3 Reasons Your Next Hire Should Be a Lateral


An exciting and daunting task as a manager is the opportunity to hire a new team member. It is exciting because you start thinking about how this person can ease your team’s workload and possibly start moving your team into a new direction. It is daunting because you wonder if you’ll be able to find someone with the skill set needed to complement your team.

As a hiring manager, a lateral is one of many tools in your hiring tool kit. Here are three reasons you should consider a lateral for your next hire:

1. A lateral is faster

It can take months from when the vacancy has been approved until your new staff member comes on board. And that is if everything goes smoothly. On the other hand, a lateral can take a fraction of the time. The benefit of a lateral is that you cut out the months it can take to work with HR to develop a job posting and wait for a hiring certificate (aka “cert”).

2. You, not HR, determine who is qualified for the job

It has happened to most of us, you post your job and tell a handful of qualified people to apply. The most nerve-wracking part of the process is seeing if they actually make the cert. On the other hand, a lateral gives you the ability to determine if someone is qualified for the vacancy on your team. That is, with no one pre-screening and filtering resumes, you (not HR) review and screen the resumes of those who express interest in your vacancy.

3. Hire for a specific set of (technical) skills

As a hiring manager, you’re looking for the new team member to have a specific skill set. Unfortunately, due to the cumbersome process of posting a vacancy, some of the specificity about the skills your hiring for may be lost in order to open up the posting to as many people as possible. By losing that specificity, you may get a stack of resumes that lack the necessary skills needed to fill the vacancy. On the other hand, a lateral gives you the opportunity to directly recruit for the needed skill set. A lateral can be used as an effective hiring tool to quickly fill your vacancy with someone who has the right skill set.

Shivani Sharma is a career Federal employee who has an interest in the role in networking plays in career development and advancement. Throughout her career, she has served as a both a formal and informal mentor at work and has volunteered in career mentorship programs. In 2010 she spearheaded a summer career mentorship program for college students, which is still active today. Finally, this interest has lead to founding a new startup (Lateral-Me, launching Summer 2016) that will increase lateral career opportunities in the Federal government.

She is also part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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