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What is Lateral Recruitment? | Meaning & Process

When there is a need to hire employees in an organization, lateral recruitment is a great way to fill the positions. It is a way that helps the recruiter to fill the positions immediately as well as with compatible employees. But the question is, what does it mean? To understand the meaning of lateral recruitment and lateral employees, let’s dive deep into this concept and explore its advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, we will also look at the effective way to implement lateral employment. 

Lateral Recruitment and Lateral Employee Meaning

Lateral recruitment involves hiring someone from outside the company for a job at a similar level to the one they’re already working at. It’s like bringing in a new team member who already knows what exactly to do in this role. Companies use lateral recruitment to find people with specific skills or experience for particular roles. It cuts down the need for training for that role, which makes it a cost-effective practice. 

So, instead of starting from scratch, they want someone who can hit the ground running. It also helps them fill positions quickly and efficiently. Additionally, bringing in someone from another company can give fresh ideas and perspectives to the team. Moreover, there’s another term called lateral employee. A lateral employee is an employee who joins another company in the same position as before.

However, it is not always a win-win situation, as there can be challenges as well. One common challenge with lateral recruitment is making sure the new hire fits in with the company’s culture. They may have the skills, but they need to adjust to the way things are done in their new workplace. In totality, lateral recruitment has both benefits and disadvantages, which we will look at now. 

Advantages of Lateral Recruitment

Check out the advantages of Lateral Recruitment that help you take advantage.

1) Access to Fresh Skills and Experiences

Lateral recruitment allows companies to tap into a pool of talent with diverse skills and experiences. When hiring someone laterally, the company benefits from the expertise and knowledge the employee brings from their previous roles. This means that the employee can start contributing immediately without the need for extensive training. It not only saves costs but also prevents interruption in the current workflow. 

2) Quick Position Filling

One of the key advantages of lateral recruitment is its ability to fill positions quickly. Instead of waiting to train someone internally or going through a lengthy hiring process, companies can hire someone who is already proficient in the role. It helps maintain productivity and keeps operations running smoothly. 

3) Introduction of New Ideas and Perspectives

As mentioned above, bringing in talent from outside introduces new ideas. These new hires may have seen successful strategies or practices in their previous roles that can be applied in their new position. This diversity of thought fosters innovation and can lead to improved processes and outcomes.

4) External Benchmarking

Lateral recruitment allows companies to benchmark themselves against others in the industry. By hiring individuals who have succeeded elsewhere, companies can learn from their experiences and practices. It helps identify areas for improvement and ensures the company remains competitive in the market.

Disadvantages of Lateral Recruitment

While lateral recruitment is a great practice to keep the organization working at its best during recruitment, there are some disadvantages as well. 

1) Limited Organizational Knowledge

Apart from the skills that an employee needs to have for a role, organizational alignment is also required. It refers to the alignment with the culture and work ethics of the organization. Now, the lateral employee may come in with the required skill set, but culture and work ethics always take time to absorb.

2) Higher Recruitment Costs

Sometimes, internal promotions cost less than lateral hiring. It is when you promote an entry-level position to the position where filling employees is required. Skilled lateral employees from outside the organization may ask for a higher salary, which can be avoided by promoting entry-level employees. However, you must make sure that the employees that you are promoting are eligible for the promotion based on their knowledge and skills. 

3) Difficulty in Assessment

Assessing an employee from outside can be tricky, be it a normal hiring drive or a lateral one. The candidates may provide you with false information in their resume and get the job. On the other hand, promoting internally can be more convenient as you can look at the employee’s previous records easily. 

4) Risk of Turnover

Lateral hiring can demotivate the employees who have been working for the organization for a long time. It snatches the opportunity of getting promoted from those who have been loyal to the company. Hence, it can lead to employee turnover. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Lateranl Recruitment

If you want to do a lateral recruitment in your organization, then you can follow these steps to do it most effectively. 

1) Create a JD and Publish

Start by creating a job description where you must mention the needs of the job role. Try to use words that are mostly used in the industry instead of fancy words, as they may mislead the candidates. Once you are done creating the JD, publish it on platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and others. 

2) Do the Screening of Resumes and Applications

Once you start getting the applications and resumes, go through them one by one. Make sure that you are looking closely at the skills that you want for the job roles. You can use HRMS software with ATS to make it faster. 

3) Take Interviews and Tests

As you decide on the candidates to keep for the next round, arrange interviews and tests for them. Make sure to test their skills extensively, both theoretically and practically. It is important to eliminate the risk of hiring an unqualified person for the job, as it will diminish the purpose of lateral hiring. 

4) Hire the Compatible Candidate

Lastly, hire a compatible candidate for the role. As mentioned earlier, there can be cultural differences between the organization and the new employee. So, even if they don’t need the skull training, make sure to introduce them to the culture and work ethics. Moreover, do the other important formalities as well, like introducing them to HR policies and other policies. Moreover, to make sure that you have hired a compatible employee, keep a probation period to test the employee practically for both skill and cultural fit. 

Wrapping Up

Lateral recruitment is a good idea to fill in the positions that are crucial for any organization and can’t be left unattended for a long time. However, before you use lateral recruitment, you must evaluate if you need it or not. The primary reason for not opting for lateral hiring is cost-effectiveness. You may save organization capital by promoting internally instead of hiring outsiders. Also, promoting internally boosts the morale of existing employees. So, you choose wisely between lateral recruitment and internal promotion.