of a prospect’s mannerisms you should pay attention to. Are they deep in thought? Are they nervously perusing some paperwork? Are they frowning as they stare at their phone?
People on their phones can be incredibly challenging to read. Some will be scrolling down their screen when procrastinating or bored. Even then, they may be relying on their phones as an escape. Just because they look bored doesn’t necessarily mean they will be open to your request for an interview.
Your body language matters too. Don’t stand in the candidate’s path. Approach from the side while angling your body away from them. That communicates that they are free to end the conversation at any time.
3. Foster Interest
An invitation for a face-to-face survey is unusual for the majority of people. The very act of approaching them is a sign that you think they have something important to contribute. It can generate a healthy curiosity. Build on that positive perspective.
Some respondents will see it as an opportunity to learn more about themselves. You could excite interviewee interest by, for example, showing them a product or something the wider public doesn’t have access to yet.
If there’s a specific reason you thought the person was the ideal interviewee, let them know. Be careful to keep it at an obvious, general level that’s easily observed. The last thing you need is the person thinking you are stalking them.
4. Foster Goodwill
There’s that nice, fuzzy feeling you get when you give time, resources, and ideas to a noble cause without accepting any payment in return. If your survey is for a social cause like improving mobility for senior citizens, make that known from the get-go. You are more likely to capture the respondent’s interest, especially if it’s something they already care about.
If your topic isn’t socially relevant, you can still get respondent buy-in if you establish an emotional connection with them. Show enthusiasm for the subject and adopt a friendly demeanor. Thank them for their time, even before the interview begins.
Now that you have some ideas on approaching interview candidates, there’s no need to hesitate. You’ll find that your confidence rapidly grows with each successful approach and interview.