So you’re looking for a new job where you can influence decision-making research while also using the industrial espionage skills you picked up in that nefarious government agency that you joined after that cocktail party that one time. Perhaps a lapel assignment is a great way to sublimate your urge for world domination through “secret activities”.
Lapel work is one of the most polarizing data collection methods in the research field. While some people are excited about the autonomy, solitude, and straight forward nature of these positions, others are turned off by the unannounced nature of the roles. Positions that fall under the lapel category require discretion and a job seeker who is able to do their work without drawing an excess of attention to themselves in public places. Also, the lack of consistent interaction with other people on this role is great for misanthropes, the painfully socially awkward, or people who are secretly aliens.
Companies use this type of data collection to observe subjects / businesses in public at their most candid or to gather data without it being altered by the respondents or circumstances. The most common form of lapel work is the Secret Shopper position, which allows workers to pose as customers at stores and restaurants to rate the quality of the service in a company’s locations. This allows the company to improve shortcomings or praise workers who provide excellent service.
Pro Tip: A great and unethical way to improve the service you receive at restaurants or retail stores is to “accidentally” let it slip that you are a secret shopper. This victimless lie will almost ensure great service and will saddle you with minimal guilt and/or shame.
Currently, Headway’s lapel positions focus on the retail industry and gather pricing information from popular stores by scanning the UPC codes of certain items with a high tech and inconspicuous device. This information is used to help companies compare pricing. Working on a lapel position can be a bit tricky. Here are a few tips for more success in your next lapel assignment.
Dress like a normal person.
The way you look is important in this type of role. In order to “act natural” you must dress as you naturally would. If you feel comfortable in what you are wearing and fit in with the crowd you are blending in with it is an ideal outfit for the job. However, if you conduct research in your local grocery store dressed in chainmail, you may get more questions than you’d like.
While the job is completely legal and fairly common, uninitiated managers can be slow to accept something that they are not familiar with. The best way to handle this issue is to simply explain that you are collecting pricing information to compare prices. If you are asked to leave you can definitely do so as the client should have another location for you. Most people won’t care. It’s hard enough to find someone to help you in any store, having them come to you willingly is a rare treat.
Know Why You’re Collecting the Data
You’re headed to these stores to collect pricing data. The collected data is used to help companies stay competitive and profitable by finding the local market price of items throughout the country. So, whether people are buying a new peacoat for winter or purchasing a sewing kit to repair their summer peacoat, you’re the one who has gathered the information necessary to make sure that their admittedly strange purchases don’t cost more than they should.
Pro Tip: Think about how strange a person who has chainmail and a “summer peacoat” must be.
All in all Headway’s lapel positions are a great first step to research work and a good fit for candidates who don’t favor personal interaction or need an off hour schedule.
How are you successful at completing lapel work? Comment below!
Article Contribution By: Johnathan Hasty