Free Onboarding Template – how to set up a simple onboarding process?

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One of the principal principles of IT recruiting is the need (and the ability) to keep all the information, files and documents perfectly categorized.  Each recruiting agency should develop their own system that will help them collect all data and keep team members and clients in loop. Luckily, there are numerous tools that can help recruiters keep track of applicants, CVs, interviews and appointments. Some of these tools should be frequently used in other segments of hiring process too. They can improve onboarding process and help your team welcome aboard new members with ease.

What is Onboarding Process?

Onboarding process is about welcoming a new employee onboard by helping them adapt to the new environment. It usually takes place within the first month and it implies introducing a new colleague to the rest of the team and to his new duties, schedule and responsibilities. Everyone on the team should be providing them with information and participate in making their adjustment period easy and stress free. Onboarding process should be done strategically but it must contain that certain something that distinguishes your team from others. Plan this process carefully and keep it friendly.

Why is Onboarding Process important?

Some researches show that it takes a year for new employees to fully adapt and reach the level of achievement their (veteran) colleagues are at. Not saying statistics lie, but a whole year does sound a little excessive. Especially if we have in mind there are many ways we can help out new colleagues.

Being clear about tasks, targets, goals and objectives is mandatory. Your colleagues and employees are familiar with your ways, but it a newly hired person will most likely need some time to adjust to the environment. And the adjustment does depend on the onboarding process.

Developing an onboarding program strategy and setting it in motion will most likely have a positive impact on your finances, among other things. The costs of losing an employee are way higher than the investment you’d make in onboarding process. Back to the researches and statistics – first year of employment does turn out to be crucial. Companies lose over 25% of all new employees within this period.

Benefits

1. Improved employee performance

It is known that a successful onboarding program has the power to increase employees’ productivity up to 54%. This program should be carefully planned and custom made – although some steps need to be followed, you should follow them in a way that suits your company. Stick to the plan and gradually incorporate a new member into your teams’ ways and daily occupations.

2. Increased employee retention

Employee retention is another important aspect you need to look into and take care of. Losing a new employee can seriously damage your budget and affect your projects. Standardised onboarding process will largely contribute to the improvement of this aspect. Onboarding program done right will increase employee retention up to 50%.

3. Happier employees

Happy and healthy working environment consists in various components. Cool projects and good organisation are just one part of the story. There’s more to team work than that. It’s important for everyone in your company to feel accepted and to feel free to ask questions and speak their minds. People on your team need the right amount of autonomy and some room to grow, but they’ll also need supportive and trustworthy environment. Onboarding program helps newly employed to feel welcome and to truly become part of the team.

Setting up a basic onboarding process

Each strategy is different, and that’s exactly how it should be done – each company should adjust the onboarding program to their needs, values, standards and goals. But no matter how you choose to plan and perform this program, it usually last lasts 30 days. These are the most common time frames:

Pre-start

Onboarding process should begin before the new employees’ official day one. It’s important to cover the initial “getting to know each other” ground. First impression and proper introduction are always those keynote thoughts that seem to stick with you for more than just a while.

It’s also undoubtedly important to make sure all equipment is provided. This usually means getting a computer or a laptop for the employee, those devices should be on top of the list. There might be other stuff you’d want your employee to have, but those variables are mostly changeable. You should have a list of priorities and make sure all the necessary devices and things are at the office right on time and that they’re fully functional.

First day

You can start to incorporate a new colleague to the team by emailing them – they will appreciate it. You can provide them with some additional information and let them know you’re at their disposal. The email should be genuine and substantial and the HR writing it should be using the language that reflects the company’s culture. This opening email represents a virtual tour of the office.

The virtual tour isn’t enough, and this is why it should be followed by an actual tour. Show them around, introduce them to colleagues face to face. Some anecdotes won’t do any harm either, let them see the fun and friendly side of the office (even if you’re corporate to the core).

You should notify them about their rights and obligations at the very beginning. This is why you should have an employee handbook prepared in advance. Make sure it’s updated.

