Frequently asked questions

 

Topics:

  1. Background to the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme
  2. Who can participate and what are the benefits of the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme?
  3. Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Recruiter Requirements
  4. The Accreditation Process
  5. Training Materials
  6. Compliance Structure for the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme
  7. Buyers of Recruitment Services
  8. Promoting the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme
  9. Costs
  10. Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Administration

 

1. Background to the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme

What is the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme?

The Recruiter Accreditation Scheme (RAS) has been developed to raise the profile and status of recruiters, by devising a training and accreditation scheme that recognises the knowledge, skills and competence of professional recruiters.

 

Why was the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme introduced?

Increasing concerns were being raised about the quality of some recruitment, particularly with the emergence of newer techniques particularly online and using social media. In conjunction with these concerns there was a need to recognise the excellent professional recruiters who are able to deliver quality recruitment time and time again. In order to address the quality issues and provide the recognition it was decided, after consultation with the sector including recruiters, that an accreditation scheme would be the best way to address the concern and provide the recognition.

 

How does the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme fit into MRS?

The MRS Company Partner accreditation scheme is the foundation for organisations to become accredited as part of the RAS.  Individual MRS membership is the foundation for individual recruiters to become accredited as part of RAS.

 

2. Who can participate and what are the benefits of the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme?

Who is eligible to become accredited?

Anyone who provides recruitment services and passes the accreditation assessment is eligible to be recognised an accredited recruiter.

 

Is accreditation different for individuals as opposed to organisations?

The assessment standards are exactly the same for individuals and organisations providing recruitment services.  The differences are with the administration and application process which is applied.

 

What does it mean if a recruiter is accredited?

If a recruiter is accredited it means that they will have met an adequate standard of knowledge and skill to have passed a third party assessment which tested a recruiter’s competence and the individual has maintained their annual re-accreditation.

 

How does the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme benefit me as a recruiter?

The recruiter scheme was designed to address two aims:

  •  Provide recognition for professional and competent recruiters
  •  Address quality concerns about some recruitment practices

As such the scheme should benefit both recruiters and research.

For recruiters it aims to provide:

  • Professional recognition
  • Professional status  
  • A pathway into the profession for new recruiters
  • Positive discrimination for accredited recruiters
  • Differentiation from ‘poor’ practice and practitioners
  • Improve understanding of difficulties facing recruiters  
  • Better qualitative recruitment briefs

 

How does the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme benefit my business which buys recruitment services?

 

The recruiter scheme was designed to address two aims:

  • Provide recognition for professional and competent recruiters
  • Address quality concerns about some recruitment practices

 

As such the scheme should benefit both recruiters and research.

 

For researchers it aims to provide:

  • Access to qualified recruiter practitioners
  • Assurance of quality recruitment
  • Improved recruitment practices across the supply-chain including realistic quotas, etc.
  • Assurance that legal & Code requirements are being met
  • Improve confidence in the research supply chain
  • Better qualitative recruitment
  • Re-assessment and appreciation of the difficulties facing qualitative recruiters

 

I am already an MRS member, what difference will accreditation make?

Entry into MRS membership needs to contain criteria which is widely applicable across the research supply chain to enable all stakeholder access to membership.  Within this MRS offers a range of qualification and accreditation routes to recognise specialist skills and knowledge on top of the membership recognition.  For recruiters the applicable route is the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme.  Once accreditation is achieved you will automatically be awarded MRS Member status, in addition to accredited status. If you are already a member of a different grade (e.g. a certified member) you will retain this grade.  

 

By being a member and having the recruiter accreditation demonstrates that you meet the standards required to be recognised as a professional and competent recruiters, plus the wider professional standards to be recognised as a member.

 

What grade of MRS membership will I be if I achieve accreditation?

Once accreditation is achieved you will automatically be awarded MRS Member status, and can use the designation MMRS, in addition to your accredited status.  If you are already a member of a different grade (e.g. a Certified member) you will retain the higher membership grade recognition.  

