What Market Research Candidates and Companies Are Looking For

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What Market Research Candidates Are Looking For

Work Life Balance

Work life balance is one of the hottest topics in the job market with market research candidates requesting “core working hours” where the employee must be available during a certain window of the day but free to work an alternative schedule otherwise, “family-first culture” where doctor’s appointments, school drop-off and days off to be home with a sick child are not booked as PTO, and “wellness days” are mandated days off throughout the year for mental wellbeing.

In 2022, Smith Hanley recruiting had only one client request a five day office presence. Client-side positions typically offered two to three days in the office, with research companies more flexible going fully remote or local and one to two days in the office. This heads the list of what market research candidates are looking for.


Having women and people of color on company websites and in the leadership and staff of an organization is a priority for candidates. While we know changing an organization’s culture in a short period of time isn’t realistic, being honest and open about the culture your company has and where you are trying to go is a strong selling point for candidates.


Clarity of a market research candidate’s potential career trajectory at a company is becoming more and more important to share during the interview process. In 2022, for the first time, we had more than one client put details regarding review periods, increases in level and compensation and planned team growth into an offer letter. Personal growth and training has also been a consistent candidate request. We’ve had multiple candidates decline opportunities that did not offer tuition reimbursement or dedicated resources for training.

Affirmation/Positive Reinforcement

Throughout the interview process market research candidates are judged, graded and evaluated by unique metrics that often focus on their shortcomings and flaws. In so many cases, candidates do not get to hear the good things that are said about them and their strengths. As a hiring manager, if you like a candidate- tell them! While not every interview can end in an offer, offering feedback on growth areas or where they excel will help leave the candidate with a great image of you as a hiring manager and your company as well.

Competitive Compensation

In 2022, for the first time, every candidate who accepted an offer received a raise. No lateral or decreased salary offers were accepted. It is a candidate market and they are looking for competitive compensation that exceeds their next pay increase.

What Market Research Companies Are Looking For

Earned Flexibility and Work Life Balance

Companies are trying to implement the work life balance and flexible work culture candidates are seeking. To hire successfully in 2022 they had to. However, companies want to make sure it is an earned flexibility. They want to hire someone who is willing to put in the effort and proves to be an effective communicator while having a flexible schedule and decreased time in the office.


Companies understand that a diverse work force is beneficial for their firm as it makes the firm feel more inclusive to all cultures and more inclusive in their research as well.. A Zippia report has tracked the market research analyst gender breakdown found in 2010 57% of the workforce was male but as recently as 2019 that number has moved to 50%. The same report also found that as of 2010 the majority of market research analysts were white at 73% while today it stands at 68%. Latino and Asian ethnicities saw the largest increase in representation in recent years.

Passion & Loyalty

Companies want to interview candidates who want to work for their company. They also like candidates who have shown growth and commitment in their prior positions. If a candidate’s background is full of one to two year stints at other companies, it is a red flag.

We often hear that companies are passing on candidates because they felt the candidate was under prepared or showed little interest in the work the company does. All candidates should be able to answer “Why do you want to work here?” with a thoughtful and genuine response. If this is a question you cannot answer, the role is probably not a good fit.

Honest Communication

Companies put effort and time into recruiting employees and they want to talk to candidates that take the process as seriously as they do. Come prepared and show enthusiasm for the role. Ask questions. Be clear about your timeline, why you’re considering a job change, and where you are in other interview processes. Not interested in the role after learning more? Totally fine, just let them know. Stop the ghosting!

Clear Expectations

Companies want to see candidates who can speak directly and confidently to their needs and expectations. What are you looking for in a new role? What about our company is motivating? What are your salary requirements? Being direct and honest helps make the negotiation process more natural and successful. We are seeing changes in the marketplace that help the salary discussion like the new transparency law passed in New York and similar laws in 16 other states.

What to Expect in 2023

We believe 2023 will take a step back from the hiring frenzy of 2022. The urgency for hiring will return to normal levels and salary increases will start to plateau. It will be interesting to see if candidate’s can continue to negotiate hybrid and remote models in light of many companies pushing for a regular office presence. We are hoping for more client-side flexibility, as they will have difficulty finding great talent as long as they require candidates to relocate and commute. Given the immense amount of movement and attrition in 2022, we are forecasting a more stable job market, as candidates become settled in their new positions and companies restructure their hiring needs.

Cheers to a year of success!

Please reach out to Smith Hanley Associates for all of your hiring needs in 2023.

We’d love to hear from you.

The Market Research & Consumer Insights Team

Lindsey Bartlett, Practice Lead
lbartlett@smithhanley.com, 312.273-9897


Daniel Wilberschied, Executive Recruiter
dwilberschied@smithhanley.com, 773.457-1222


Pierson Wofford, Executive Recruiter
pwofford@smithhanley.com, 217.414-7878

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