If there are some forms to fill in (and they don’t necessarily need to wait for the starting day), you could send those over to them too. It will save them some time and the energy (yes, we can admit here and now – no one is particularly crazy about bureaucracy, especially on their first day).

First week

New employee should get to know a little bit about everyone and everything during the first week. Memorising colleagues names and nicknames might be the toughest job for some. Don’t forget to add them to mailing lists, Skype groups end other. Keeping them posted when it comes to daily tasks is easier if you include them in these discussions and threads. You should make sure they fully understood their duties and that they’re familiar with stacks you’re all using.

First 30 days

First month should be the period of familiarizing. It’s all about getting used to a new working environment and you should pay some extra attention to helping a new employee obtain a certain level of knowledge and understanding of his new position. Provide them with information, let them know if you have any suggestions and ask them about their opinion. Being supportive is a teamwork. Not only a new team member can pick up on what matters when it comes to a project itself, but they’ll get the impression they can rely on their colleagues.

Free Template Onboarding Process Example for Tech Teams using Trello

This Free Template Onboarding Example was made with love for small tech teams setting up an office in Serbia. Within this Trello board, you can find template B2B contracts, Sexual harassment template and much more documentation you might need when hiring.

Trello is a task management app that helps you know Who is working on What based on a Kanban system developed to keep production level high. It’s free and there are endless ways to use it. Join the board here. 

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I researched Applicant Tracking Systems (So you don’t have to)

Are you having hard time handling your talent pool and worried with upcoming GDPR? Then you probably tried to figure out which ATS would suit your needs. ATS stands for applicant tracking system and the idea behind this software is to automate company’s recruiting and staffing efforts, but also to manage candidate’s data. Handy little thing. The bad news for HR and PeopOps teams is there is a bunch of them (more than 300 in the market at the moment to be exact). Our team tends to move fast so we can keep our average time per hire at 2 weeks. From the moment we receive the job description to the moment a stressed manager starts thanking us, we only think about tracking our time and productivity. Staffing agencies use CRM’s and we couldn’t afford the whole team to do the research. The decision was I should do it. I’ve found an article named The top 100 ATS in 2018 . Oh, the excitement. 
 

I wanted to learn which ATS are the biggest sharks out there using.

Well, none of them. Google developed their own ATS product called Hire. The bad news is that this software is available only for companies that use G Suite and are based in US.  Facebook also developed CRM for their needs. This might not be the best solution for every company cause it takes up a lot of planning and resources if you want those cool features like video interviewing or employee referrals. We developed CRM for our needs and it’s far from perfect. It’s also far from cheap and we don’t even have “the cool features”. The truth is, most of the applicant tracking systems are built for small to mid sized businesses. Large organizations usually need more custom features and I figured Breezy has that option. Also comes with a “custom” price.

What happened when I used the ATS

I researched a bunch of them, but decided to write an overall review for just a few of the most popular ones. The most common elements are: career sites, applicant tracking, advanced search options, interviewing tools and analytics. 1. recruitee has career sites with customized application forms, you can even customize hiring workflow for each position. They also have this drag & drop option, which gives the user a nice kanban/trello feeling. Apart from the great UX, it offers a nice set of features for recruiting teams and integration with Slack. They listed pricing, so go check it out. 2. Workable says they are the most popular ATS, yet no pricing. The workflow is quite much the same as previous, it starts with a career site where applicants apply. Once they appear in your pipeline, each candidate will have their own profile. Workable has built in sourcing tool, based on booolean queries. Mobile apps available. 3. SmartRecruiters looks like pobresito comparing to the previous two. You'll find four tabs and for each job you'll have well drew up charts and data about the position. What I hated is how many pages I had to read to figure out what features this ATS has. KISS. 4. Zoho AKA the free one. There are actually two types, one for HR teams and one for staffing agencies. The free package for staffing agencies comes with Candidate Management, Career Website, Client & Contact Management, Email Management, Interview Scheduling and Job Posting Management. It is cloud based, offers integrations with social media, API or email, but it is provided only in Enterprise model. CV parsing also comes with few bugs. Much like others, you can customize ATS to your needs, migrate data etc. Does the trick for small recruitment teams. Bonus warning for recruiters: I noticed there are bunch of these charts, tracking your efforts. There are companies that are not able to meet their hiring needs due to different reasons. Seeing these charts might just motivate you to pursue your dream of being a farmer. I am kidding you not, I'm not even a recruiter and these things seem mean. (under pressure playing in background)

