One of the most important jobs of any mentoring program administrator or coordinator is to create suitable matches. And while the actual ‘matching’ usually gets the majority of attention here, there is an often overlooked and potentially more important element of creating those great matches: surveying program participants to gather the necessary and right ‘profile’ or matching data.
Mentor and mentee profile/matching data can be captured by sending out a questionnaire to prospective mentors and mentees – or via sending out a recruitment form via mentoring software.
And while there is an almost infinite number of survey question combinations you can ask, we have compiled a list of our must-asks, so that next time you go to make those mentor-mentee matches, you have all of the right data to make the matching process a breeze.
10 objective survey questions you must ask your mentors and mentees:
(1) What’s your name?
An obvious question, for obvious reasons.
(2) Where are you located?
If in-person meetings are important to your mentoring program, it helps to know where people are located. You may also want to flip this and connect people into remote mentorships to connect your workforce etc.
(3) What’s your Linkedin URL?
In the 21st century, you can save your mentor or mentee a lot of mentorship discovery time by giving them access to their mentor or mentees professional digital footprint: LinkedIn.
(4) Would you like to be a mentor, mentee, or both?
This is an important question for obvious matching reasons (pretty hard to match mentors with mentees without knowing whether they are a mentor or mentee). But it’s also important to ask mid-level managers whether they would also like to be mentored – even though they are obviously suited to being a mentor too. If not, the experience is still a learning one, with all mentors being inherently involved in reverse mentoring anyway.
(5) What’s your current job function?
e.g. sales, marketing, strategy, management, operations, Talent/HR, IT, engineering etc.
Many mentees want to be connected with a mentor who aligns with their own career path or aspirations. Find out who aligns with who.
(6) What are your greatest strengths?:
e.g. communication, leadership, design etc.
This is a great question for connecting mentors and mentees into productive mentorships. Maybe you want to connect like-strength people; maybe you want to connect people weak in certain areas with people strong in those areas. Either way, it helps to know their current strengths.
(7) Where would you like to grow your area of expertise?
A follow-on to the question above, maybe a mentee is currently working in sales but would like to transition into more marketing focused roles. The goal/desires of the mentees are more important than their current state (mentoring is outcome focused – forward-looking).
(8) What’s the #1 thing you would like to get out of your mentorship:
e.g. general career advice & guidance, industry-specific expertise, management/leadership development, expanding my network etc.
It’s important to expand upon the question of expertise above. There are many ways that a person can grow their expertise and career prospects in an area of expertise, and it helps to know which one is top-of-mind for the mentees. This is also a question to measure against at the end of the program, to showcase employee outcomes.
(9) How would you prefer to communicate with your mentor/mentee?
e.g. Mentorloop, email, skype, phone etc.
While this question isn’t a make or break, it can be highly beneficial to have a mentor and mentee match where both want to communicate via Skype, or phone, or email etc.
(10) If you had to describe yourself (select all which apply):
e.g. sports nut, techie, social butterfly, dog lover, foodie, health nut, traveller etc.
There’s nothing better than a bit of common ground. Try to find some great icebreakers and commonalities between mentors and mentees with questions on the lighter side.
5 more subjective survey questions you must ask your mentors and mentees:
These questions require a little more human touch. While they aren’t objective, and therefore don’t make for simple filtered or algorithmic matching, they allow the coordinator/matcher to delve a layer deeper; a layer which uncovers many of the aspects that create those really great mentorships.
(11) In 3 years time, you would like to be doing [X] in [Y]:
Humans don’t have the ability to think too long term, but you can glean a lot of insight from asking someone where they want to be in a few years time. How ambitious are they? Do you have a mentor in your cohort who knows the exact path to that position because they are already there – or have been there before?
(12) Your top passions are:
You can leave this one open-ended or make it multiple choice to encourage mentors and mentees to be matched on a deeper level. Mentorships aren’t only about professional development.
(13) What are a couple of the major challenges you are experiencing and trying to overcome in your role at the moment?
Is the mentee having a hard time with their boss? Or struggling to transition to leadership? If you can align these problems and hurdles with a mentor who is in the best position to help them overcome them – you are onto a winner.
(14) Describe your ideal mentor or mentee:
This question really gets to the heart of the type of person and attitude each mentor or mentee would like to be paired with. While you probably can’t give them their ideal mentor or mentee – asking this question can help you get close.
(15) What does mentorship mean to you?
What’s their philosophy on mentorship? Do they see it as a very active endeavour? What do they hope to get out of it? Asking these questions can help you align expectations – which is half the battle in creating conducive and productive mentor-mentee interactions.
There is an infinite number of viable (and great) questions which you can ask to match your mentors and mentees. Contextualise them in what your company does – and what your main mentoring and employee goals are.
Want some more help building a better mentoring program?
Download the mentoring toolkit which has been downloaded and used by thousands of people like you. It comes complete with all of these mentor survey questions for your reference, as well as other handy tools.