Practical interview tips for the lateral recruitment candidates

Lateral recruitment is the best method to go ahead in life. That is, jumping to another value-added job in another organization, where the quality of experience will be totally different and the exposure will be great. However the interview in such cases is a very tricky affair. There are certain ground rules and many things that one needs to take into account. Some dimensions of these are sought to be discussed in this article.


Irrespective of whatever organization one gets associated with, there will always be a stage of stagnation. The variety of experiences may not be possible. It is also a reality of life that one has to work in at least three different organizations during his or her career, to go ahead in life. More specifically, the interview for such changes will relate to a) Know all that will be expected of you b) Never exaggerate the quality of your experience c) Be very careful about body language d) Know industry/organization-specific managerial practices and e) Exude optimism all the way.

Know all that will be expected of you

Since you are a lateral recruit, even with five years experience, the organization will test your readiness to accept and execute challenges in their organization. For example, if you have already had some experience in implementing the HR Scorecard and you had given indications of that in your resume, it is quite natural that they will find out your in-depth knowledge and anchoring of the same in their organization. Imagine that they had just started on this journey. As a HR professional, with five years of experience, out of which two solid years were spent in the implementation of the HR Scorecard in your organization, it is but natural that they will look up to you for further guidance and expertise. They will jolly well focus on this aspect only. It is thus essential that you are sufficiently prepared for questions in this regard. The assumption is that you would have gathered from some sources that they are in the initial stage of introduction of the concept itself.

This is exactly where your contacts with professionals in the filed and a very big eye for detail would help. You cannot function in a vacuum. For instance, a hard core Finance Professional, with over fifteen years of work experience was asked this first question: have you had an experience of handling an IPO, that is, Initial Public Offer ( IPO). The answer was a quick no. If the professional had said that he would pick up such skills very fast or drawn the conversation to the areas where he had huge experience ( he was a superb expert in cost cutting), he could have still got the job. However his apprehensions and his subsequent behavior gave a negative impression and he was not selected. If he had known about the organization's expansion plans and funding plans, he could have been better prepared with an answer. A little probing from existing employees, will help a great deal in this regard.

it also needs to be noted that the head hunters will possibly not know all aspects of possible expectations of the employer.

Never exaggerate the quality of your experience

While discussing some aspects of your experience, a natural tendency is to exaggerate the quality of your experience. By doing so, you run the risk of being superbly grilled by one expert on the other side. Never underestimate the guys sitting across you. Many of them might have even had international experience. No one likes lies. No organization will ever tolerate this. Be very honest. Even when saying that you do not know, be very sincere and look straight into the eyes of the interviewers. This will help them to stay tuned and you might even get the job. Prospective employers sometimes give due weight age to this aspect of sincerity and take people in. For, attitudes are as important as skills, more so, in organizations where the technology is very good, the market is very good and the organization is highly profitable. In such cases, they will always look for people who can help them consolidate all their learning and take the organization to the next level.

In marketing jobs, such attitudes are always given importance. They are as important as the skills you have. Or the competencies that become obvious from the quality of your experience.

Be very careful about body language

If you show very good body language, you have won have the battle. Never be careful or dismissive at any stage. You could afford to say"I beg to differ with you Sir" However, you need to have solid reasons to substantiate your point of view. Normally such questions concern some variables like the trade union tactics, or the readiness of employees to embrace change and so on.

Be very careful not to show any anger or frustration. Never snub the interviewer. If you do so, you are very likely to be never considered for any position.

Know industry/ organization-specific managerial practices

Imagine this situation. You are a Quality Management expert and have worked for ten years with the TVS group. You have gone through so many successful experiences. The audits, the various quality requirements, training of hundreds of people, and so on. You are being interviewed by the Senior Most quality professional of the Aditya Birla Group for a senior position in Quality Management in their cement division.

You would have to know everything about the managerial practices. They have also implemented Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) in a very big way. Hence there will be questions regarding the same. However, the context that is, the cement industry is very important. You jolly well know that the brand Ultratech is a huge brand. You also know that they have a huge reputation for quality. That is not enough. You also even need to know something about the Partha system, that is daily accounting system, even practiced now. You must read newspapers and magazines like Outlook Business and Business Today, to be prepared to know about such practices, in such a huge and prestigious group like the Aditya Biral group. Superficial knowledge will not help.

You may even be asked a question as to how you will account for savings through TPM, in the Partha System of accounting. You just cannot say you do not know. A weekend Executive MBA can help you a great deal. This is the message. This is the big deal.

You must also become a Generalist knowing how to integrate various strands of knowledge into organized wholes. You also need to explain how an integrated approach can help the organization go ahead. This will give you a big lead in making them understand that you are ready for bigger challenges.

Exude optimism all the way

Based on a couple of recent experiences, it is obvious that some employers have even become that much wiser. To test the attitudes of the candidates, some questions are now asked on controversial decisions of the Central Government like the Demonetization and the introduction of the GST.

Even if you have totally different views, never show them in the interview. Always exude optimism on all matters concerning the external environment. Never show any bitterness. Focus on the positives, like the huge demographic dividend and all its positive features. Its positive spin-offs in the society and in the building of the Indian economy. Go prepared with some statistics on human public performance indicators, like increase in enrollment in secondary education, health parameters, bus transport improvement, increase in employment, even if that is on contract and so on. All this will enable you to be very much in the limelight and you will be selected. Show optimism in every word that you utter. More so, in interviews where your selection for the position will make a huge difference to your career.


Once you are into the job market, the chances of your career in a single organization is becoming rare day after day. Performance counts. The means are as important as the ends. The interview to change to more value-adding jobs, is also part of this means. Know all the requirements and get prepared.

All the very best.

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Author: Umesh20 Nov 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Changing a job or switching a job requires a lot of thinking and preparation. Understanding the present business scenario along with a detailed knowledge of the area to which one is going to switch from the earlier job is a prerequisite for such endeavors.

Today the job market is very tight and restrictive. Every one feels that the other job is better than my job. It is not so. Every job demands hard work and persistence if one wants to rise in it. One has to see all the pros and cons of other side of the fence before going there.

The business environment is ever changing and dynamic in nature. What appears better today is out of the business and soon joins the list of old-fashioned and obsolete items. It is happening everywhere due to fast technological innovations and growth of the new industries.

So the decision of lateral shifting requires a lot of homework and considerations.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao20 Nov 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

Changing jobs is very much required for one to grow in the career. If we stay in only one position for long in an organization our growth may become limited. So lateral entry into other organisations is the only way for progress.

Generally, the lateral entry will be based on the performance of the candidate and his salary structure. In many organizations, if they feel that the candidate is good enough for the post they are looking for, they never hesitate to give a little higher salary also. So your performance in the interview is vital. There will not be any other considerations for your selection. So how you prepare yourself for the interview is very important. Your role and job responsibilities and job profile in the current organization should be known to you clearly and you should be able to drive them the way you want in the interview.

Knowing the needs of the present organization and the job profile they are having is also to be understood before going for the interview. That will enable you to prepare for the interview in that direction.

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