What to focus on when choosing an ATS

Social Media Sourcing

Copy/pasting a job offer to social media, and then adding a pic can be a drag. But, we’ve been used to doing it manually, and it gave results. What we’ve discovered is there are ATSs that allow you to connect your official LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter page to it, and to post your job opening through it. Due to instagram’s policies, we all still dwell in sort of a limbo where we have to manually post. However, three out of four doesn’t sound at all bad. Good example of this is zoho. It may not be included in a free pricing plan, but at the end of the day, the level of optimization is completely up to you, and ATS is there to help you optimize your process.

Posting to External Job Sites

This one is a no brainer. It is necessary for acquiring applicants, and possibly the applicant who will be just perfect for the job opening. Luckily enough, most ATS’s we’ve looked at have this option. This option adds an additional dimension of security and creates more confidence in applicants that you are offering a stable and reliable work. Zoho has a basic function for this in it’s free pricing plan, and recruitee and workable offer this option.

Compliance with local laws

Four letter everyone should pay attention to are GDPR. Fortunately, all ATSs we’ve reviewed disclose where data is stored, and how it is protected. A good example of ATS disclosing this information is recruitee. You might also want to research if and how taxes are applicable.

Mobile Capabilities

If you’re a small agency owner, and you’re on your feet most of your time, it’s very important, as it is to me, to be able to access and see where in the selection process the applicants are, on the move. Workable and SmartRecruiters both have apps that will provide you with necessary insight to see how your candidate is doing in the selection process.

What I learned losing my mind over this ATS madness 

1. It’s an absolute must have if you have a lot of applicants asking for internship opportunities; 2. It can improve candidate experience, you’ll send feedback right on time; 3. Most of this softwares rely on a “post and pray” strategy. Reality is that in IT recruiting - the best talent out there are passive candidates and won’t apply through your career page. You would have to add their info manually or ask them to fill in data. 4. … which also reminded me that if there is a fill out form with more than 3 questions, Seniors just ain’t gonna do it if they are not really into the position; 5. Some of them are really pricey and you will probably have to talk your CEO/CTO/CFO into it; 6. Design sells; 7. It really depends on the size and needs of the organization;

What are your experiences? Hit the comments.

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How to hire a suitable tech recruiter

You don’t have to be a recruiting expert or a hiring master mind to know there are certain rules and requirements that need to be obeyed and fulfilled in order to have a fully functional and above all motivated team. Welcoming new members aboard can get surprisingly difficult sometimes (even if you followed all the instruction and your instincts too). Recruitment agencies are there to help you avoid these situations, but you should acknowledge the fact they’re not unmistakable either.   The good news is that chances of having hiring doubts and problems can certainly be minimized (let’s not be pretentious and speak of completely eliminating these odds, at least for now). Good HR strategy can substitute the usage of crystal ball and help you spot potential problems before they actually occur.    And you’d need the right staff to create a successful staffing strategy. There’s a whole set of rules and distinctions when it comes to recruiters too.

What does it take to succeed as a tech recruiter?

