Choosing the right recruitment style for your program
The right way to recruit participants for your mentoring program will always depend on many factors: your goals, how you want to measure success, or even how much time you have to dedicate to running it.
In this post, we’ll go through three recruitment styles, their pros and cons, and tips on how to make each style work best for your program.
Always-On / Open Enrollment
Building an always-on culture of mentoring
Open applications or sign-ups into your program on a set launch date and continue recruiting without a set close date. Keep your sign-up form open to allow participants to join at any time that suits them.
- Organisations that want to empower their participants to organise themselves into a match at a time that best fits them.
- Lends itself to Just-in-Time/Flash mentoring – mentees can sign up when they need guidance in particular areas (recent promotion, first presentation to the board, first time leading a company-wide project, etc.)
- New people are always encouraged to enter
- This setup makes it easy to embed mentoring into your organisation’s culture
- Engagement can drop off without intervention so PCs will need to spend time and effort on marketing throughout the year
- Your participants won’t be on the same timeline
- This can make matching difficult if you plan on matching manually
- The main thing to remember about Always On programs is that while they might work well organically, they shouldn’t be completely left to their own devices as participants can get disengaged.
- If you’re worried about guidance and structure, Mentorloop will guide your participants through milestones and send them relevant bite-sized content so they get the right content at the right time. Your participants will still be given a framework that works for their individual mentoring journey.
- We recommend allowing your participants to make their own matches if you’re going for this type of recruitment style. This alleviates the admin burden of having to constantly check for new signups and finding them mentoring matches. But we also recommend making sure your participants know to reach out if they need matching help. (On Mentorloop, we suggest including this in your PC loop intro.)
- Keep a close eye on your match rates. Check in regularly to see if participants want or need a new match. Regular matching events (e.g. every 6 or 12 months) are also a good idea
- If you are going to be doing the matching for your program, we recommend checking in once a week to make sure new participants are getting matched as soon as possible.
For PCs who want to prioritise time efficiency
Recruit in intakes. Open up your recruitment form periodically as you run your program.
Time-poor program coordinators with no access to assistance from an internal marketing or comms team. (e.g. program coordinators with big roles in which managing the mentoring program is only a small part)
- Marketing can be done on a schedule that suits you instead of having to market the program throughout the year.
- This recruitment style is also useful for drumming up excitement for the program and giving those “on the fence” a sense of urgency and incentive to join before a set closing date.
- This also doesn’t necessitate closing the program for those who have joined previous intakes so you can still support existing mentoring relationships.
- Your participants won’t be on the same timeline.
- If you choose to match participants manually, you will need to do matching after every intake period.
- We recommend clear communication when using this recruitment style to make sure everyone is aware of important dates.
- Before re-opening the signup form, it’s good to give your current participants the option of opting out, staying in the program with their existing mentoring partner, or continuing in the program with a different match.
Get your participants on the same journey
Open up applications for a set timeline, close applications, and start matching. Run the entire program with your current participants, then close the program. Start the process again for your next cohort.
- Industry or membership organisations with dedicated intakes
- Organisations that can’t afford or don’t have the time to run multiple programs or handle a large number of participants at once.
- Programs that have their own resources and events and would like all participants to be on a linear journey.
- This setup enables you to design a whole program for your cohorts because they’re all on the same journey
- This also gives you a good cadence for your program marketing
- This requires opening and closing a program, and therefore formally closing the mentoring relationships in the program, for every cohort.
- This is a recruitment style that enables you to plan a lot of engagement activities, so take advantage! Hold a welcome event, do some webinars, hold a mid-program check-in, etc.
- This recruitment style lends itself to all kinds of matching techniques, but to make it much easier for you, we recommend using the algorithm for minimum admin work.
- Be very clear on your program’s start and end dates in your marketing.
- It’s important with these programs to hit the ground running because everything is time-bound.
- Review your mentoring pairs, which we call Loops in Mentorloop, to make sure everyone is meeting and communicating. Reach out to those that aren’t and offer some support.
If you want to learn more about recruitment styles, you can download our sample program timelines to get an idea of what 12 months of running a mentoring program might look like.