Finding Quality Beta Testers: Selecting Qualified Testers

Using Beta Testing to accurately evaluate customer satisfaction starts with recruiting qualified testers. Throughout this series on Finding Quality Beta Testers, we’ve covered the basics of recruitment: developing a solid recruitment plan, defining the best testers for your project, and writing an effective recruitment message. Now comes the last but essential part – selecting the testers who will be the best fit for your project.

Designing Your Qualification Survey

A qualification survey is a short screener that helps you gather vital information about incoming test applicants. Including one helps you decide which applicants show the most promise.

The qualification survey has two parts, each addressing different types of information. The first portion screens for core requirements, as well as demographic and technical segmentations. The second section helps you gauge tester aptitude and enthusiasm.

You can use responses from the first part of your qualification survey during the tester selection process to filter out unqualified applicants. It gets a little more challenging when it comes to designing the subjective questions for the second part of your survey. Here are a few approaches you can take:

  • Ask indirect questions. Most people have trouble remaining objective about their own skill sets. Rather than relying on self-assessment, ask indirect questions. For example, you might ask, “What would you do if your computer crashed?” to gauge technical proficiency.
  • Ask open-ended questions. There’s more to qualified testers than their demographic requirements. Open-ended questions like “Why do you want to test this product?” give candidates the opportunity to show how they plan to contribute to your test. It’s also your chance to see how well they communicate and what viewpoints they could bring to the project.
  • Make some questions optional. Don’t require answers to all of your qualification survey questions. This will help highlight which applicants are willing to take the time to be thorough and complete (which is exactly what you want for your test).

Another good rule of thumb is to keep your qualification survey to 20 questions or fewer. The application process is a great opportunity to gauge how much energy a candidate is willing to put into your test. Still, you don’t want to wear potential testers out before they’ve even finished applying.

You can make sure you’re collecting enough information about your applicants by mapping out your survey questions. Download the Beta Tester Recruitment Kit and use the Qualification Survey Template to get started.

Selecting Qualified Testers

Once you’ve published your promotional content and sent out email invitations, a targeted pool of applicants will start to materialize. As soon as your first applicants start rolling in, the tester selection process begins. Your Recruitment Plan will serve as a guide for your team, giving them all of the information you need to select the most qualified testers for your product. By hand-picking ideal candidates from an already targeted group of applicants, you’re ensuring better quality feedback and higher participation rates.

As you’re selecting qualified testers, it’s a good idea to reserve a surplus of alternate ideal testers. This helps you avoid the possibility of having to reopen recruitment. It will also help you increase tester engagement if you’re struggling to hit your participation goals or want to extend the testing period. A reliable surplus amount is usually an additional 20% to 30% of your core number.

The tester selection process has three steps:

  1. Filter for the applicants that meet your core requirements. Keep your applicant pool tidy by filtering out unqualified candidates or those who don’t fall into your necessary tester segmentations.
  2. Review open-ended responses. Revisit the open-ended survey responses of each qualified applicant for clues about whether or not they make an ideal tester. Look for thorough, enthusiastic, clean, and clear responses.
  3. Choose the best fit for your project. Select enthusiastic, qualified applicants who also fit into the technical and demographic segmentations. If you have one demographic or technology segmentation that is particularly complex or challenging to fill, select testers that fit that requirement first. Use your list of “nice-to-haves” to decide which testers are the most ideal.

Keep a close eye on your progress to make sure each tester segmentation gets filled. If you notice that you’re not getting many applicants for a certain segment, you might need to adjust some of your messaging or create additional hyper-targeted outreach campaigns.

What Happens When You Get It All Right

While taking a detailed, structured approach to this part of your Beta Test can extend your planning period, it will simplify your team’s efforts during test execution. You’ll see a boost in qualified candidates before your test, and an increase in quality feedback submissions during.

Recruiting excited testers is the most straightforward and effective way to increase test participation rates. Their enthusiasm will keep them consistently coming back to your project to provide detailed, useful insights on how to improve your product before launch. With effective plans in place and quality feedback rolling in, you’ll have both more time and more data to derive useful product recommendations.

Thinking Ahead to Future Recruitments

By the end of the testing period, you’ll have a solid sense of which testers performed well and which did not. You’ll want to stay engaged with high-performing testers for future projects. Keeping a list of active participants, or better yet, having a user scoring system in place, lets you stay engaged with testers you’d like to invite back. That way, your all-stars will be first in line when it comes time for your next Beta Test.

You also want to continue proactively cultivating a community of profiled and enthusiastic test candidates. This makes recruiting for future Customer Validation projects faster and easier.

If you’ve stuck with us through all four parts of this series, you should have a much clearer idea of the planning components that go into finding and recruiting qualified testers. For the latest best practices, exercises, and useful templates to help with your next Beta Test recruitment, download the Beta Tester Recruitment Kit from our resource library.

Download the Kit

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