  • Dedication with a dash of gazing 
First indicator of crafty (and hirable) IT recruiter is patience. Recruiting, when being done properly, requires time. If someone’s willing to tiptoe around a LinkedIn profile (and possibly around other social media profiles - no stalking potential intended), plus to be regularly checking out other platforms and sources, he might be a keeper. This patient tech recruiter will look into (almost) everything that can possibly be useful and found online. He’ll track down information about candidates (and clients when needed) and he’ll categorize it carefully and methodically.    Keeping colleagues in loop and keeping files, CVs, documents and information organized will contribute to success of the whole team involved in recruiting and hiring (no matter how big or small the team might be). Even if there’s one single recruiter working for you, his behavior and competence (or the lack of it) might easily effect the entire company.    So - Don’t choose a sloppy recruiter, he’s almost destined to mix up names and available positions and the next thing you know – you’re hiring a Senior Ancient Greek Satyr (priceless for development of 5th century B.C. theater but inexplicably bad if you’re developing a team of IT experts).    And here’s the thing – every recruiter should examine those professional (and/or social) networks. But he has to know about boundaries and make sure never to cross certain lines.   
  • The thin line between being thorough and plain scary 
The worst case scenario – a recruiter being desperate and needy. If a recruiter messes up big time and confuses a bunch of stuff, or seriously mispronounces some names and tech terms – there’s still a possibility they’ll miraculously manage to persuade a developer into considering their job offer. However, being winy or tedious will surely get them a one way ticket to “seen”.     If you’re looking to hire a tech recruiter, make sure he knows how to deal with deadlines, stress and ultimately – each recruiter must know how to communicate and distinguish persistence from perpetual, compulsive texting. The kind of individual that’s willing to exchange quality for quantity is very much likely to send texts without true substance (which will lead to extremely poor response rate, and then back to more pointless texting).   Yes, recruitment gets difficult sometimes, the market keeps getting more competitive and everyone’s in a hurry to hire. But this is no excuse for anyone to come off as borderline obsessive. Following up every now and then is a must, just make sure they know the frequency limit before they end up characterized as literal head-hunters.   (x) Cold-calling is out of the question. (x) Emailing or texting until you’re blocked, banned, or ostracized are not allowed. (x) Generic texts and copy-paste messages aren’t welcome. (x) Irrelevant information and redundancy are inadequate and will most likely be ignored.  
  • The importance of questions and coffee
Recruiter is indirectly taking part in your employer branding. This is the person that should represent your company with all its’ values. They need to be fully aware of the priorities and they should be asking questions about basically everything.   

Be specific about what truly matters so they can spread the word. 

Let’s imagine for a moment you’re contemplating a career change. You’re receiving some offers and this really poetic text hits your mailbox. You’re being informed about some utopia among IT companies, everyone there has some cool Tolkien - like title and they’re all having so much coffee you can’t help but wonder if the job’s actually on a plantation.  Feeling special because you received an offer like this yet? Of course not, you know better. So does a (potentially) good recruiter.  

Attention, employers! Do not withhold information from our fellow recruiter.

If the employer (or some other person in charge) doesn’t provide a recruiter with the necessary information, the result might sound like random babbling about unicorns, rock stars, vegan burgers etc.   

Recruiter needs to be all about the questions. 

And they need to be well informed and up to date. You should be looking for a tech oriented HR enthusiast who’s asking the right kind of questions and who’s able to correctly rank benefits from “very important” to “wow, look – a doormat that glows in the dark”. It’s easy to spot a person who’s eager to learn and develop new skills. Successful recruitment has very little to do with seniority itself sometimes. Have this in mind while hiring:
Experience does not necessarily equal the amount of time spent doing something.
They should be asking significant questions, and so should you. 
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What is Pay per Stay?

Switching jobs or looking for people to join your team takes a significant amount time and even more dedication. The entire hiring process implies a lot of searching and questioning on each end, but it also brings a certain feeling of accomplishment once this difficult task is successfully fulfilled. Our job is to be that link between talents and those who are looking for an opportunity to meet them and invite them to make their team even more exceptional and productive. Knowing we’ve done something good and contributed in someone’s career is what keeps us wanting to improve our ways. And we’re managing to grow by constantly finding solutions for problems our clients and candidates frequently come across. One of the ideas we came up with to make hiring easier and accessible for a variety of companies is called Pay per Stay method, and it’s actually very simple and efficient.