 

I am a recruiter who works for an MRS Company Partner organisation, so do I need to be RAS accredited?

The MRS Company Partner Scheme is the world’s largest network of accredited professional research organisations. MRS Company Partners abide by the MRS Code of Conduct and benefit from this by being recognised for their commitment to the very highest level of research standards.  However individual practitioner recognition is not part of the company Partner Scheme, and to receive recognition for individual knowledge and skill requires individual practitioners to undertake a separate form of assessment suitable to their skills set e.g. the Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice for researcher or RAS for recruiters.

 

3. Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Recruiter Requirements

I am a non-MRS member can I sign up to become accredited?

Yes.  All MRS qualifications and accreditations are equally open to members and non-members.

 

What do recruiters have to do to become accredited?

There are two routes to accreditation:

 

  • New and inexperienced recruiters will first have to undertake a comprehensive online training programme covering all aspects of qualitative research recruitment before being ready to undertake the online assessment.
  • Experienced recruiters do not have to undertake the training if they believe they have all the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the assessment.  Equally if some training is needed e.g. on newer techniques or current legislation an experienced recruiter can decide to undertake some training before the assessment.

 

Is the Scheme different for experienced recruiters?

Yes there are two routes to accreditation – one for experienced recruiters the other for new and inexperienced recruiters. 

 

Experienced recruiters do not have to undertake the training if they believe they have all the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the assessment.  Equally if some training is needed e.g. on newer techniques or current legislation an experienced recruiter can decide to undertake some training before the assessment.

 

I am new to recruitment what should I do to get started with the Scheme?

As you are new to recruitment the first stage is the online recruitment training.  There are 5 modules plus supporting resources and templates:

 

  • 1st Module: Introduction to qualitative research
  • 2nd Module: Traditional recruitment methods 
  • 3rd Module: New and evolving recruitment methods 
  • 4th Module: Data protection 
  • 5th Module: Project management 

 

Once accredited, what has to be done to retain accreditation?

As part of accreditation, accredited recruiters will receive access to up-to-date training to ensure that they continue to maintain the standards of the Scheme.  This is particularly important for evolving knowledge areas such as privacy and data protection.

 

Underpinning the accreditation is a complaint and compliance mechanism which is linked to recruiter accreditation.  Should an individual accredited recruiter and/or accredited recruitment organisation have a complaint upheld against them it is possible that accreditation may be lost. However, this would not prevent an individual or company seeking re-accreditation. 

 

Accreditation is also dependent upon annual renewal of any accreditation, including continuing to meet any criteria (i.e. maintaining the 50% membership for the corporate accreditation).

 

4. The Accreditation Process

What are the steps I need to take to become accredited?

First off you need to create an online RAS account in order to access the training materials, register to undertake assessment, etc.  

 

Are the steps different if you are an individual?

The steps are fundamentally the same, the only difference is that companies will have multiple staff that can undertake the accreditation and assessment.

 

Are the steps different for organisations?

The steps are fundamentally the same, the only difference is that companies will have multiple staff that can undertake the accreditation and assessment.  A minimum of 50% of all staff involved in recruitment must be accredited before an organisation can become accredited as part of the Scheme.

 

Are the steps different if you are experienced?  If so how?

Experienced recruiters do not have to undertake the training if they believe they have all the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the assessment.  Equally if some training is needed e.g. on newer techniques or current legislation an experienced recruiter can decide to undertake some of the training (but not all) before the assessment.  Either way the first step towards accreditation is to create an online RAS account.

 

Are the steps different if you are new to recruiting?  If so how?

The first step towards accreditation for anyone is create an online RAS account.  Thereafter, new and inexperienced recruiters have to undertake a comprehensive online training programme covering all aspects of qualitative research recruitment before being ready to undertake the online assessment.  

 

How long will accreditation take?

As with all professional development, the time is takes will largely be dependent upon you in terms of your existing knowledge and skills, the amount of time you dedicate to training and so on.  However based upon doing an estimate of 5 hours a week the accreditation should take between 6 – 8 weeks.

