Is your company experiencing interviewer burnout, high interviewer turnover and low retention?   If we listen to what respondents have said in past CMOR surveys, we’ve heard that these are areas that researchers can control.  Researchers can work on improving the selection and training of interviewers, but even more importantly, developing a strategy to keep interviewers motivated and satisfied with their work.   Most of us know instinctively that there are some interviewers that we’ve wanted to clone because they consistently do well and seem to be able to gain cooperation from anyone.  Nowadays, we just knew a few new ideas, and this is the ultimate goal of the CMOR Interviewer Motivation and Satisfaction Task Force.

In CMOR’s first Respondent Cooperation Workshop in the spring of 2002, attendees identified that keeping interviewers motivated and satisfied with their job was a key component of gaining respondent cooperation.  A task force was formed with numerous volunteers and lead by co-chairs Ellen Gregory, MRSI and Morris Davis, M. Davis & Company.  In order to solve a problem, first we needed to gain information about the current situation among companies in our industry.  So naturally, a survey was formed.  Eric Brasssell, ISA Corp. provided the web data collection and tabulation.   Ron Kornokovich, OPINIONation provided the report writing.  Other key contributors to the committee included:  Chuck Signumnd, Kaiser Permanente Healthy System, Kyle Vallar, Nielsen Media, Sharon Abrams, Synovate, Karen Bradley, Consumer Contact, Kathleen Goodwin, CRS, Mary Glover, CRS, Kim Hoodin, CMOR, Valerie Enderle, MRSI,  and Leslyn Hall, Burlington.

The objectives of this project were:

  • To determine the overall job satisfaction among interviewers and managers associated with primary data collection by telephone or in-person;
  • To measure the importance of, and the satisfaction with various job benefits among this group, and their likelihood to continue in the industry;
  • To evaluate the importance and effectiveness of various motivational incentives;
  • To learn what employers could do to make an interviewer’s workplace a more enticing place to work;
  • To ascertain the demographic profiles of interviewers who work within research companies that collect data by telephone or in-person.

The conclusions were:

  • A majority of the interviewers are satisfied with their position.  With a majority responding that, they are very likely to remain in the industry.  In general, the smaller the facility size the higher the level of satisfaction. Those who have worked in the industry longer also are more satisfied.
  • Employers are doing a good job in providing their employees with those elements that are most important.  However, it appears that three of the top four elements that are most important to interviewers have the most room for improvement.  Those being; being fairly rewarded, having working equipment, and being treated fairly.
  • Respondents cite the most important benefits employers can offer are: Pay, Personal Satisfaction, Work Environment, Pay Increases, and Flexible Schedules.  The least important benefits are; Tuition Reimbursement, Spontaneous Incentives, Ongoing Incentives, Savings Programs, and Professional Development opportunities.
  • Pay-related incentives are deemed as the most effective benefits employers can provide, followed by gift incentives, recognition and refreshment/food incentives.


  • Larger facilities may have to work harder on maintaining satisfaction given they have more interviewers and it is more difficult to provide individualized attention to interviewers.
  • Expanding ongoing training and advancement opportunities for longer tenured interviewers may be factors that help increase their overall satisfaction.
  • Differentiation of benefits between part-time and full-time interviewers may need to be more apparent or significant for full-time interviewers to believe they are being treated fairly or appropriately recognized for their contribution to the organization.
  • Operationally, research companies should try to involve interviewers more extensively in the questionnaire development process where possible.  This would help develop questionnaires that are easier to administer, while involving more interviewers in the process.  Better performing interviewers could be the ones asked to provide input in recognition of their superior performance.

The committee has not stopped their work.  Their next major step is compiling a list of best practices as reported by companies in the industry.  The goal would be to create a set of guidelines that would help in satisfying and motivating interviewers, and ultimately helping improve respondent cooperation.