Observing the User Experience

Elizabeth Goodman and Mike Kuniavsky

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Screeners vary from project to project and from recruiter to recruiter, but there are some general rules that apply to most. 1. Stick to 20 questions. There’s a reason that game exists. It’s possible to find out almost anything about someone in 20 questions. Most target audiences can be defined in 10 to 15 questions, and if the people are prescreened through your database, you can get away with fewer than 5. 2. Make it short. It should be possible to get through a whole screener in five to ten minutes. 3. Be clear and specific. The person responding to the question should know exactly what kinds of answers are expected. 4. Never use jargon. Use simple, straightforward, unambiguous language. 5. Ask for exact dates, quantities, and times. This eliminates the problem of one person’s “occasionally” being another’s “all the time.” 6. Every question should have a purpose. Each question should help determine whether this person is in the audience or not. Don’t ask questions that are incidental or “nice to know” since answers to them will not be useful in recruiting and take everyone’s time. Nice-to-know questions can be asked at the beginning of the test. 7. Order questions from general to specific,