What is the Criteria for Matching a Mentor with a Mentee for Career Development?

September 28, 2016
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Your organization is on board and excited about the new mentoring program. The objectives are aligned. The program administrators are primed and ready. And the stakeholders are excited about unrolling the new program. The next step is matching your mentees and mentors.

There are a lot of different areas that mentoring programs can help with such as leadership development, knowledge transfer or diversity. In this case, we are going to examine what the criteria are for matching mentor and mentee for career development.

One of the most crucial steps that can make or break your corporate mentoring program is the matching of mentors and mentees. A bad mentor match is not only a waste of time for the mentor and mentee, but hurts the ROI of the entire program. [Tweet This] The key to a successful mentoring program is having a clearly defined business objective. From there, the focus should be on optimizing skills and competencies of the mentors and mentees to create the most successful match.

Criteria for matching mentors and mentees

  • Need for mentoring

    A program based around leadership development may aid high potential employees in achieving the responsibilities needed to take on leadership roles. In this example, we are focusing on career development. The urgency for the mentoring program needs to be clearly defined to align with the business objectives. This will allow for everyone to be on the same page in regards to goals of the program. Mentoring for career development will also allow the mentee to invest in their future with the company by strengthening and developing the skills needed to climb the organization's career ladder.

  • Competencies required for the business objective

    In order to elevate the career development focus of the mentees, the mentors need to have ample availability for the mentee. The mentor needs to be an active listener and have a firm foundation in the company to establish credibility. The mentor also needs to be in a field relevant to the career the mentee is looking to develop.

  • Similar function in the organization

    The mentor needs to have a function in the organization that the mentee is needing development in. If the mentee is in the marketing department and needs help developing his skills in online engagement, it would not make sense to have that mentee paired with a mentor in sales. It is advisable that the two are in the same field so that the knowledge exchanged can be understood. The mentee can also develop a long term relationship with this mentor in his or her organization to have an ally in that department.

  • Matching by career level

    The mentee needs to be paired with a mentor that is at a higher career level, especially for career development. A mentor in a higher career level allows the mentee to “look up” to the mentor, and it establishes some credibility from the beginning. Additionally, the mentor obviously has been where the mentee is and has the competencies needed for the mentee to reach the level of the mentor.


  • If a mentor and mentee are not properly matched from the beginning, it can be a waste of time for everyone involved. One way to ensure a fruitful match between mentor and mentee is to invest in mentor matching software. Insala specializes in developing an organization's mentor matching software that will allow the mentee to choose his or her mentor based on their profile and proficiency. Contact Insala today to schedule a demo, or to get more information on mentor matching technology.

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