Characteristics of Mentoring Program Recruiting

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  • 0:00 Mentorship Recruiting Example
  • 4:21 Recruitment Selection Process
  • 6:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Because mentees require a substantial investment of money and time, and because they will have exceptional access and responsibility within the organization, selecting excellent candidates for a mentoring program is a critical task. This lesson will take a look at how mentors and mentees are selected.

Mentorship Recruiting Example

To begin talking about a mentoring program recruiting process, let's start by looking at goals and objectives of a mentorship program within the medical field.

Goals and Objectives

While the vast majority of privately-owned physician practices are shedding risk and selling themselves to larger health systems, a cardiology group in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has demonstrated resiliency and staying power as a privately owned partnership of more than 60 physicians. Like many other professional firms, this organization designates senior partners, managing partners, junior partners, and a small contingent of non-partner physicians who are in a formal mentoring program, or a program that pairs more experience employees with less experienced employees so they can pass on their knowledge.

A mentor is helped along in the operating room
A mentorship in a medical context

For this organization, the mentoring program exists to attract physician talent that's an excellent fit for the practice. The mentoring program generally lasts for 10-12 months, after which its success is determined by factors including the new physician's acceptance in the greater medical community, the acquisition of practicing privileges at all local hospitals, the development of mutually beneficial relationships with other area physicians, and good citizenship within the medical community and within the city itself. The mentoring program terminates when the existing partner make the decision to decline or offer a junior partnership to the physician completing the mentoring program.

Now let's look at the desirable characteristics of the mentees and mentors.

Desirable Characteristics

The methodology of the medical group's mentoring program can serve as an excellent model for virtually any industry. When reviewing candidates who have shown interest in joining the practice, the senior partners look for specific, pre-defined characteristics. In some cases they look for the absence of certain negative traits as well.


In our example with the cardiology group, the senior partners arrived at their selection process of mentees after spending long hours poring over the mission, vision, and values of the organization, and ensuring that their vision from the mentoring program helped select and cultivate candidates who would support those key parts of the business. In the criteria generated by the senior partners, candidates for inclusion in the process will display qualities like:

  1. A commitment to customer service and clinical excellence
  2. Expertise in one or more core competencies of the practice
  3. Sufficient aptitude and exceptional intelligence
  4. A professional personality that is neither too aggressive nor too passive
  5. An extraordinary work ethic as well as personal integrity

Almost without exception, the partners will reject candidates who have demonstrated a perpetual negative attitude, selfish motives, or any behavior that's publicly disparaging to the profession or the practice. The senior partners also review various social media platforms with great frequency as they make these decisions.


The organization is also selective about who's asked to serve as a mentor. The partners select mentors who have longevity with the practice, an above average work ethic, strong coaching skills, and a willingness to grant autonomy when appropriate. Additionally, the partners work hard to ensure that all selected mentors are entirely free of personal agendas or conflicts of interest.

Resource Requirements

Now let's take a look at resource requirements.

For many professional firms, time is a more important commodity than money. Utilizing a mentoring program requires that leadership grants the mentor extra administrative time to review, shadow, network, or educate the mentee. When mentors don't have sufficient time afforded to them, the value of the mentoring program breaks down rapidly, and no value is added by the program.

Because the workload of both the mentor and the mentee is reduced during the program, the organization must make a financial commitment to absorb the decrease in revenue associated with the time spent in the program. Many senior executives correctly emphasize that the costs associated with leadership turnover far outweigh the costs associated with maintaining a mentoring program.

Recruitment Selection Process

Internal Options

Let's look first at internal options for the recruitment selection process.

One option for recruiting talent is to choose a high performer from within their own ranks. In certain cases, this is the best option, since a basic knowledge of the organization and its operations allow for quicker advancement through the program. However, organizations must be careful to avoid falling victim to the Peter Principle. This principle, well-supported by empirical research, asserts that there's a fixed point in an individual's career at which further promotion places them in a role they can no longer fulfill effectively. Thus, companies considering an internal candidate must carefully consider if a candidate can function well at the next level, or whether they're currently serving in the most appropriate role.

A visual representation of the Peter Principle
Peter Principle

External Options

Now let's look at external options.

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