Remote hiring and onboarding: Interview with our web developers

Remote hiring and onboarding

written by Sophie Morawietz (Relationship Manager), Avenga Germany

Web developer Felix has been part of our Avenga Germany team since June 2020. Due to the Corona Pandemic we have been working mainly from home since March this year. Therefore both the job interviews with Felix and his onboarding took place remotely. In this interview, which we of course conducted via video conference, Felix and his team lead Lenny tell us about how getting to know each other and onboarding took place, and what experiences they made with the new remote situation.

Felix is one of the first colleagues we hired after a completely remote selection process. How were you able to make an informed selection decision in the new situation? 

Lenny: Job interviews that we used to have in person in our office are now conducted via video conferencing. Of course, if getting to know each other only takes place virtually, it’s different from meeting in person. But with the techniques we have available today and our experience from numerous job interviews, we were well prepared for the new situation and we were able to get a detailed impression of Felix. Therefore we were sure that we had made the right decision when hiring him :).

On which occasion did the two of you meet in person for the first time and how was that?

Felix: We met in the Cologne office on my first day of work. I got my hardware and access to different systems and we took the first steps together. I got to know my onboarding buddy and introduced myself at our remote developer team meeting, and then it was time to get started on the project I would be working on. Of course it was a pity that there were only a few colleagues in the office because of Corona, but this way I could find my way around and settle in without any stress. And I was even able to remember all the names of the colleagues I met on my first day of work :). 

How did you make sure that Felix was well briefed and integrated into the team? How did you communicate and keep each other up to date? 

Lenny: What’s really important when working remotely is to create a sense of closeness despite the physical distance, through a lot of transparent communication and also easy availability. At the beginning I spoke with Felix almost every day. The onboarding buddy is a second key contact person who is always available for questions and who quickly integrates the new colleague into the team. In addition, we have different regular meetings like our weekly company update or our developer team meeting. These appointments help new colleagues to get a clear picture of the whole company and to get to know colleagues outside the team. 

Felix: In addition, I had a quite extensive onboarding plan, which listed, among other things, the names of colleagues from the various projects and business units. I made appointments with these colleagues in the first few weeks. These meetings gave me a very good overview and also gave me insights into areas that I don’t have much to do with in my daily work. 

At Avenga, every new employee is assigned an onboarding buddy. This buddy usually works in the same area as the new employee and he can be contacted for all topics and questions. Please describe your experience with the buddy program. 

Felix: In the beginning, I met with my onboarding buddy, who works in the same project as me, almost every day. Due to the extensive support I never felt left alone at any time. On the one hand, I had enough space to familiarize myself with the project and everything around it, but I also knew that I could always turn to my buddy. For me, this was the perfect amount of support! 

Lenny: I think the role of the buddy is even more important in times of remote work. The Buddy supports the new colleague’s training, and at the same time he helps the new colleague to find his way around in the unfamiliar work environment and to integrate socially. 

What is your general attitude towards working from home?

Felix: In general, I appreciate the possibility of working from home. At home, there is less interference from the outside and I can work more concentrated. But I also hope that when the Corona situation calms down, more office work will be possible again. I miss the personal contact and the opportunity to really sit next to each other when working together. My ideal for the future is a balance between working in the office and at home. 

Lenny: At home, I can focus better on certain tasks. For me as a team lead, however, the situation also causes challenges. There is a greater distance between me and my employees and therefore closer communication, more planning and coordination is necessary. In the office, I get to notice challenges and problems almost on the side. My default after Corona would therefore be office work, and I would spend a day at home every now and then. 

What are your recommendations for colleagues who work remotely?

Lenny: It helps me to structure my working day well and to schedule breaks right from the beginning. In the office, there are always little breaks when you get a coffee or play a game of foosball. You should also take these small breaks at home and get some fresh air, for example. 

Felix: I can only agree with that. I’ve also noticed that as a new employee I obviously get to know my colleagues and also aspects of work and the company more slowly than when working together in the office. But that shouldn’t stress you out or make you jump from meeting to meeting. Instead, it is important to take time for colleagues and meetings. It has also helped me to prepare for and follow up on meetings, for example by taking notes or rereading something.

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