How to Survive a Remote Onboarding: 6 Testimonials from IT Professionals

Starting a new job remotely makes you nervous? These 6 IT professionals have been through a 100% remote onboarding process so they have lots of useful insights to share with you!

You’ve been working remotely for a few months and you’re comfortable doing that. After all, you know the people very well – you’ve been working in the same team and for the same company for years – so you know exactly who you need to talk with according to the different issues you may face while doing your job. 

But you think it’s time for a change so you find yourself an exciting new job. The new job checks all the points in your list, there’s only one little thing that is bothering you: the onboarding process might be fully remote. Yes, you were comfortable with remote working in a company you were totally familiar with. But a new one? You’re not sure.

We could give you several reasons for you not to be nervous about a remote onboarding process but we had a better idea: we talked with 6 IT professionals (and KWANers) whose onboarding process happened after the start of the pandemic, therefore their first weeks on the new project were done at the distance! 

Keep reading to find out and learn from their experiences! ????

Meet the professionals interviewed

André D’Avó // Software Developer – EAI/OM developer // 2 years and 4 months of experience, 1 year and 5 months as a KWANer

André Dias // Software Developer // 15 years of experience, 7 months as a KWANer

Bruno Pereira // Information Security Specialist // 12 years of experience, 11 months as a KWANer

Carlos Santos // Web Developer // 4 years of experience, 1 year and 7 months as a KWANer

Carolina Costa // Functional Analyst // 5 years of experience, 1 year and 6 months as a KWANer

Filipa Martinho // Product Owner // 15 years of experience, 2 months as a KWANer

Now let’s get into their answers and learn about their onboarding process.

1 – How was your adaptation to KWAN and to the project you work for?

My first days at KWAN coincided more or less with the appearance of COVID-19, and the remote work was still something very new and unknown.

This adventure first started at the end of February 2020 when the first conversations between me and the Ambassadors of KWAN took place, little was known about the pandemic at this time, I was still able to have a face-to-face interview with the client, but one to two weeks later the restrictions started. At that moment we were all challenged by the situation and KWAN was definitely prepared.” – André D’Avó

It was very easy. KWAN’s advice and follow-ups were very good. There’s nothing I had trouble with that KWAN didn’t help me. The client was also very receptive, which made the onboarding so much easier than I thought it would be.” – Bruno Pereira

Regarding KWAN it was easy, as it was still in person (for a very short time I was able to contact with people directly). As regarding the client, the teams’ availability to help, made the process much easier and faster. There was nothing that a call and screen-share couldn’t do!” – Carlos Santos

2 – Your first months in the project were fully remote or did you still have some in-person interactions?

100% remote!” – everyone

3 – Do you think companies were prepared to conduct virtual onboardings?

It’s a good question, but remote work was already a topic addressed before the pandemic by several companies, still as something “experimental”. This ended up helping and facilitating the quick transition that came with the beginning of the pandemic’s restrictions, as it already existed in theory.” – André D’Avó

Yes. In my case, the mindset to work remotely was already present in the company and the infrastructures were ready to support this type of work.” – Carlos Santos

I believe there was a lot of resistance to this matter due to the companies’ insecurity regarding the effectiveness of remote onboarding. Many companies have been forced to do it and after realizing it works, they now consider doing it in the future. But were they ready? I don’t think so, especially due to the way they had to do it. However, I believe that, for most companies, the result was very satisfactory and promising.” – Bruno Pereira

4 – Do you think the integration of someone who starts on a new job, with a fully remote onboarding, is more or less difficult compared to an in-person onboarding?

I think it’s different. Neither more nor less difficult. It also depends on how experienced the person is. If it’s their first job, it might make sense to have face-to-face interaction. When you already have some experience and have gone through several onboardings, I think that the issue of remote or face-to-face may not be relevant.” – Carolina Costa

I think it can be more difficult, since your colleagues aren’t next to you to help you out. But there are factors that can make it easier: the availability of the team to make calls and explain things, and the project being well documented makes the onboarding much easier.” – Carlos Santos

5 – How do you deal with everyday things that before remote work you wouldn’t even have to think about them… such as turning to the colleague next to you and asking for information? Or gaining trust with the people you work with?

Using internal chat tools to ask for help, scheduling 1:1 meetings to get to know the colleagues, and taking advantage of the first days to get to know people, since you don’t have so much work yet. – Filipa Martinho

Communication tools have evolved a lot! I usually send a message via chat and if necessary, I send an audio message depending on the tool. I think trust can be gained during video calls because people get to see each other. – André Dias

You have to find alternative ways to do it. I believe that subject has two sides, actually. On one side, you have the loss of interpersonal relationships and the fast access to information. But on the other side, not having this “easiness” makes you look for answers autonomously, and with research. As a result, the professional increases their learning capacity and knowledge. And I prefer it this way: to earn people’s trust, not because they see me in the office, but because I deliver good work. – Bruno Pereira

I personally find it easier to get comfortable with people working remotely. I think I’m part of the generation that, fortunately or otherwise, spends a lot of time in front of a screen. So it’s easier to “interrupt” people through TEAMS than in person. I feel less “annoying” remotely. – Carolina Costa

6 – What strategies do you recommend for those who start a job without being able to interact with their colleagues in person?

  • Participate in initiatives organized to promote socialization remotely;
  • Read all documentation that is passed to you in your first weeks at the company;
  • Ensure that all doubts you might have, are cleared;
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your teammates or to people from other departments in order to get the help you need;
  • Share doubts/challenges/fears before they become real issues;
  • Don’t be afraid to share that you’re not meeting the objectives you were proposed; 
  • Don’t be afraid to share that you’re not keeping up.”

– Carolina Costa

To have team spirit, to help each other, to be proactive, to be curious about the business and to ask everything you don’t know, so you’re able to do your job well. – Filipa Martinho

7 – Do you think that meeting colleagues in an almost exclusively virtual way affects your relationship with each other? And with your manager?

I think that belief is already evolving since video calls, group video calls, and even remote happy hours are now possible. However, in my opinion, the relationship between colleagues and the boss will depend on each person and their attitudes. Remote or in-person, I think the relationship will end up being the same. Even in a professional environment, we’re talking about people, so the relationship will always have ups and downs. – Bruno Pereira

I think it does. It may end up being fewer, the people we take from work to our personal life.

Regarding the manager, I think it really depends on the person. There are incredible bosses who made remote an “easy” experience and there are bosses who complicated things and didn’t know how to effectively manage their teams remotely. – Carolina Costa

In my way of thinking, no. For both the manager and the team, I see the result of the work as essential to create trusting relationships, both in the professional and personal environment. – André Dias

8 – Do you have any story resulting from your virtual onboarding that you would like to share?

I can just share that it was the best onboarding experience I’ve ever had compared to 3 others I’ve had in person. Both KWAN and the client did their job very well! – Carolina Costa

As a Brazilian immigrant, in the beginning of my contract, 10 months ago, I was having a hard time understanding the Portuguese accent. So while having video calls, lots of times I was sending private messages to a Brazilian colleague in our team, asking stuff like: “What did Joaquim just say?”, “What is ‘ficheiro’?”. ????

I was lucky to have great people on my team, not forgetting about the Portuguese who were, and still are, very patient with me. – Bruno Pereira

How to start on a company remotely: final thoughts

We hope these questions and their answers help you feel more comfortable about accepting that new exciting job. Regardless of the onboarding process being in person or remote!

If you haven’t found a new job and you think it’s time – after realizing that a change won’t be that hard – talk to us!

Our team of recruiters will be happy to help you find a project that matches your skills, ambitions, personal taste, and favourite tech stack. ????