Mastering Lateral Hiring: A Step by Step Guide

5 min Read

Published on: Apr 05, 2024, Updated on: Apr 05, 2024

Mastering Lateral Hiring: A Step by Step Guide

Table of Contents

Published on: May 22, 2024
Updated on: June 25, 2024

5 min Read


What is Lateral Hiring?

Lateral hiring is the process of employing fresh talent who already work in a similar job at another business. It is used for job positions that are generally harder to fill, such as senior executive roles. Lateral Hiring is most typically used for positions that demand a highly specialized set of skills, experience, or knowledge.

Lateral hiring is a smart approach to recruitment that can provide important benefits for organizations aspiring to establish diverse and high-performing teams. When companies consider candidates from outside the traditional talent pool, they have access to an extraordinary blend of unique abilities, perspectives, and backgrounds needed to fuel creativity and growth.

What is Lateral Hiring?

In today’s ever-changing business world, being adaptable and responsive is the key. Through lateral hiring, organizations can bring in fresh talents from different backgrounds to build up their current team and introduce new ways of thinking. This exchange of ideas may lead to breakthroughs, defy conventional wisdom, and prepare the company for long-term success.

Moreover, lateral hiring is useful in planning for the future and developing a strong talent pipeline. This way, businesses can identify and attract top talents from other industries or roles that they can groom into future leaders. This approach eases the transition period and maintains the flow of expertise.

Lateral hiring is a strategic investment in an organization’s future. Adopting this approach allows firms to outpace their competitors by enhancing their dynamic, multi-skilled workforce, laying the groundwork for future growth, and reaping the current benefits of increasing returns on investment.

Lateral Hiring Vs Traditional Hiring

Lateral Hiring:

The lateral hiring process employs a strategic approach that prioritizes recruiting candidates with flexible skill sets and backgrounds over direct industry expertise. On the one hand, it enables organizations to reach far beyond the geographical boundaries of their talent base, and the infusion of varied experiences is a precursor to innovation and development. One very important distinction to point out is that hiring laterally is not the same as hiring traditionally, which usually requires prior industry experience. The selection process based on lateral hiring emphasizes the ability to adapt and produce not only in the business domain but also in all other spheres. When companies take into account multifaceted backgrounds, they get a chance to form more oblique-angle teams, which are good at dealing with transforming business atmospheres.

Traditional Hiring:

Instead, traditional recruiting usually consists of a tendency to concentrate solely on experience within a determined branch of an industry and set of competencies. Such an incorporated system is often based on finding potential candidates who have already demonstrated accomplishments in similar roles or organizations. However, while this approach may foster a sense of certainty and a sense of belonging, it also fosters an environment that inhibits the expansion of thinking and creativity. Hire after hire means more hiring managers select people who follow a more linear career path, which covers a consistent and very specific industry or function.

The Need to Consider Lateral Hiring: Benefits of Lateral Hiring

The Need to Consider Lateral Hiring: Benefits of Lateral Hiring

Lateral hiring has a lot of advantages to offer, from narrowing skill gaps and speeding up the growth process to increasing diversity and laying the foundations for an innovative culture. Organizations should thoughtfully include external talent to plan for sustainable growth and long-term success. Here’s why it’s important to consider lateral hiring: Here’s why it’s important to consider lateral hiring:

1. Fresh Perspective
Lateral hires bring lateral thinking, innovative theory, and varied experience from previous jobs and companies. A new surge of fresh ideas can shatter the status quo, dissipate stagnation, and innovate the enterprise.

2. Fill Skill Gaps
It may happen that the organization is deficient in a certain skill or lacks the requisite expertise internally. Employing lateral hiring can help companies overcome the skill gap challenge by facilitating the recruitment of professionals with the necessary knowledge and experience, thereby improving team competency.

3. Accelerate Growth
Hiring seasoned professionals at the top level can assist the organization in scaling its rapid growth trajectory. They usually have the most valuable network, expertise in the industry, and leadership skills that can help prioritize, accelerate, and execute strategic initiatives and business expansion plans.

4. Enhance Diversity
In organizational lateral hiring, diversity is not just about demographics but also about different thoughts, experiences, and backgrounds. Employing different people is the foundation of creativity, making decisions, and serving customers better.

5. Competitive Advantage
The present-day business world is characterized by a high tempo of competition. This is why every business must strive to stay ahead of its competitors. Sideways hires may bring with them competitive intelligence, market knowledge, and best practices from their previous jobs, and that is an important factor in how the organization can compete.

6. Cultural Refresh
By attracting new talent through lateral hiring, organizations can revitalize the culture by introducing new values, work styles, and attitudes. It will help to improve morale, increase engagement, and thus renew the working environment.

7. Leadership Development
In many cases, cross-hire executives come with a track record of leadership. Companies can enrich their leadership by introducing seasoned outsiders who can mentor, guide, and give internal talent exposure to new leadership styles. This will then create a pipeline of future leaders.

