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Red flags to consider when screening

It is the role of the Screening team to ensure that all mentors who are matched with our students are safe, consistent, collaborative, and aligned with the mission of iMentor. Sometimes during the screening process, an applicant’s behavior may cause concern that they will not be able to meet this standard, causing the screener to create a flag for the applicant. A red flag is the language the Screening team uses to discuss applicants where the concerns are severe enough that we are likely to reject the applicant. Below are examples of such red flags, but these lists are not comprehensive. Any flags should be discussed with a manager in 1:1’s and a Screening Weekly meeting:


  • Criminal disclosures, job terminations or volunteering dismissals that are related to violence, aggression, or inappropriate behavior, particularly towards minors 
  • 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 iMentor serves (eg. asking when the mentees get out of school, where they live, etc.) 
  • Is inflexible about being matched with students other than a certain age or background (eg. a certain age, background)  
  • Rationalizes inappropriate behavior towards children by emphasizing the positive impact on the child  
  • Demonstrates having adult connections that seem superficial, difficulty providing references who know them well  
  • 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 
  • Egregiously overshares (inappropriate personal information, lack of boundaries) 
  • Inappropriate behavior at events, aggressive or rude to iMentor staff, mentees or other mentors 


  • Has high level of impatience towards screening process, tries to circumvent parts of the process (eg. argue they shouldn’t have to get fingerprinted) 
  • Is wanting a new/second match because the mentee wasn't fulfilling the mentor's expectations
  • 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 vocally inflexible towards requirements for their potential match  
  • Overattachment to students’ outcomes or pushing agenda for their own desired career/life path 
  • Shows little interest in subject matters outside of their own 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) 
  • Recently experienced a major life change and wants friends/company 
  • 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  
  • Wants to be the one to teach a mentee about sex education 
  • Over-indulges children, unable to set limits or boundaries, believes children should be treated as adults in a way that is not developmentally appropriate