The Ramp-Up to AAPOR: Behind the Desk with Ruth Johnson

Come meet Ruth Johnson from Headway in Research at booth#26 at AAPOR

Working with Headway’s research support sector has been such an integral part of my career growth. I started at Headway approximately five years ago in a recruiter role, supporting our RTI hiring efforts. As the research sector of our business has grown, developed and improved – so has my career. I’ve grown along with our research team and consider it the basis of my success at Headway. When I started working with this industry, I had no prior knowledge that it existed or what it encompassed, so learning about the vast network and array of social science and market-based research being conducted day in and day out has been so interesting, and I’ve really enjoyed helping Headway to fit into the dynamic world of staffing research projects.

Finding the right fit for a research study is a bit like matchmaking. Every study needs something different: a person who is a strong intercept interviewer may struggle in an education/school-based study. People who are great at household interviewing in New York may have no success in Utah. Brief market research interviews requires a different skill set than social science research or political canvassing – the challenge of finding the right person for the job on a nationwide scale is what makes this business so interesting, and where Headway excels.

With years of experience staffing for research projects, we have a keen understanding of what works where – what type of candidate is needed for each different genre of research study, and how to find that person. Our team loves to get creative in tapping into resources for candidates who may have exactly the right skillset, but may not know about the wide world of research interviewing. Of course, we also have a the vast database of experienced staff we’ve built up over the years, and putting those skilled interviewers on project after project and helping them grow in their careers is so rewarding. I love being able to provide solutions to customers who don’t know how they are going to get the data they need, and even better is allowing clients to say “yes” to projects they may previously not have bid on – because Headway is there to support the employment side of the study.

One of the best things, for me, about going to AAPOR is getting to see the impact of all of our hard work. We live in such a small part of the research world – the staffing of the data collectors – that it really helps to put things in perspective to see how the people we’ve hired lead to data being collected and analyzed, and then conclusions drawn and presented at AAPOR. It’s neat to see the end result, when we so often see just the very beginning stages. Additionally, working from our centralized office in Raleigh, I have little opportunity to see all the people I work to support on a daily basis, so it’s really great to meet people face-to-face whose voices I know so well. And, of course, a trip to New Orleans is a pretty good selling point for AAPOR this year too!

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