The Market Research Job Seeking and Interviewing Process
The process of seeking and securing a market research job can range from hurried to deliberate. However you may experience it, the duration of the search process is typically impacted by the level of the opportunity within the organization—with higher levels taking longer. Within the market research industry, the following process is typical.
- A telephone interview with Human Resources to evaluate career goals, general market research skills and experience, and fit within the company
- An in-person interview with the hiring manager to assess detailed market research experience and skills, industry knowledge and leadership abilities
- Several in-person interviews with individuals reporting to the hiring manager to evaluate in-depth technical skills (particularly for a market research analyst or market research director) and the potential for teamwork
- An in-person interview with the hiring manager’s superior to assess the fit within the department
- A decision to extend an offer for a particular marketing research job
- Initial discussions of compensation and key work factors
- Verbal and written offer for the market research position
Overall, the interview process typically ranges from four to 12 weeks, with an average of eight weeks from the time your market research resume is first reviewed.
The 5Bs of Negotiating a Market Research Job Offer
- Be Honest: Discuss your current and desired responsibilities, work hours, work environment and other items of importance to you. Most importantly, be transparent about your current salary, bonus opportunity and anticipated date for a raise—and be prepared to support your numbers if asked by a market research recruiter.
- Be Prepared: Speak with your family and take time to be introspective. Identify what aspects of your marketing research job are important to you—whether it is salary, bonus opportunity, flexible hours, benefits or work environment and communicate these items. In being prepared, you should obtain objective, quantitative data for the job dimensions of importance to you. You should seek this data from career, governmental and market research industry association sources—not casual conversations from colleagues.
- Be Flexible: Few companies will have the means or ability to meet all of your desires. Furthermore, most large firms will have guidelines into which your offer must fit. Be willing to consider tradeoffs between items of importance to you—and be ready to think out of the box. Opportunities to increase your salary, gain additional vacation time, advance your market research skills, etc. will be available sooner than you might expect.
- Be Reasonable: Understand that you are negotiating with your new boss. If your initial requests are met, do not continue asking for more. Conversely, if an offer is below your expectation or industry averages, share your benchmark data with your potential future employer. The use of relevant data is an effective way to depersonalize negotiations and strive toward a reasonable conclusion. A sense of fairness on both sides of the desk is essential for a healthy, productive and long term relationship.
- Be Patient: Never immediate accept or reject an offer—regardless of its level of attractiveness. Graciously thank the individual extending the offer, and ask for several days to review it with your immediate family--responding within the agreed upon timeframe. Changing market research jobs is a major life event and it is expected that you will confer with others. If you are expecting an offer but have yet to receive it, be patient. Don’t repeatedly email or call. Coordinating schedules to make hiring decisions always takes longer than one thinks. An over-eager job seeker raises concerns.
Accepting a Marketing Research Job Offer
- Make the Commitment: Prior to accepting a new marketing research job, be sure you have discussed the opportunity with your family and friends. Consider all of the reasons for making change—not just the financials. And once you are sure it is time to move on to a new opportunity, make the commitment and do not second guess your decision.
- Obtain the Offer in Writing: Always ask for a written and signed offer letter from the hiring manager. Be sure the offer includes the agreed upon roles, responsibilities, reporting relationships, title, compensation and benefits, start date, and all other documents that must be signed (i.e., confidentiality, conditions of employment, etc.).
- Provide a Verbal Response and Written Acceptance: Call your hiring manager and personally tell them of your acceptance; they will be delighted. Also communicate that you have sent a signed letter confirming your acceptance along with the date you will begin your new marketing research job.
- Provide Notice to Your Current Manager: Arrange a time to speak with your current supervisor at least two weeks prior to the start date of your new position. During the discussion, verbally communicate your decision to leave the firm and provide, at that meeting, a brief dated letter stating your resignation and last day with the company. In advance of your discussion, be aware of any potential counter offers and be prepared to respond to them.
- Wrap Up Loose Ends: Be happy and work hard during your last weeks with your current firm; it’s truly a small world and paths are likely to cross again. Complete outstanding tasks and transition your work to whoever your manager designates.