120 Questions to Ask When Making a Lateral Move

Have you ever thought about switching lanes in your career without necessarily speeding up or hitting the brakes? Welcome to the concept of a “lateral move” — a strategic shift to a role that’s on the same level but offers fresh challenges and new perspectives and may even reignite your passion.

It’s like taking a new path without changing the altitude. Exciting, right? But, as with any change, there are questions to ponder before making this leap to ensure you make the best choice. Let’s dive in!

Professional Development and Growth Opportunities

  1. What opportunities for professional development are available in this new role?
  2. How does the company support ongoing learning and education for employees?
  3. Will I have access to mentoring or coaching in this lateral position?
  4. Are there resources allocated for attending workshops or industry conferences?
  5. What types of projects will I have the chance to work on?
  6. How does the team embrace innovation and new ideas?
  7. Can you describe a typical career path for someone in this role?
  8. What are the expectations for skill expansion and growth?
  9. How often are performance reviews conducted?
  10. Is there support for professional certification or advanced training?
  11. Will this role offer exposure to other departments or teams?
  12. Are there internal courses or training programs I can take part in?
  13. How does the company recognize and reward employee growth?
  14. Are there leadership opportunities within this new role?
  15. Is there a chance to contribute to high-impact projects?
  16. Can employees initiate their own projects or areas of research?
  17. What kind of support does the company give to innovation-led initiatives?
  18. How do you define success within this role?
  19. Are there opportunities to work on cross-functional teams?
  20. How does the company facilitate a continuous learning culture?

Cultural Fit and Work Environment

  1. Can you describe the company culture in detail?
  2. What are the core values of the organization, and how are they embodied day-to-day?
  3. What is the team dynamic like in the department I’m moving to?
  4. How is collaboration typically handled across teams?
  5. What types of employee events or team-building activities does the company offer?
  6. How does management support a positive work environment?
  7. What is the company’s approach to diversity and inclusion?
  8. How is feedback from employees typically received and acted upon?
  9. What are some recent initiatives the company has undertaken to improve the workplace?
  10. How do colleagues usually communicate, and what tools do they use?
  11. How does the company support work-life balance for employees?
  12. Can you tell me about any wellness programs or initiatives?
  13. How does this department handle conflict resolution?
  14. What are the expectations regarding overtime and work availability?
  15. How are major decisions communicated to the staff?
  16. What strategies are in place to maintain high levels of staff morale?
  17. How approachable are the leadership team and management?
  18. Can you provide examples of how the company puts its values into action?
  19. How has the company’s culture evolved over the past few years?
  20. What makes this company unique to work for compared to competitors?

Compensation and Benefits Alignment

  1. How does the compensation for this role compare with industry standards?
  2. Are there any bonuses or incentives tied to this position?
  3. What is the company’s philosophy on compensation growth?
  4. Can you explain the criteria for salary increases or promotions?
  5. What kind of health insurance and other benefits are included?
  6. Does the company offer retirement plans or financial planning services?
  7. Are there opportunities for stock options or equity?
  8. Is there a structured process for reviewing and adjusting compensation?
  9. What are the paid time off policies?
  10. Does the company offer any unique benefits or perks?
  11. Are there family or parental leave policies in place?
  12. How does the company support employees during major life events?
  13. Are relocation expenses covered for the lateral move?
  14. What kinds of discounts or partnerships with other companies does the employer offer?
  15. Are there opportunities for profit-sharing or performance-based bonuses?
  16. How transparent is the company about compensation structures?
  17. Can you detail the employee recognition programs?
  18. What wellness benefits, such as gym memberships or mental health support, are available?
  19. Are there flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts available?
  20. How does the company support continuing education, and does that include financial support?

Position Roles and Expectations

  1. What are the primary responsibilities of this new role?
  2. Can you outline the day-to-day tasks I would be expected to handle?
  3. How does this position contribute to the company’s overall goals?
  4. What are the performance metrics for this role?
  5. How is success measured in this position?
  6. Are there existing processes in place, or is there flexibility to create new ones?
  7. What are the short-term and long-term expectations for someone in this position?
  8. Who would I report to directly, and can you tell me about their management style?
  9. What types of projects is the team currently working on, and how will I fit in?
  10. Can I look forward to any upcoming changes or developments in the role?
  11. What are the challenges commonly faced in this position?
  12. How autonomous is the position, and what level of independent decision-making will I have?
  13. What is the typical workflow, and how is workload management handled?
  14. How often will I interact with upper management and other key stakeholders?
  15. Are there regular team meetings or one-on-one check-ins?
  16. How does the company handle performance feedback and development conversations?
  17. Is there a probationary period, and what does it entail?
  18. What are the company’s policies on remote work or flexible hours for this role?
  19. Does the role require travel, and if so, how much?
  20. How frequently are role expectations and responsibilities reviewed or updated?