 

Is the accreditation process shorter if you are an experienced recruiter?

Yes the process could be done immediately.  The steps would be to register for the Scheme and then to immediate progress to undertaking the online assessment. However, only if the assessment is passed will accreditation result.  

 

What happens if I fail the assessment?

Failed assessments will not be publicised.  You can undertake unlimited multiple re-assessments until you have passed an assessment, however these will be charged at £25 per re-assessment.  If you fail an assessment it is recommended that the training materials are reviewed before further assessments are taken to reduce the likelihood of repeatedly not passing the assessment.

 

5. Training Materials

What training materials have been developed to support the Scheme?

The online training materials have been developed by the AQR and there are 5 modules plus supporting resources and templates:

 

  • 1st Module: Introduction to qualitative research
  • 2nd Module: Traditional recruitment methods 
  • 3rd Module: New and evolving recruitment methods 
  • 4th Module: Data protection 
  • 5th Module: Project management 

 

The assessment which is undertaken after the training and before accreditation can be awarded is based upon all five of the training modules.

 

Are the training materials available in alternative formats?

The training has been developed for online delivery. If there is sufficient demand for supplementary face to face delivery of the training MRS and AQR will consider ways to deliver this to ensure that there is broad accessibility to the training.  

 

Can I access the training materials even if I don’t wish to be accredited?

Yes.  The training materials are free for anyone to use.

 

How will it be assessed?

All of the RAS assessments will be multiple choice questions and will be undertaken online.  If there is sufficient demand for alternative formats, such as paper completion of assessments, this will be offered at fixed times each year.

 

What are the rules for assessment?

Assessments can be undertaken remotely, at home or in offices.  At the time assessments are undertaken individuals will need to sign an online declaration that they are working alone and not using aids to assist with the assessment. 

 

All individuals who undertake RAS assessments become MRS members (which is part of the accreditation fee), which includes a commitment to follow the MRS Code of Conduct, including the rule to act honestly.  Any false declarations during assessments will be investigated using the RAS Compliance structure.

 

Is there other training available, such as general IT training?

MRS is currently investigating whether more general skills training – outside of the specialist recruiter knowledge and skills – could be added to the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme provision.

 

6. Compliance Structure for the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme

Who is responsible for setting the standards which underpin the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme?

MRS as the regulator and Code-holder for market, social and opinion research is responsible for setting the legal and ethical standards which underpin the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme.  The MRS Market Research Standards Board is the MRS Board responsible for setting and regulating the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme standards.

 

How does the accreditation of recruiters link to the MRS Code of Conduct and MRS compliance procedures?

There are two regulatory guidelines which underpin the Scheme and which are brought together via the RAS Quality Commitment which is the quality ‘contract’ which binds the individual and corporate recruiters to the RAS requirements.  The two regulatory guidelines are:

 

 

Both documents are based upon the rules and principles of the MRS Code of Conduct.  

 

The Qualitative Research Recruitment – Legal Requirements and Best Practice: Regulations for Recruiters are binding on all Company Partners, Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partners and members plus all accredited recruiters.

 

All mandatory requirements detailed within MRS Regulations for MRS Company Partners:

Qualitative Recruitment are binding on MRS Company Partners, Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partners and members where members are in a position of authority which includes the selection and use of research services and suppliers.

 

By becoming accredited, individuals become members of the MRS and organisations become Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partners.  Both individual membership and the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partnership are supported by complaint and compliance mechanisms which would be used to investigate any complaints that the MRS Code and its associated Regulations and guidelines are not being upheld by accredited recruiters and/or accredited recruiter organisations.

 

Do recruiters have to be an MRS member to become accredited?

Accreditation of individuals is linked to membership of MRS.  Individual recruiters who achieve accreditation also gain MRS membership status, at a grade which matches the qualifications and experience of the recruiter.  

 

Do organisations have to be an MRS Company Partner to become accredited as an organisation?

