How thoughtbot uses Recruit to speed up research

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Kyle Fiedler, Chief Design Officer

Learn how thoughtbot, expert design and development partner, uses Recruit to seamlessly identify and qualify interview participants and schedule them on a wide variety of client projects.

The Problem

thoughtbot helps hundreds of clients successfully design and build digital products. Whether they’re working with early-stage founders or established companies, thoughtbot starts many of its projects with a design research phase. They talk to their client’s potential end users early on and run usability tests once features are designed and built. thoughtbot is working on several projects at once—and each one needs research participants to be available on a different schedule.

They also need to handle several client projects at once in a clear and efficient way. As different teams research for multiple clients simultaneously, they don't want users or designers to get muddled in scheduling. thoughtbot’s old system for recruiting user testing participants—which stitched together Google Forms with Craigslist ads—was not scaling with their needs. 

The Solution

thoughtbot’s design teams need a painless way to source candidates for usability tests and user research while dealing with tight deadlines and turnaround times. Finding people to interview for all those sessions was more of a challenge than facilitating the interviews. This challenge was making timelines longer—or worse, it could mean that research wouldn't be conducted at all because they couldn't find qualified people.

The thoughtbot team works through design problems together

Recruit “takes the pain out of finding qualified participants for our designers and researchers.” Each product that the team is working on is able to schedule participants with ease at the time of need. Recruit has become exceptionally valuable for scheduling participants quickly after a week-long design sprint.


The thoughtbot teams now rely heavily on Recruit to source candidates for most of their client projects. With User Interviews, thoughtbot is now able to quickly identify a diverse set of participants for each of their varied project types.

And it no longer takes multiple emails to schedule participants. Once thoughtbot has found the right participants and the times they can interview, Recruit handles the scheduling.

This allows the thoughtbot team to run multiple projects at the same time with ease. Each team can recruit candidates and manage the schedule of research independently, without distraction from other research projects going on at the same time. thoughtbot designers know that when they transition from one client project to another, they'll be able to rely on Recruit to find a new set of user research participants.

Recruit helps the team at thoughtbot conduct necessary research for each of their projects on time and within budget.

Learn more about Recruit, the product that made this story possible.

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