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Onboarding A Remote Software Engineer: Traps to Avoid

The process of hiring the right software engineer doesn’t stop at just handing out the appointment letter. If you’re looking to hire a remote developer, then even more so. You’re hiring a technical professional who will be working for you from far away. After finding the right talent, you don’t want them to be disappointed with the way you bring them onboard because that could mean an exit.

Onboarding A Remote Software Engineer

If your software engineering onboarding is a mess, you can be sure that the talented employee will feel uncomfortable and directionless. This in turn means lesser understanding of your project, lesser productivity and a possible early resignation. Sounds like a nightmare? Guess what? It is completely avoidable!

What Can Go Wrong in Technical Onboarding?

1. Technical Onboarding is not the Same as Hiring

Read this one twice. Hiring and onboarding are two entirely different processes. One is when you’re dealing with the candidate, the other is when you’re talking to your employee.

Onboarding is all about getting the new employee acquainted with the company details, processes, vision, teams, culture and so much more. Skipping out on these important things and heading straight to work is going to get you into trouble. When companies go for remote developer onboarding, this gets common. The onboarding process of remote employees is usually neglected. Remember that out of sight shouldn’t be out of mind.

When you’re onboarding a software engineer, there needs to be a very detailed journey that familiarizes them with your in-company technology, tools and software. There also needs to be technical training to help them get comfortable with how everything works.

2. No Mentor in the Initial Months

You’ve given the new employee all the documents with company information. You’ve also given them a docket that contains all the details of the project they’re supposed to work on. This is great!

What your developer also needs is a supportive mentor. This is important because a newbie will grow faster with constant productive feedback and a listening ear. If there’s no mentor, the developer can end up feeling intimidated by his supervisors which lays a not-so-healthy foundation for your new software engineer. Working remotely can be especially overwhelming for new hires. It is important for them to have someone they can always go to for help.

3. Don’t Go Overboard during Technical Onboarding

Now, if you’ve taken note of the two points above, know that you’re supposed to do everything in moderation. Some companies go overboard with the onboarding process overloading their new tech hires with an insane amount of theoretical and practical information.

Imagine your new employee reading a 200 page history of your company. Add to this new product and project information and a list of 3000 policies. Know that all information might be necessary for the employee but a human brain can only process bite-sized information. Break it down into smaller parts, chop off the unnecessary and you’ll have your perfect onboarding process ready!

Your remote developers should feel like they’re a part of the company and also receive the necessary information about the project they’re hired for. All of this without anything extra that feels burdensome or unnecessary.

Technical positions are tough to fill because finding the right remote developer is a task in itself. On top of it, onboarding in the right manner is crucial too. How will you ensure that you don’t do a sloppy job at it? Let’s dive in to figure out.

Remote Onboarding Checklist

To make it easier for you to understand technical onboarding, break it down into three parts, each of which are important for remote developer onboarding. This will help you create a seamless onboarding process that will save you a lot of time in the future.

1. Pre-Onboarding

This is the very start. You’ve hired the desired software engineer. What do you do next?

  • Get the employment contract signed. Ensure that it has all the necessary contractual details..
  • Create a small work schedule document that also includes an overview of the expected role.
  • Create another document that lists down a broad overview of all projects the new employee will be a part of for the next three months.
  • Create a list of all the tools and apps that the remote developer will need to carry out the tasks. Make sure that you also describe the installation instructions.
  • Introduce the new employee to your company in an email. Schedule video calls with relevant teams as well.

2. Onboarding

  • Assign a mentor and initiate introduction calls.
  • Provide the information document. Remember, as mentioned previously, don’t make it an information overload.
  • Set up their official email address and provide access to other necessary tools as well.
  • Introduce the new hire to the team chat platforms and communities.
  • Initiate the training sessions.
  • Set monthly targets for the project to set expectations.
  • Assign bite-sized tasks and let the mentor track progress while also scheduling mentor feedback sessions.

3. Post-Onboarding

  • Weekly feedback sessions to evaluate progress and provide improvement tips accordingly.
  • Create long term targets for the remote software engineers so that they can prioritize their work and plan their employee journey accordingly.
  • Schedule a review session at the end of each month.
  • Schedule a grievances meeting as well to address the challenges faced by the new employee.

This sums up everything you need to get your new remote developer started! Remember, that remote technical onboarding is all about the right amount of information, helpful guidance and performance review. This process can be time consuming and requires non-stop dedication which is why it is best to hire an expert remote recruitment agency that can take care of everything.

From sourcing the right remote candidate to hiring and onboarding them, remote recruitment agencies are experienced to do it all. Why take the hassle? If you hire the best talent and your onboarding process is just right, know that growth will happen 5X faster than you ever expected!

He is a Blogger, Tech Geek, SEO Expert, and Designer. Loves to buy books online, read and write about Technology, Gadgets and Gaming. you can connect with him on Facebook | Linkedin | mail:


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