Market research interviewers gather information about a particular product or service by interviewing members of the public. The interviews are carried out either on a one-to-one basis in person or on the telephone, or through group discussions. The research is usually for an agency that has been commissioned by another company. However, local and central government, public bodies and independent institutes also carry out research.
The interviews are based on a detailed brief or questionnaire compiled by a market research executive, which tells interviewers what to ask and how to ask it. They can be quantitative, which finds out how many people do, buy or think something, or qualitative, which asks people for reasons why.
There are three main areas in which interviewers work:
Some interviewers can arrange their own hours, but they must be prepared to do some evening and weekend work, particularly when the job involves home visits. Part-time work is normal.
Interviews take place in shopping centres, shops, offices and private homes. Most work is carried out in towns and cities but some may involve travelling to rural areas. Interviewers spend long periods of time walking and standing.
Telephone interviewers work either from an office or from home.
To be a market research interviewer you will need:
Demand for market research varies with the state of the economy. Most interviewers are employed on a part-time basis by market research agencies. Other employers include government departments, research institutes and opinion pollsters. Due to the variable nature of the work long-term employment is unlikely. Working for a number of different agencies increases the possibility of regular work.
There are few promotion prospects for interviewers. In larger agencies, it may be possible to progress to senior interviewer, supervisor or area field-work manager. Occasionally an opportunity to become a research assistant can arise, although further qualifications may be required. It is possible to specialise in certain areas such as social surveys, consumer habits, or executive interviews.
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