Accreditation of organisations is linked to MRS Company Partner accreditation.  Organisations which offer recruitment services which achieve accreditation also gain Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partner accreditation status.

 

What happens if an organisation loses its accreditation, will all the staff within the organisation also lose their accreditation?

It depends on the nature of the complaint which resulted in the removal of accredited status.  If a complaint showed direct involvement of accredited recruiter staff it is possible that individuals may also lose their status.  However there may be occasions where an organisation loses its status but not all of the recruiter staff.

 

If an organisation breaches the MRS Code or associated guidelines which underpin the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme what happens?

If a complaint is received that indicates the MRS Code of Conduct and/or the associated Recruiter Regulations have been breached, organisations are obliged to co-operate promptly with MRS to enable MRS to complete an investigation using the MRS Company Partner Complaint Procedure (which underpins the corporate Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partner scheme). 

Serious complaints may result in the removal of an organisation’s accreditation.

 

If an individual accredited recruiter breaches the MRS Code or associated guidelines which underpin the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme what happens?

If a complaint is received that indicates the MRS Code of Conduct and/or the associated Recruiter Regulations have been breached, individuals are obliged to co-operate promptly with MRS to enable MRS to complete an investigation using the MRS Disciplinary Regulations (which underpins the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme for individuals). 

Serious complaints may result in the removal of an individual’s accreditation.

 

7. Buyers of Recruitment Services

As a buyer of recruitment services are there any specific rules that I need to follow?

MRS has developed some additional Regulations setting out the rules for qualitative research recruitment.  The MRS Regulations for MRS Company Partners: Qualitative Recruitment  are binding on Company Partners when buying recruitment services and also members who have responsible for the purchasing policies and can determine the selection of suppliers.  

 

However, whilst the Scheme is getting off the ground and recruiters are undertaking the necessary steps towards accreditation, the mandatory requirements within these Regulations, which are in addition to the current MRS Code of Conduct rules, are best practice only, this includes the need to only use accredited recruiters unless specific identified circumstances or geography prevent this.  The aim is that a transitional period will be included (of 12 months) after which all the rules within these Regulations will become binding on Company Partners.

 

As a Company Partner do I have to use the services of accredited recruiters?

The MRS Regulations for MRS Company Partners: Qualitative Recruitment are binding on Company Partners when buying recruitment services.  Within these Regulations there is a rule which states that Company Partners must ensure that only accredited recruiters are used unless specific and identified circumstances of geography prevent this.  

 

However, whilst the Scheme is getting off the ground and recruiters are undertaking the necessary steps towards accreditation, the mandatory requirements within these Regulations are best practice only, which includes the need to only use accredited recruiters unless specific identified circumstances or geography prevent this. 


As a member do I have to use the services of accredited recruiters?

The MRS Regulations for MRS Company Partners: Qualitative Recruitment are binding on Company Partners and members when buying recruitment services.  

 

For members, not working for a Company Partner, who are not in a position to determine purchasing policies for research services the Regulations are advisory only.  However, it should be noted that for Members and Company Partners the wider Code rule 4 applies when undertaking qualitative recruitment.  This rules states:

 

4. Members must take reasonable steps to ensure that others do not breach or cause a breach of this Code. 

 

When considering this rules the following issues would be considered:

  • Members taking reasonable steps to ensure that the people with whom they work (including for example other members, non-member practitioners, colleagues, clients, consultants, sub-contractors) are sufficiently familiar with this Code that they are unlikely to breach or cause it to be breached unknowingly or unintentionally, and 

  • Members with responsibility for implementing processes, procedures and contracts, taking reasonable steps to ensure that they are such that this Code is unlikely to be breached or caused to be breached by others unknowingly or unintentionally.

 

By only using accredited suppliers including recruiters, members would significantly reduce the likelihood of breaching rule 4.  In instances where a non-member/non-Company Partner supplier is used by a member and/or Company Partner the member/Company Partner would have to take responsibility for the breach.

 

What is the benefit of using an accredited recruiter?

