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Can We Recruit and Onboard Entry-Level Employees in Fully Remote IT Companies? A Reflection from the Industry Observations

The shift to full remote work in the IT industry has brought about many questions and challenges, one of which keeps recurring: Can we successfully recruit and onboard entry-level employees in a fully remote setting? Based on my experience at Osom Studio and conversations with other IT company owners and employees, I want to share our collective reflections on this complex issue.

The Traditional Model of Training in IT

The conventional way of training individuals without experience (or with minimal experience) in the IT field has been well-established over the years. It often involves one-on-one mentorship or group training under experienced team members’ guidance. This model has proven quite effective in an in-person setting, where spontaneous interactions and casual conversations foster learning and growth.

The Challenges of Remote Work

In a remote work environment within the IT sector, this becomes much more difficult. The lack of face-to-face interactions and the asynchronous nature of many actions add complexity. Meetings are scheduled, and there’s no time for loose talks after they end. The barrier to starting a casual or follow-up conversation is much higher, especially for someone with little experience.

For an entry-level IT employee, this means fewer opportunities to work closely with experienced colleagues, ask questions, or seek clarification. The result? A longer onboarding process, higher costs, and a greater risk of failure. It can also lead to frustration and stress for both the new employee and the team, potentially spiraling into mutual dissatisfaction.

The Complexity of Onboarding Entry-Level Employees Remotely

While there are innovative solutions emerging to address the challenges of remote onboarding in the IT industry, it’s essential to recognize the complexity and time investment these solutions often require. Virtual mentorship programs, immersive onboarding platforms, and collaborative tools can provide support, but they are not without their challenges.

Through my experience at Osom Studio and insights from other industry leaders, we’ve found that these solutions often require significant time and effort from experienced team members. Regular virtual check-ins, structured mentorship, and training can foster growth, but predicting when and how an entry-level employee will become fully productive remains a complex task.

The reality is that remote onboarding of those with less experience in the IT field often demands a disproportionate investment compared to the likelihood of success. While technology and creative thinking can provide support, they cannot fully replicate the spontaneous interactions and hands-on experience that an in-person setting offers.

A Pragmatic Approach and Navigating the Trade-offs of Remote Work in IT

The decision to operate fully remotely in the IT industry comes with both opportunities and challenges. In conversations with other IT company owners and employees, we’ve recognized that embracing remote work means accepting certain trade-offs, for example when it comes to onboarding entry-level employees. While it offers flexibility and a broader talent pool, it also demands a significant investment of time and effort, with no guarantee of success.

In life and business, there’s no possibility of having only the pluses without the minuses. Our approach has been to understand these trade-offs, leverage our strengths, and mitigate the risks. It’s a continuous journey of learning and adapting, and it’s how we strive to create an environment where our teams can thrive.

Many companies, including Osom Studio, have decided to recruit only those with some experience, aligning our approach with the nature of remote work. This decision isn’t set in stone; we remain open to new solutions and ideas that may emerge in the future.

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