The Rubik’s cube

Each business owner is faced with numerous challenges and often with difficult decision making. The responsibility for maintaining each part of the company highly functional becomes a standard part of the daily routine. To put this simply, here’s what it is like for an entrepreneur: a coffee break followed by a full time contemplating and “what if”-ing section of the day.
Even though there are many amazing people with all the necessary skill sets, knowledge and all kinds of mojo any company would gladly welcome aboard, there are numerous small but inevitable factors one must have in mind when hiring.
Finding “the perfect match” is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube – everything must fall right into place. Only in this case it’s a little less colorful and far more realistic. This Rubik’s cube is about structuring many elements, but these might pop up as the most important ones – the candidate must have certain tech skills required for the certain position, then there’s the part that’s often called “a culture fit” (and we’ll use this term until we come up with a more suitable one), and there is the always tricky question of a budget. Luckily, this is when our Pay per Stay method jumps in and saves the day. Or at least saves you from the notorious so called cash burnout syndrome. Before reviling the actual concept of this payment method let’s take a moment and explain what collaborating with us implies. Our number one priority is to collect all the relevant information about you and your company in order to reach out to the right crowd. Your first step would be to provide us with all the details about your current aspirations and future plans. And we’ll handle the rest – sourcing, screening and interviewing would be our preoccupations. Your next task is to check your inbox regularly and have a look at all the resumes we collected. It’s time for you to get introduced to experts interested in your projects and eager to hear more about what is it that you do.

The What Ifs

After carefully considering resumes and getting properly introduced to the candidates, you chose to hire someone. No matter how thoroughly we searched for suitable candidates, there is always a variety of potential scenarios, and unfortunately there’s always a slim chance something might not turn out as you planned. So, in case you decide that a person you hired does not entirely meet your expectations after all, you would need to do something about it. And that “something” is usually a code word for terminating the contact in majority of cases like this. What comes next? Well, our Pay per Stay method would surely cut your expenses if something like this happens.
And hopefully it will also cut your stress level in half.
The agreement we would offer you consists in dividing your payments for our services into 12 equal monthly fees. Think of it as a sort of insurance that if things go wrong you won’t be losing both – the new employee and the capital you invested in this whole hiring process.

The honest model

If we’re all down on our luck and your collaboration with the employee we introduced you to breaks for whatever reason, we would immediately stop charging you. The next step is entirely your choice – we could look further and find someone to take the first candidate’s place. We would appreciate any feedback from you and it would be more than helpful if you provided us with as many details about what went wrong as possible.  This way we can have all the pieces of this hiring puzzle together while looking for a new member to join your team. If you go for this option and let us keep searching for the person that will fit perfectly into your team, the payment method would remain the same. But the very good news for you is that we wouldn’t start charging you from the very beginning once you hire one of our candidates again. For example, if the first candidate you’ve decided to hire leaves after two months and after a while a new one comes along and you choose to welcome him to your team, we would send out our monthly fees as from the third month. All kinds of expenses on your end would just be paused for a while so that you can retain the necessary resources until we find a definitive match.
This brief introduction is meant to show a little bit of what we stand for.
Pay per Stay method of charging was created with the idea to encourage those who are in charge of smaller teams with the tendency to grow and those who are looking for a way to start their own business. What triggered this idea is the fact we are also a small group of people gathered around a goal to do something big that would hopefully have a positive impact on everyone we work with. Feel free to get touch with us. We would love to hear from you and get to know you. And we’ll gladly tell you more about our approach and our ways of making hiring easier and cost effective.
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Tips for a better onboarding process to improve new hire satisfaction

Everyone knows that happy, engaged employee is a proactive employee, but a recruiter can’t go around and ask the employees how they feel. The more productive tactic is to plan an excellent onboarding process that will show new employee everything they need to know about the company and their duties. The thing is that more than 30 percent of employees have left a position within six months of starting, usually because companies didn’t plan the onboarding process well. Does a new employee have a good relationship with their colleagues? Do they know what the company's goals and values are? Is their work valued? These are just a few questions that a recruiter should deal with.   

