Finding Focus Group Jobs

By Eric Hammer

Focus group jobs are not strictly jobs in the classical sense of the term. These kinds of projects are meant to be a chance to get together and talk to others about your opinions of a particular product (more on that in a moment) and, in order to ensure that you come for the group, they'll pay you for your time.

So why do some people refer to this as "focus group jobs"? The reason is quite simple - A number of people actually make their living from going to focus groups to share their opinions. While the groups rarely want you if you are a "professional focus grouper," the reality is that if you can play the game, you can earn a real living doing this.

The idea is that you will go and sit with a group of other men or women and comment on various products. Companies want to know what you think and they are hoping you will like their product. While you are of course free to share what you really feel, in most cases, those who go to focus groups say that the best idea, if you want to be called back repeatedly is to simply confirm for the company whatever it is they already want to believe.

How Much Can You Make?

Focus groups can pay as little as $20 or as much as $300 for a single session. Sometimes, they will give you rewards of things other than money, though that is rare and usually offered only for groups that don't require a large time commitment. The official rules for most focus group companies say that you can only participate once every six months, however, you can often get away with doing them more often.

Finding focus group jobs simply requires a bit of research. Check the resources below for several places that regularly list focus groups looking for participants. Beyond that, look at Craigslist and your local newspaper classifieds to find out where focus groups will be held in your area.

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While focus groups theoretically should relate to honest opinions and have a range of opinions about a product, at least one person who goes to focus groups all the time suggests that they really just want to hear confirmation of their own opinion.

The company arranging for a focus group generally wants homogenous, stereotypical people who will act like every other person rather than the individual who may actually think for him or herself. Therefore, if you are a truly opinionated person, look for something other than focus group jobs or keep your opinions to yourself and just agree with the general feeling in the room.

If you are interested in trying out some focus group jobs but don't want to travel, several such programs are available online, including places like e-rewards and AOL's survey service. The catch is that these places always pay with "prizes" such as gift certificates for bookstores or Some however do offer small cash payments via PayPal.

Qualifications / Requirements

Officially, in order to get focus group jobs, you need to breathing and that's pretty much it. Unofficially, certain demographics are highly prized by companies and so it helps if you are in the 18-34 year old range and single. Both men and women in this age range are considered primary targets for advertisers. Beyond that, senior citizens are often popular with focus groups as are moms. Basically, the focus group companies want people who have plenty of disposable income and the power of the purse in the family.

First Steps

Start by filling out online applications for as many focus group companies as you can find (check the resources below for several places to look). Then, keep an eye on the local paper and craigslist and call in for additional focus groups as they appear. Be ready to go with only a day or two notice as many focus groups will contact you on the weekend to ask if you are available for some time during the week.


Check out these helpful resources to find out more about focus group jobs:

New York Magazine: Group Thinker - A slightly tongue in cheek look at how to get lots of focus group jobs.

Twitter: Findfocusgroups - A Twitter feed that regularly updates with links to focus groups looking for participants.

The Focus Room - An example of a focus group company looking for participants.

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