Silvia has worked as an interviewer for several decades. At the beginning, she didn’t have specific skills and sometimes she had to rely on her instinct and personal experience; with time and passion, she managed to cultivate her own high professionalism in order to become a reference point for important marketing research institutes, which entrusted her with jobs of great responsibility. Of course it’s a difficult and demanding job that takes a lot of time and strong personal involvement, and not always it’s properly rewarded. Her job has been an important resource for Silvia’s family incomes, also considering the thirty-year mortgage payments due.
I think I have provided all the necessary information to understand Silvia’s current status.
As time goes by, nowadays, the job opportunities for Silvia have gradually decreased. Despite her recognized high professionalism in managing “impossible interviews”, the assignments have become less frequent, and moreover the remuneration for the same job, has decreased. The reason for this is the gradual change of classic market research toward online surveys, under the clients pressure for lower costs and shorter times (they love checking answers on the monitor in real time), to the possible detriment of quality and reliability of collected data.
But Silvia didn’t give up (also because the bank, in the meantime, has not changed its attitude, asking her for timely mortgage payments). So Silvia, a true expert of market research mechanisms and field phase, has created a new profession: from “professional interviewer” to “professional interviewee”.
In fact, her “new” job is filling web-based questionnaires sent by the numerous online research institutes where she signed up, using different e-mail accounts and aliases. The profiles associated with her various accounts are the rarest, the most valued and the most rewarded by online market research institutes.
At least, she no longer needs to spend money and time on journeys to reach venues where she previously had to perform face-to-face interviews, rigorously respecting given locations and times. Today, the sofa in her living room is her “new” workplace. Furthermore, Silvia has learned how to take advantage of some “automatic” compilation software, available online, which are able to neutralize Captcha controls, other controls such as: “I am not a robot” and numerical sums.
Silvia also involves her son, and some friends and peers of his, in her new workplace, creating a network that “engages” dozens of “virtual” consumers and imaginary profiles.
Indeed the remuneration leaves a lot to be desired (it’s quite miserable!), You earn “points” and not Euros, but don’t worry; it is possible to rely on “professional interviewees” groups which, gathered together in an on-line “virtual community”, exchange information, tips and tricks to get “off line” the best out of your efforts.
Silvia gives her advice to personally assess the evolution of her work; try to type “paid surveys” on your browser and get into “professional interviewees” chats to enjoy an authentic “cool experience” (isn’t that the right expression?) and maybe you can join some rare profiles panels.
I remember when it was clearly forbidden to interview the same person before 6 months from the last interview. A bitter smile comes to my face when I receive no less than 2 invitations per day for each of the panels I’m signed in with different identities (and the most important panels are over a dozen). I also remember the random selection of respondents, the back-checks to be sure the interviewer has really interviewed someone according to the given target, if the interviewee had received the incentive and what he answered to 2-3 “control questions” to verify the reliability of the answers provided.
Finally, I remember the presentation of survey results carried out by the researcher and field supervisor in person, to give to clients the possibility to ask for explanations and details, and many other tools used by institutes to guarantee, for as much as possible, the highest quality and reliability of the collected data.
These are the times, these are the signs …