Let’s Talk About The 3 Mentoring Program Recruitment Styles

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 the three recruitment styles and their pros and cons. 

Let’s get to it.

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.

Great For:

  • 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

On-Off Recruitment

For PCs who want to prioritise time efficiency


Recruit in intakes. Open up your recruitment form periodically as you run your program.

Great For:

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.


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.

Great For:

  • 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.


For more on recruitment styles and tips on how to make these recruitment styles work for your program, head to the Mentorloop Academy where our team of mentoring experts share best practices for program management learned from running hundreds of successful programs through the years. 

You can also download our sample program timelines to get an idea of what 12 months of running a mentoring program might look like.

Ready to explore what kind of program is right for you? Let us guide you into discovering what your best mentoring program looks like with our Program Explorer!


Launch the Mentoring Program Explorer

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Grace is our Content Marketing Manager at Mentorloop. She's also a keen cook, a dog mom, and lover of all things tropical.

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