Why is onboarding so important?

HR professional society SHRM define onboarding as “a process of integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as getting a new hire the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team.” However, there are more benefits of a successful onboarding process:

Positive start

Yes, new hire accepted a job offer, but they are still not 100 percent sure that the job will be what they expect. The first impression will help them form an opinion about the company, so if this process is chaotic or unhelpful, you could scare them away.

Better job performance in the future

If the company is organized, an employee will be, too. They won’t waste their time on social media because they don’t know what to do and who they are supposed to ask simple questions. Their job performance can only go forward if the initial period goes well, so don’t leave new employees in the dark.

Keeping employees in the company

You don’t want them to leave the company after a few months. This would be a huge waste of time for everyone. Employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years or more.

Customers will keep coming

Customers see everything. So, if your employees are engaged and productive, customers will see that and keep coming. Everyone likes to work in a pleasant environment, so engage employees from the start in order to increase customer satisfaction.   There are many reasons why the onboarding process is a must for every company, but let’s focus on things IT recruiter agencies should do in order to build a strategy for the process. Let’s find out how you can make a remarkable first impression and convince new hire to stick to your brand.

Starting before the first day

Yes, the first day of the work is very important, but it’s also important to prepare a new employee before that. They may know how to get into the building, but there is a number of other relevant information that recruiters can give them before they start. Let’s see what.
  • Written plan in PDF -  every company should have it in order to skip the usual questions. Take a time to collect all the necessary information and find out exactly what you want to include in the document. You can add some things in advance, but when you finish it, you can send it to every new employee. Remember, this document should be consistent and informative.  
  • Inform new employees about new colleagues - tell them who is their new manager and introduce them to team members.
  • Tell everyone in the company that there is a new colleague coming.
  • Set up the employee’s workstation.
  • Fill out paperwork before beginning.
  Having this information will help the new employee focus on their first day of work. They will understand their new role and they will be able to assimilate into their new position better.

Introduce them to their mentors/buddies

Now that they have everything on the paper, it’s time for human contact. One way to help the new employee feel welcome is to pair them with a mentor, either a co-worker or a supervisor. However,  don’t let just any of your employees step up for the onboarding process. Make sure that you’ve chosen a person who can present a company well, someone who understands the company’s values and who is trained in the basics. A mentor can take the new hire out to lunch that first day and see how things are going. They should check them from time to time and react if a new employee is struggling with any aspects of the job. This is a great tip because they will feel that the company is organized and that people value them as a new co-worker.

Present expectations and requirements

A new employee may have experience in a similar or identical position, but every company has different rules, culture, habits or priorities. It may be obvious for people who work there, but it’s important to explain how you do things to new hires. The manager should go over the specific expectations and requirements of the role to a new employee. Putting yourself in new employee shoes could be very helpful. Don’t just tell them what they should do, but why. It’s better if they understand the company’s mission and business values from the start. People are not machines. They want to see value in the things they do.

Encourage relationship building

You don’t have to go rafting to get to know people better. Simple team building activities such as bowling or even indoor games that encourage cooperation and collaboration can help the new employee get to know the group better. This may not be one of the first steps for onboarding but you should definitely use this tip in order to bring team closer, promote companies values and boost employees creativity and productivity. However, many people see these activities as pointless and silly, so you have to find a way to make them interesting and memorable. You can’t force your employees to like each other and to hang out, but you can organize random coffee date pairings for employees or bringing teams together for a joint happy hour or a fun activity as mentioned.

Schedule check-in frequently

Just because new hires survived the first day at work, it doesn’t mean that an IT recruiter job is finished. For some people, the onboarding process will be longer and it depends on the employee’s work experience, social skills and the particular challenges of the job. Whether you think that they are doing great or not, it’s always smart to schedule a few check-in meetings with the manager and HR. They can review how an employee is doing, evaluate any progress made on goals, and get a sense for whether new hires are adjusting to the culture. Schedule check-in about a week after the employee starts, a month after and then you can do it every two or three months.

