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Red flags to consider when screening

The role of the Screening team is to ensure that all mentors are safe, consistent, collaborative and mission aligned. Sometimes during the screening process, an applicant’s behavior may cause concern and a flag is documented. A red flag indicates a higher level of concern, and higher possibility for rejection. Below are examples of such red flags, but these lists are not exhaustive. Any flags should be discussed with a manager in 1:1’s and at the weekly team meeting:


  • Criminal disclosures, job terminations or volunteering dismissals that are related to violence, aggression or inappropriate behavior, particularly towards minors 
  • Shows clear biases which may negatively impact a mentee’s safety, such as bigotry, racism, discriminatory behaviors or intolerance toward difference 
  • Responds to any marginalized identity as something needing to be “fixed” or as if they would judge or be unsupportive 
  • Overshares (inappropriate personal information, lack of boundaries) 
  • Inappropriate behavior at events, aggressive or rude to iMentor staff, mentees or other mentors
  • Unusual focus on volunteering with children (eg. appears to have applied for a large number of youth serving programs in a short time) 
  • Was not accepted to or “didn’t like” another volunteering program 
  • Unwilling to disclose pertinent information about their background, avoids questions or is consistently “too busy” to talk for very long  
  • Overly cooperative and accommodating, displays an unusual level of enthusiasm for getting accepted into the program 
  • Interested in specific details about the schools or mentees (eg. asking when the mentees get out of school, specifics about where they live, etc.) 
  • Is inflexible about being matched with students other than a certain age or background
  • Rationalizes inappropriate behavior towards children by emphasizing the positive impact on the child  
  • Wants to be the one to teach a mentee about sex education 
  • Difficulty providing references who know them well  


  • High level of impatience towards screening, tries to circumvent parts of the process (eg. argue they shouldn’t have to get fingerprinted or provide new definitions) 
  • If we learn they ever stormed out on a previous mentee at an event or expressed anger towards a student
  • If we learn they disregarded iMentor rules and procedures after feedback during a previous match


  • Demands undue access to staff, other mentors, mentees or programmatic details 
  • Is wanting a new/second match because the mentee wasn't fulfilling the mentor's expectations
  • Overattachment to students’ outcomes or pushing agenda for their own desired career/life path 
  • Shows little interest in discussing subject matters outside of their political or religious ideologies 
  • Lack of empathy towards others, victim blaming, inability to take responsibility for own actions or privileges 
  • Assumptions that our students are dangerous or expressing deep concern about mentor’s own safety when in the presence of a student


  • Appears to have an inappropriate or separate agenda which does not support iMentor’s mission 
  • Wants to terminate current job position suddenly without reason (eg. applicant is looking only to enhance personal resume or gain employment with iMentor) 
  • Expresses wanting to be a "parent" to the mentee because they do not have any children of their own  
  • Over-involves themselves in the mentee’s life or family  
  • Has a trauma history and does not show signs of having addressed it, may be seeking to volunteer as a way to process own experiences 
  • Exhibits savior complex; the act of giving back and being seen as a good person is the focus, not actually student-centered  
  • Over-indulges children, unable to set limits or boundaries, believes children should be treated as adults in a way that is not developmentally appropriate