So you’ve finally found your tech superstar. It may be your first one or an addition to your tech team. Either way: Offer accepted and start date in the diary, phew. What should you do now to make sure they feel welcomed, get settled in and start to perform ASAP?

You won’t be surprised to know that tech candidates that leave within their probation period often point to their onboarding experience as one of the reasons why it didn’t work. This is not just the feedback we receive.

“Onboarding programs can increase retention by 25% and improve employee performance by 11%”


Christine Marino in ‘7 need to know facts about onboarding‘ states that onboarding programs can increase retention by 25% and improve employee performance by 11%. She also claims that employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay with an organisation for 3 years and that 15% of employees said the lack of an effective onboarding program aided in their decision to quit.

As recruiters we’re often perplexed when we hear of candidate accounts of that fragile period that covers the last week of their working notice and the first of their new role – particularly when it was such a lengthy process finding and securing their services in the first place.

Here are the most common complaints we come across from tech candidates:

how-to-successfully-welcome-and-keep-your-new-dev-tech-hire‘I hadn’t heard from them for a few weeks, I had to follow up to find out at what time to arrive’

‘Would have been nice to know what I’ll be working on or need to prepare for’

‘They forgot that I was starting and I didn’t get a PC for a week’

‘Nobody seemed particularly interested in talking to me, I was left to my own devices’

Everyone ought to remember the nervous anticipation of starting a new role. It’s natural to want to know what to expect, how you can hope to build a good reputation and impress quickly and what the first week looks like. Put yourself in your new tech recruit’s position, how would you feel?

Some tips:

  • Within a week of the start date, drop the candidate a line directly. Let them know a time to arrive, who to ask for and a rough outline of what they can expect in the first week. They’ll really appreciate it and it’s the professional thing to do
  • Get in touch to let them know of any useful background reading for a project they’ll be working on. You can see if they’re keen to get ahead and it’ll help them get up to speed quickly
  • Prior to starting, ask them what kit they’d like to work with. A nice gesture and always goes down well
  • Take them out for lunch on their first day. Only a few quid and a nice welcome. Perhaps even send an employee you feel deserves a boost to go with them
  • After a couple of days in the role have a general chat to see how they’re settling in. If they have any initial issues you can iron them out before they escalate. Maybe assign them with a buddy or get their manager or HR to have a coffee catch-up
  • Organise welcome drinks/cake/an announcement. Again, a small gesture that doesn’t cost the earth but it’ll help them feel comfortable and an interest in showing them off as a valuable acquisition will breed confidence. The quicker they meet people and understand who does what, the better it is for the business


Welcome party: come for the job, stay for the cake

Why you should bother

  • It’s the right thing to do. It looks professional, organised and shows that the business cares about its staff
  • The consequences of not doing things properly could have major implications. It’s likely that the candidate had other offers on the table and chose yours. They may choose to re-ignite their other opportunities
  • Done properly, it could give the rest of your team a lift
  • A positive experience will have them recommending you to other potentially great hires. Candidates talk and in a tough market, a hire from a referral could save valuable time and money

Every company is different with how they do it, but the ones who retain good tech staff will do so from that first impression. Time to have a strategy if you don’t have one, it’ll pay off in the long run.

We’d love to hear what makes up your onboarding process, drop us a line to let us know!

Mike Harley