8. Capacity Building
Lateral hiring enhances the organization’s capacity by introducing more resources and special skills. This makes it possible for the company to undertake new projects, break into new markets, or handle the most complex tasks that would not be within its reach if it had to rely on its current staff.

9. Risk Mitigation
The downside of relying solely on internal talent for promotions and succession planning is that it can lead to certain risks, such as groupthink or stagnation. Organizations try to prevent these risks by instilling new talent and ideas into the organization through lateral hiring, decreasing their dependency on a single talent pool.

10. Fast-track Innovation
Companies typically link lateral hires with a proven track record of innovation and problem solving. Through this incorporation, companies can apply these experts’ experience to the creation of new products, process improvements, and technological breakthroughs at a faster rate.

Common Challenges Faced by HRs During Lateral Recruitment

Common Challenges Faced by HRs During Lateral Recruitment

Lateral hiring can be a useful strategy for organizations, but on the other hand, the strategy can be challenging, so it is important to manage it carefully. Some of the major challenges that organizations face while lateral hiring include: Some of the major challenges that organizations face while lateral recruitment include:

1. Integration Issues
One of the main challenges is that the new member should be able to fit into the existing team and the organizational culture. Lateral recruits might face resistance from the current employees; they might struggle to adjust to new techniques and systems; or they might experience difficulties in developing connections with the new hires.

2. Cultural Fit
It is quite difficult for the employer to make sure that the new hire will be a proper fit with the values, culture, and norms of the organization. Cultural mismatches can lead to conflicts, morale deterioration, and decreased productivity, putting the success of the lateral hire and the team as a whole at risk.

3. High Expectations
Due to their prior experience and skills, lateral hires typically face high expectations upon onboarding. However, inadequate management of these expectations can lead to dissatisfaction in the hiring process and frustration within the organization, particularly if the hired individual fails to demonstrate immediate positive results.

4. Internal Resentment
The current staff may experience a sense of being neglected or worthless if there is a new person, coming from outside, hired in a position of authority or strategy. This may lead to resentment, loss of motivation, and even employee attrition of the workforce if not handled on time and proactively by the management.

5. Knowledge Transfer
While lateral hires from previous jobs or other organizations bring valuable knowledge to the team, sharing this knowledge with the rest of the team can be challenging. As the organization fails to possess the proper documentation, training, or mentoring programs, there is a possibility that it may not fully utilize the new hire’s abilities and experiences.

 6. Retention Risk
This could lead to lower employee loyalty among lateral hires, which in the future can cause a high turnover rate of new employees, especially if they are not satisfied with their role or feel that they have no connection with the company culture. Therefore, it is critical to have more and more initiatives to keep your talent in your organization for the long term.

 7. Cost Considerations
Side hiring can be costly, involving a recruiter fee, relocation expenses, and possibly higher compensation requirements than those expected for internal promotions. Organizations should be cautious in their decision to implement lateral hiring and take into consideration the costs and benefits of this approach to ensure a good return on their investments.

 8. Overlooking Internal Talent
Organizations may neglect to groom or even promote internal talent to fill vacant positions among the external hires. This situation could potentially discourage the remaining employees and delay the succession planning process.

 9. Mismatched Expectations
Disagreement between the organization’s vision of the job and the candidate’s thoughts about the job role, responsibilities, and career progress can cause dissatisfaction and turnover. Effective communication and an understanding of expectations at all stages of the hiring process are a must.

 10. Onboarding Challenges
Effective onboarding and support during the transition process are crucial for the successful integration of lateral hires into the organization. On the other hand, inefficient onboarding processes or no support from bosses or colleagues can cause the new recruit to not be able to do his role effectively.

A Step by Step Lateral Hiring Process

A Step by Step Lateral Hiring Process

1. Identify Talent Needs
Begin by outlining the specific jobs or posts within the organization that require internal hiring. This should be consistent with the company’s strategic objectives, growth plan, and skill gap analysis.

2. Job Analysis and Description
Perform a complete job description analysis to unveil the core tasks, required skills, qualifications, and work experience for the given position. You can now use this analysis to create an accurate job description that encompasses all the duties and prerequisites for this position.

3. Formulate a Recruitment Strategy
Utilizing the data gathered from the job analysis and manpower requirements, formulate an effective recruitment strategy. You can accomplish this by utilizing various channels like online job portals, professional networks, industry events, social media platforms, and recruitment agencies, among others.

4. Candidate Sourcing
Proactively recruit candidates through strategic sourcing, networking, referral, and passive candidate sourcing methods. Implement the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), resume database, and talent sourcing platforms to search for candidates.

5. Screening and Initial Assessment
Scan resumes, cover letters, and portfolios to create a list of candidates who meet the job’s minimum requirements. Conduct screening via telephone interviews or video calls to determine the qualifications, experience, and fit of the candidates for the positions.

