October 18, 2019

Did 5 market research interviews!

Robin Joseph @robinjoseph08

In this past week, we've conducted five interviews with people within the recruiting space to gauge whether or not InterviewPlanner would be solving a problem that actually exists. While we knew it was a pain point based on our past experiences, we wanted to make sure that it was more common than that.

Even though five isn't a lot, we've already learned so much, both about our potential product and about how to go about doing these interviews.

With regards to the market/problem, it's looking very positive. From all five people we interviewed, we were able to confirm that they have problems when scheduling interviews. We interviewed companies at various stages in their lifecycle, so we got different points of view, but there was the overarching theme that people struggle with many of the tools in this space (not just scheduling software). Some even tried some of our competitors and gave us insight into why they ended up not going with them.

With regards to how to go about doing the interviews, here are some things that we'd recommend!

  • Tap into your network to find people to interview. - This is an obvious one, but it can't be stressed enough. Four out of the five interviews we did were with people that were intro'd to us by a friend. It's going to be the fastest way to learn more about your target market.
  • Use a CRM to manage the people/companies you've reached out to. Once we started, we were reaching out to a lot of different people through various media (e.g. email, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc), so we needed an easy way to keep track of them. We ended up using HubSpot since it's free but still fully featured, and it's been great. It also allows you to track open rates to help you know if you need to change your email/subject line.
  • Create a list of questions, and for each question, add a "Why" to justify the value of the question. This was very helpful for us because early on, we just started writing a lot of questions that we wanted to ask, and that list ended up becoming very large. We then went through and, for each question, added the reason we wanted to ask it. This helped us identify the questions that really furthered our goal of determining whether interview scheduling is a real problem or not. Most of the other questions were to help us build the product, but we opted to cut those for now to be able to keep our interviews within 30 mins.
  • Be mindful about the wording of every question to reduce any bias. This was a big one for us. There are several pain points in scheduling that we think are very difficult to deal with, but we wanted to see whether recruiters and recruiting coordinators felt this way too. But we had a feeling that if we mentioned the problems we've seen, we would color their answers, which would make the interview less useful. So instead of asking "Does it take a long time to schedule an interview?", we asked "On average, how much time do you spend scheduling an interview?".

I think it's still a bit too soon to make any conclusions, but we're getting excited about the results so far!

  1. 2

    Thanks for this writeup!

    Once we started, we were reaching out to a lot of different people through various media (e.g. email, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc), so we needed an easy way to keep track of them. We ended up using HubSpot since it's free but still fully featured, and it's been great.

    Can you share details of what CRM features were useful? I've used CRM tools but they felt too heavyweight when the scale is only tens of customers. Instead, I've been satisfied with just a spreadsheet.

    We ended up using HubSpot since it's free but still fully featured, and it's been great. It also allows you to track open rates to help you know if you need to change your email/subject line.

    This line gave me pause. It strikes me as rude to hide tracking pixels in emails when you're asking a stranger for a favor. I receive cold emails that do this, and that alone usually sours me on the pitch enough to delete the email.

    Have you read The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick? It's a good, short read about pitfalls to avoid when doing customer validation interviews. Here are my notes from the book.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the comment!

      Can you share details of what CRM features were useful?

      Absolutely! The best features that we found were:

      • The Chrome extension makes it very easy to add new contacts without leaving our inboxes, which was helpful since we had a handful of intro emails from our network.
      • Since the emails are logged within HubSpot, it allows both of us to stay updated on communications, even when only one of us is the point of contact.
      • HubSpot has a lot of utilities when it comes to sending emails (e.g. templates/mail merging, scheduling in advance, etc), which aren't exclusive to CRMs, but since it all comes together, it's pretty convenient.
      • When entering in a company domain, it automatically enriches the company with valuable information like estimated number of employees, location, annual revenue, etc that I was manually looking up on Crunchbase.

      It strikes me as rude to hide tracking pixels in emails when you're asking a stranger for a favor.

      It was definitely something that we thought about, but we opted to do so since the people we're emailing are recruiters and recruiting coordinators, who source candidates' data and track their email opens/clicks for a living. So the idea of us tracking their emails shouldn't be too foreign of a concept.

      Have you read The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick?

      I haven't gotten around to it just yet, but I've heard it's very good. Thanks for notes! I really appreciate it!

      1. 1

        Cool, thanks! Those features of HubSpot do sound useful, especially when you're coordinating the effort across multiple people.

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