  • There are a significant number of benefits to using an accredited recruiter:
  • Access to qualified recruiter practitioners
  • Assurance of quality recruitment
  • Improved recruitment practices across the supply-chain including realistic quotas, etc.
  • Assurance that legal & Code requirements are being met
  • Improve confidence in the research supply chain
  • Better qualitative recruitment

 

Why aren’t all recruiters accredited?

The Recruiter Accreditation Scheme is a voluntary accreditation scheme that has been developed by MRS and AQR to encourage recruiters and recruiter organisations to improve best practice in the collection, use and retention of participant data for qualitative recruitment purposes.  

Some recruiters and recruiter organisations may claim that they meet all the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme requirements, but only those that have successfully achieved accreditation can demonstrate, via the independent verification of accreditation, that they meet the legal and ethical requirements which underpin the Scheme.

 

Where can I find a list of accredited recruiters?

All accredited recruiters will be listed on the MRS website here.

 

8. Promoting the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme

Can I publicise accreditation on my website and promotional materials?

If an individual or an organisation is accredited via the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme, they will be issued with a logo which can be used on individual and corporate websites and promotion materials, etc. in accordance with the rules of the Scheme.

 

9. Costs

I am a freelance recruiter how much does accreditation cost?

Accreditation costs £154 + VAT and includes access to the training, assessment fees to become accredited and MRS membership.  Thereafter there is an annual accreditation fee of £77 + VAT which includes MRS membership and continued accreditation.

 

I own/manage an organisation which offers recruitment services; how much does accreditation cost?

Corporate recruiter accreditation fees: £154 + VAT per staff member for the first 10 employees, and reduced to £125 + VAT for additional staff.  These fees include access to the training, assessment fees to have individual staff accredited (and to receive MRS membership) plus the organisation accredited as a Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partner.  A minimum of 50% of all staff involved in recruitment (excluding temporary staff and adminstrative staff) must be accredited before an organisation can become accredited as part of the Scheme.

For subsequent years annual accreditation fees reduced by 50% e.g. £77 + VAT for first 10 recruiters and £62.50 + VAT for additional staff.

 

My telephone unit is IQCS and/or ISO 20252 certified; is it the same cost and process?

It is recognised that for those telephone units which have had their telephone operations certified to ISO 20252 and/or IQCS, and the training and monitoring requirements that this places upon the telephone unit, will mean there is less need for all the recruiters to undertake accreditation.  

For IQCS and/or ISO 20252 Certified Telephone Units to become accredited as Corporate Recruiters requires only the Compliance/Quality Manager responsible for training and the quality standards to be accredited as individual Accredited Recruiter, not 10 staff as for non-IQCS and ISO 20252 organisations.  In these instances, the individual recruiter fees would apply.  This does not prevent more staff from the Telephone Unit being individually accredited if they wish to.

 

What is included within the fees?

All fees cover training, initial assessment (not re-takes) and MRS membership and/or Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Company Partnership as appropriate.

Re-takes will cost £25 per re-assessment.

I wish only to use the training materials, how much does training access only cost?  

Access to the training materials is free.  All you will have to do is create an online MRS account and you will be able to access the training materials.

 

10. Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Administration

How do I register for the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme?

When developed, once you are ready to start training and/or undertake the assessment to become accredited you need to register an account on the MRS website.  

 

How do I get access to the training materials which support the Scheme?

To access the training you will need to create an MRS account which will enable access to the training which supports the Scheme.

 

How long will accreditation take?

As with all professional development, the time is takes will largely be dependent upon you in terms of your existing knowledge and skills, the amount of time you dedicate to training and so on.  However based upon doing an estimate of 5 hours a week the accreditation should take between 6 – 8 weeks.

 

What do I receive once I am accredited?

Once accredited individual recruiters will receive a membership card confirming that they are an MRS Accredited Recruiter and member of MRS.  

Accredited organisation will receive an Accredited Recruitment Services Company Partner Certificate and a digital logo to use on corporate materials.