Ask recent hires for feedback in order to improve the onboarding process

Getting feedback from new employees can help you improve the onboarding process and make constructive changes in a company. Use check-in meetings to ask new hires about the onboarding process, or make the feedback anonymous rather than soliciting suggestions during one-on-one meetings with your team. This way they will feel more comfortable expressing negative experiences so you can use more honest answers to improve the process. Did they feel welcomed and part of the team right away? Or did they felt alienated and unsure of their role? Getting feedback like that can help your company decide whether to switch to a different method or to stick to the existing one.

Emphasize company goals and visions

Even though new employees try to hide it under masks of smiles and enthusiasm, they are under pressure during the first week. So, it’s important that mentors/buddies constantly communicate the importance of their contributions to the growth of the business. At the end of the day, mentors should review employee performance, encourage them through any errors and emphasize company ideals. Simple tasks build confidence, so let them get used to the company and colleagues in order to handle more difficult jobs down the line.

Conclusion: Care about the details

As you can see, IT recruiter agencies have to plan the onboarding process in advance. This is not some random welcome gesture, but the comprehensive plan. Recruiters should prepare all necessary documentation, choose a person who will welcome new employees as soon as they arrive, take them on a tour of your company, show them their workspace and introduce them to their new colleagues. Moreover, a recruiter should schedule the first-day orientation, surprise them with company branded gifts, but also make sure that their new colleagues take them out for lunch. It’s important that new hires feel comfortable in the new environment, that they feel free to ask questions, and more importantly - that they want to stay in the company. If you don’t want to go through these steps over and over again every few months with new hires, it’s crucial to carry out onboarding process as well as possible. Remember, humans have feelings, so communication is the key to every problem.
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Build an Online Presence and Make Connections as a Junior Developer: How to Start?

So many established developers are already getting people’s attention online, so why should you even try to get out there? Well, because you can and because it will help you in so many ways. For example, you will rank better on Google, so when potential clients search your name, they will find your work quickly. Next, you will get noticed! Having a discussion with other professionals can help you learn and find a job opportunity that’s the best for you. That’s why having a blog and online portfolio is essential in IT world.

Moreover, an online presence is a must-have thing for a developer because you’re building your personal brand. So, let’s start branding!

Why and how to start blogging?

Blogging is freeing experience - you can use it as a way to show your personality and interests outside of code. Still, coding is the priority, so you should start writing about programming even though you’re not an expert. Write about your learning process, what did you try and what had worked the best for you. You know some useful websites or tools? Write about it! Go outside your comfort zone and start typing.

Creating a blog is simple and it doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive - you can use a Wordpress blog with a free theme, or you can write on platforms such as Medium or Jekyll. As this may be your first blog, the important thing is not to overthink. Just write about topics that inspire you, because the most crucial thing is that IT recruitment agencies and like-minded people can actually find you online, see what you’re about and contact you if needed.

Another goal is to document your learnings that will be useful for both you and your audience. Don’t try to sound too smart and to share advice about topics you’re not familiar with. You’re just starting your developer career, so don’t act like you know everything.

Further, a blog will help you connect with people and discuss things that are trending in the industry. So, when you use new technologies, you will have someone to ask for help or advice. This may be the most awesome benefit of blogging - connecting with strangers you have something in common. Let’s be honest, you can’t talk about coding with everyone, so chatting with these people may be relaxing for you.

The blog is your voice

There are few things you should consider before starting a blog. Firstly, pick a blog name carefully. This is something you can’t just change. A blog name should set the tone of your blog, and tell people what you’re actually writing about. This also refers to your web address. Secondly, you have to think about the visual identity of your blog. Determine your blog’s color palette and keep this identity on social media platforms, too.