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

  1. How flexible are work hours in this role?
  2. Can employees work remotely, and if so, how often?
  3. What support systems are in place for employees seeking a better work-life balance?
  4. Does the company offer any options like compressed workweeks or job sharing?
  5. How does the company accommodate employees with family or caring responsibilities?
  6. What is the stance on overtime, and how is it managed?
  7. Are there on-site facilities, such as a gym or daycare, that help promote work-life balance?
  8. How are time-off requests typically handled?
  9. Does the company encourage breaks and time away from workstations?
  10. What is the typical turnaround time for responding to emails or calls outside work hours?
  11. Are there initiatives to reduce employee burnout or stress?
  12. Can you provide examples of how the company has supported employees during a crisis or personal hardships?
  13. How are peak seasons and workloads managed to avoid overworking staff?
  14. How much notice does the company typically give for working overtime or weekends?
  15. Is there a culture of taking work home, and how is it perceived?
  16. What personal or family-related leave policies does the organization have in place?
  17. How is employee well-being monitored and promoted within the company?
  18. Are there policies related to sabbaticals or extended unpaid leave?
  19. How does the organization ensure employees are not pressured to work beyond their capacity?
  20. How are vacations scheduled and managed to ensure employees can take time off when needed?

Long-Term Career Path

  1. In what ways can this lateral move advance my long-term career goals?
  2. How often do lateral moves lead to promotions within the company?
  3. Are there opportunities for upward mobility from this position?
  4. Can you provide examples of employees who have successfully transitioned within the company?
  5. Is ongoing career mentorship available to help guide my professional trajectory?
  6. What career development plans would be in place for me in this role?
  7. Does the company typically fill senior positions through internal promotions?
  8. How does the company help individuals prepare for leadership roles?
  9. What skill sets does the company view as crucial for advancement?
  10. Can employees transfer to different departments as part of their career development?
  11. How are individual career aspirations aligned with company needs?
  12. Are there systems in place to track and discuss career progression?
  13. Does the company offer succession planning for key roles?
  14. How transparent is the company about potential career paths?
  15. What professional development opportunities are linked to this role that could benefit my career in the long term?
  16. How does the company invest in the career growth of its employees?
  17. Are there opportunities to be involved in high-visibility projects that could further my career?
  18. What types of internal networks or professional groups could I join to enhance my career?
  19. How does internal mobility within the company impact an employee’s career trajectory?
  20. Is there a formal process for expressing interest in different roles or projects within the company?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I decide if making a lateral move is the right decision for me?

It’s essential to consider these factors:

Role interest: Ensure the new position aligns with your career interests.
Company culture: Evaluate the department or team’s culture for compatibility.
Career progression: Consider the new role’s potential impacts on your career trajectory.

Does a lateral move mean a person won’t get a pay raise?

Not always. While a lateral move is typically at the same level, it doesn’t mean the pay will be the same. Depending on the new role and its responsibilities, there might be a change in salary – either up or down.

Is making a lateral move a good career move?

Yes. Here’s why:

Skill development: You get to learn new things and become more versatile.
Networking: You meet and work with new people, which can help in the future.
Avoiding burnout: Changing roles can bring new excitement and reduce the feeling of being stuck.

Can a lateral move impact my future job prospects?

Yes. It can impact your job prospects positively. The diverse experience and wider skillset gained from a lateral move can make you more appealing to future employers. It shows adaptability and eagerness to learn, which are valuable traits in any professional setting.

How can I talk to my boss about wanting to make a lateral move?

1. Be clear about your intentions: Know why you want to move. Is it for new skills? More challenge?

2. Request a meeting: Instead of springing it on them, ask for a specific time to discuss your career path.

3. Prepare your points: Before the meeting, list down the benefits of your move—not just for you, but for the team and company.

4. Listen actively: Be ready to listen to their feedback, concerns, and suggestions.

Switching lanes in your career journey can be refreshing and rewarding. Remember, it’s not just about moving; it’s about moving smart. With the right questions in your pocket, you’re all set to make the best decision for your future. Best of luck!

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Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.