Organisational Development

Recruiting and matching mentors and mentees

Recruiting mentors and mentees, then matching them into mentoring groups, is a critical part of running a mentoring scheme. Learn more here.

Promoting your mentoring scheme

When promoting your scheme to potential mentors and mentees you will need to provide an outline of the scheme’s benefits, requirements and expectations.

There are many options for generating interest in your mentoring scheme, for example you could:

  • use your mentoring champions to encourage colleagues to participate as mentors or mentees
  • draw on quotes or testimonials from previous mentors and mentees to demonstrate the benefits of taking part
  • organise a launch event to provide information and an opportunity for potential mentors and mentees to meet
  • highlight the mentoring scheme at meetings, events or inductions
  • promote the scheme through appropriate and relevant online channels

Selecting mentors and mentees

To enable the selection and subsequent matching of mentors/mentees it is useful to ask people to provide some information about their mentoring expectations, requirements and skills when they register their interest in the scheme.

Some registration form templates are provided in the scheme coordinator resources section or you can design your own.

You might want to use your registration forms to ask potential mentees questions such as:

  • What are your motivations for joining this mentoring scheme?
  • What do you expect from a mentor?
  • What would be a successful outcome for you at the end of your participation in the mentoring scheme?
  • Do you have any specific mentoring requirements?

Questions you could ask potential mentors include:

  • What are your motivations for being a mentor on this scheme?
  • What (if any) previous mentoring experience do you have?
  • What will you bring to the mentoring role? (This could be knowledge, experience, or particular approaches that you think would be of benefit to mentees)
  • How would you describe your mentoring style?

Matching mentees with mentors

In most organised mentoring schemes there will be an element of matching of mentees with mentors. There are different options for this.

Mentee self-matching

How it works: Mentees are provided with details about the mentors on the scheme and select the mentor(s) that they believe suits their requirements.

The pros: Mentee self-matching has the benefit that the mentee may be more likely to commit to the mentoring relationship and it may help get the mentoring sessions off to a good start.

The cons: However, as mentees are more likely to choose mentors who they identify with, it might limit mentee exposure to different styles and perspectives. If not managed appropriately, it could also mean that some mentors are selected by multiple mentees while others go unselected.

Coordinator matching

How it works: The scheme coordinators match mentees with mentors (or a selection of potential mentors that the mentee can choose from) based on the information provided in the registration forms.

The pros: Mentee preferences are taken into account in the matching process, but coordinator matching has the benefit that mentees are more likely to be matched with a mentor that will challenge them or provide new perspectives.

The cons: Coordinator matching does however put added administrative burden on the scheme coordinator. With a large scheme it can require a significant time investment.

Automated matching

How it works: There are a number of software programmes and apps that carry out the matching process for mentoring schemes. Mentee and mentor information and preferences are uploaded and used to generate possible matches with a ‘compatability score’.

The pros: Automated matching minimises the administrative burden on scheme coordinators

The cons: The software can be expensive and will likely remove some of the person to person interactions between the participants and the coordinators, which are useful when it comes to monitoring and evaluating the scheme.

Random matching

How it works: Mentees are randomly assigned a mentor from the mentor pool.

The pros: This is the quickest method of matching, and can sometimes work well.

The cons: Random matching doesn’t take into account mentee or mentor matching preferences and therefore may be more likely to result in break-down of mentoring arrangements.

Other things to consider when matching mentees and mentors

Management chains and the mentoring relationship

For productive mentoring arrangements it is often best to avoid matching mentees with their immediate line manager or close colleague.

Learn more about the distinction between mentoring and management

The experience gap between mentor and mentee

Often mentors tend to be more experienced in their career than mentees. However if the experience gap is too large, it may mean the mentor seems un-relatable or intimidating for the mentee.

A good guide, if going for a traditional senior/junior match, is to make matches where the mentor is one or two steps ahead in terms of job grade or career stage. It should be remembered that peer mentoring and mentoring based on personal characteristics offer distinct benefits.

Read more about the structure and format of mentoring schemes.

Whether mentors and mentees to work in the same discipline or profession

If your mentoring scheme is focussed on the requirements of a particular role or disciplinary outcome, it might be beneficial to have a mentor within a similar role or discipline.

However if the mentoring arrangement is to support professional development more generally, it can be advantageous to bring in mentors from a different discipline or profession, as they can bring about new ideas and perspectives.

Next steps

Contact us

Organisational Development
Human Resources
Sussex House
E od@sussex.ac.uk
T 01273 606755 ext 4806