You are creating your blog’s personality, so you have to think about details. When it comes to your writing style, you have to sound like a human while writing, so you have to inject a bit of your personality into your content. Standing out from others is not a simple task. Your style and authenticity are the things that will attract people, so they will keep coming to see what’s new on your blog.

It’s important to stay consistent to your blog voice and to post regularly.

Choose the most respectful form of yourself and your passions because it’s hard to remove and forget what’s done in the online world. People are judgemental, so don’t let them turn you into a crabby person. Think twice before you post, and keep it respectful.

The importance of tidy Github account

GitHub can help you show your best work in developers community, as long as you tidy up your account regularly. You can highlight your most elegant code and projects you’re proud of but you can also learn from other developers.

Moreover, this is the best way to present yourself to IT recruitment companies. You may have a number of skills written in your CV, but recruiter can check on GitHub if you’re lying about it. Your code will tell them more about your work then your CV. That’s why you have to make sure that your account is not messy and half-finished.

Update account regularly and delete projects that you don’t have the intention to finish.

Here is a piece of advice - update account regularly and delete projects that you don’t have the intention to finish. Push code for both big and small projects. Don’t underestimate small projects because they can show that you have initiative and passion to develop in the field. Your account should present you as a compelling candidate, so don’t let IT staffing agency reject you before even hear from you.

Make a portfolio website

Are you credible to write about coding? You have to give people evidence of your accomplishments so they can believe you.  Give them first-hand evidence - pictures, links, references, publications, etc. A list of your skills is simply not enough. You have to organize and update your portfolio, add insights into the technologies you’ve learned and into the problems you’ve solved. Moreover, you can add your blog to your portfolio, so people will see how passionate you are about coding.  

[caption id="attachment_319" align="alignleft" width="602"] Credits: https://dzonint.github.io[/caption]   Everyone should make a portfolio, especially front-end developers and UX designers. If you’re one of them, established websites such as dribbble or Behance can help you get inspired and heard by other professionals.

Branding on social media

You may not be much of a social media person, but you have to make an effort to present yourself at your best. LinkedIn is a must-have in developers world, but Twitter will also help you build an online presence.

[caption id="attachment_322" align="alignleft" width="200"] instagram.com/wibibibiii[/caption]

A recruitment agency that has a perfect job for you may find you on LinkedIn, while on Twitter you can connect and actually discuss some topic with most prestigious CEOs. Both social media platforms can help you stay up to date and see what’s trending in the industry. You can even find out some interesting events and meetups that will help you connect with people in person (Meetup is also a great place to find events for developers in your area).

However, you have to watch out for mistakes! Your posts can see everyone, so make sure that you’re decent, kind, but also interesting and unique. Photos of your meal or inappropriate jokes are a no-no in the professional world. You are branding yourself, so you have to give people some kind of value. There is a thin line between being cool and unprofessional. As you can see, you have a choice, so try to present yourself as an intelligent, ambitious team player. Remember, your reputation is important, so don’t let an inappropriate post damages it.  

Expand your audience

It takes time to brand yourself, so you probably won’t have many visitors on the blog at first. Remember, you’re doing it for yourself, so if you’re consistent and devoted to your work, people will keep coming.

Start small - share your post with your friends and colleagues. Ask them for feedback, so you can improve your content. After that, you can share your posts on forums or even websites such as Reddit or Hacker News. Nevertheless, once you establish yourself as a blogger, you may have to deal with criticism. Don’t let this kill your enthusiasm for writing and remember your goals in these situations - you want to learn more by writing, to connect with like-minded people and boost your online presence. Also, social media platforms can also help you boost your blog traffic and expand your audience. Make sure that your content is catchy, so people will like, share and comment your posts.

Your passion is your gift

Yes, having passion and experience is the best combination, but you’ll get there. Passionate people learn quickly, enjoy their work and don’t give up after the first obstacle. Don’t underestimate an online presence because it can help you connect with many professionals and IT recruiters that will help you boost your career and establish yourself as a credible developer. Stay consistent, get up and code!

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