6. Interview
Conduct and plan detailed interviews with shortlisted candidates to assess their skills, experience, competencies, and cultural fit. It can be a process of several interview rounds with hiring managers, team members, and important stakeholders.

7. Assessment and Selection
Conduct assessments, such as evaluations, case studies, or work samples, to measure candidates’ competencies and assess them for the role. Seek input from interviewers and stakeholders in order to make sound decisions about the final appointment.

8. Reference Checks
Carry out comprehensive reference checks to confirm the level of candidates’ qualifications, experience, and behavior in previous jobs. In addition to contacting the candidates’ professional references, ask for the assistance of your personal network.

9. Negotiation and Offer
Extend your hand to the selected candidate by offering them an attractive job position, which should only include details such as compensation, benefits, starting date, and any other relevant terms. Create a negotiation plan to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.

10. Onboarding Planning
Develop a detailed onboarding program to ensure that the new staff member’s onboarding process is as smooth as possible. This should be inclusive of onboarding sessions, training programs, introductions to key team members, and access to all necessary resources.

11. Onboarding and Integration
Implement the onboarding plan in a way that will help the new hire get the required support, information, and resources for seamless acclimatization to the new role and the organization. If possible, set up a mentor or buddy to make the integration process easier.

12. Performance Management and Feedback
Establish concrete performance criteria and goals for the new employee, and provide regular feedback and support to help him succeed in the position. Monitor the first period’s progress closely and provide assistance if any problems or challenges arise early on.

13. Retention and Engagement Strategies
Develop tactics that enhance retention and engagement among lateral hires, e.g. career development plans, recognition programs, and routine check-ins to assess satisfaction and resolve issues.

Some Quick Tips & Best Practices for Successful Lateral Hiring

  • Unambiguously state the duties, responsibilities, and skills required for the role to attract candidates who are a good match for the organization.
  • Reach a diverse pool of candidates with the right qualifications and expertise by using online job boards, professional networks, referrals, and recruitment agencies.
  • Evaluate candidates not only for their technical skills but also for their alignment with the company’s values, culture, and team dynamics.
  • Carry out timely and professionally structured interviews to determine candidates’ skills, experience, and role suitability.
  • During the hiring process, involve relevant stakeholders, such as hiring managers, team members, and senior leaders, to gain their diverse perspectives and commitments to the process.
  • Conduct market research and propose competitive remuneration packages to attract the best talent in the industry.
  • Maintain transparency with applicants and provide timely feedback in order to enhance a positive candidate experience.
  • Design an inclusive onboarding program for the new hires who can quickly feel at home in their roles, team, and organizational culture.
  • Include diversity and inclusion as top priorities in your recruitment to be creative, innovative, and improve working conditions.
  • Regularly review the effectiveness of your lateral hiring process, get feedback from stakeholders, and make changes as you see fit in order to be more effective and efficient.

The Future of Lateral Hiring

In time, lateral hiring is going to change drastically due to technological progress, changes in the workforce structure, and creative hiring strategies. Analytics data will be a crucial component of decision-making, where organizations will use data from candidate profiles, performance metrics, and hiring outcomes to make more informed choices. The role of education will be more about skills and potential than traditional credentials, because companies will look for competent individuals with relevant expertise and the ability to grow. In addition to this, remote work will greatly increase the pool of talent, allowing the organization to access the best talent from anywhere in the world. Among lateral hiring practices, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives will be the key driving forces behind building more diverse and inclusive teams. The personalized candidate experience is going to be the new normal, with AI tools driving the customized and engaging recruitment process. We will strategize ongoing learning and upskilling to ensure that both candidates and existing employees are adaptable and suitable for the rapidly changing job market.

InterviewVector, an interview-as-a-service platform, offers the potential to be a significant force in the future of lateral hiring by leveraging the power of innovative technology. The platform reduces inefficiencies and improves the quality of the hiring process. Here’s how InterviewVector can help:

1. AI-Powered Candidate Matching
InterviewVector uses AI algorithms to scrutinize candidate profiles and job specifications, simplifying candidate selection for lateral hiring positions.

2. Predictive Analytics
By analyzing past recruitment data and candidates’ performance indicators, InterviewVector can provide you with predictive information about the top performers and how to maximize the hiring process outcomes.

3. Automated Screening processes
InterviewVector automates the screening process and provides assessment tests, video interviewing, and behavioral assessments, enabling organizations to evaluate candidates more objectively and consistently.

4. Enhanced Candidate Experience
AI-powered chatbots, personalized communications, and interactive assessment tools built into InterviewVector’s simple and engaging recruitment process lead to higher candidate satisfaction and engagement.

5. Data-Driven Decision-Making
InterviewVector gives organizations the ability to generate actionable insights and reports based on candidate data, interview feedback, and hiring results. This in turn helps the organization continuously improve the lateral hiring process.

Looking to learn more about InterviewVector? Explore Here!

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