It’s time to announce our March 2022 Handshake Honor Roll Winner:
🎉 Elizabeth Diley, Campus Talent Acquisition Leader at General Mills 🎉
When Elizabeth embarked on her job search after college, she had her eyes set on one company: General Mills. Three years later, through perseverance and hard work, Elizabeth was able to make her dream a reality. Today, as Talent Acquisition Leader at General Mills, Elizabeth has been able to continue to cultivate her passion for early talent recruitment. Since joining General Mills, she has helped to open the door for growth and innovation in the campus recruiting space. That’s why we’re thrilled to add Elizabeth to the Handshake Honor Roll list.
We recently sat down with Elizabeth to learn more about her journey to General Mills, her powerful advice for job seekers, and her proudest accomplishments. Read the full interview below:
What was your first job outside of college and how’d you find it?
I am a proud first-generation college graduate. To be honest, navigating college proved to be extremely challenging, and landing my first job out of school was even more difficult. I think back to that time and I wish I would have had access to a platform like Handshake! I was lucky to find great mentors in my professors and through my friends’ families networks, which helped me to better navigate the corporate world, job applications, and interviews. I feel so fortunate I had found people to help me. General Mills was my first choice for an employer and I was turned down at the last stage in the process – I was heartbroken! But, I am a believer that everything happens for a reason. I went on to start my career at Regis Corporation as an Operations Specialist. In that position, a small part of the role was hiring and onboarding new employees. I instantly fell in love with the recruiting process and luckily found another job opening at General Mills and moved three years later. The role at Regis was a perfect springboard for me to learn about business in a smaller setting and help prepare myself for working at General Mills, a company with more than 30,000 employees and one of the largest food companies in the world.
Why are you passionate about recruiting early talent or increasing DEI?
I love my job! I know I am biased, but I think early career and campus recruiters have the best jobs out there. Working with students every day – helping them find their way is not only fun but is extremely rewarding. So many young adults just need a friendly face to discuss their passions and interests with, and we are here for that! Students are the future and will help shape and influence the workplace. Their ideas will be the next innovations, their thoughts will be the next breakthroughs, and their motivations and perspectives will shape our culture. New talent makes us all better. Early career talent also plays an important role in bringing a diversity of thought. We aim to be a reflection of the world we seek, which is why General Mills works to ensure that all generations are represented and people of all backgrounds make up our workforce. My team helps create that mix and continues to bring viewpoints and experience from all across the country.
How did you land in your current role? What’s your favorite part of the job?
Full disclosure, I did not have it all figured out at first. I did not have a plan, but I had determination and hustle. I started at General Mills in a Talent Acquisition Coordinator role. I loved recruiting and I took a chance on an admin role with a company that aligned with my love of food and values as a person. I have always felt that I could bring my true self to work at General Mills and I loved working with people. In my first month at General Mills, I knew that I was supposed to be here. All the classes that I took in school and the 3 years at Regis Corporation prepared me to find my true passion: recruiting. It all came together. As a coordinator, I looked up at all the leaders above me and realized I wanted to be them. Allowing my managers to be a part of my goals and aspirations has been such a pivotal part of my journey and helped me get to where I am today. Every day I wake up and I am excited about working in the TA space. I am a true believer in finding work that makes you happy and fills your heart, and recruiting does that for me. My roles over the past 14 years at General Mills have prepared me to lead a team, set strategy, and most importantly, continue to attract and convert top early career talent for the company.
What are some accomplishments you’re particularly proud of this year?
The past 2 years have been challenging, but have opened the door for growth and innovation in the campus recruiting space. I am particularly proud of our intern to full-time conversion. Over the last couple of years, we have welcomed over 85% of our past interns with full-time offers to General Mills, even reaching as high as 94%. This speaks volumes for our recruiting assessment, processes, internship program, continued engagement, and teams that support our interns over the summer. My team has continued to evolve our strategies and invite applications from students across the country while eliminating barriers. We are now reaching students and promoting General Mills to students that may not have had access to our recruiters before. I believe this is a huge accomplishment as we continue to secure top talent from all sources no matter the school of discipline or institution.
Who are your heroes?
In honor of International Women’s Day, I would love to give a shoutout to all the amazing women in my life. They are truly my heroes. I feel so fortunate to have such a strong network of women surrounding me. Every day I turn to them for inspiration, support, and friendship. My network is filled with highly accomplished and talented women from CEO of households, CMOs, doctors, and so many other professions and passions. I also lead an entire team of women that support early career recruiting at General Mills. They challenge and inspire me every day. I am in awe of their accomplishments and how they support each other. As women, we have to bring other women along with us on our journeys, I have benefited from so many women that have believed in me and helped me find my way, even when I did not know what I was doing!
What advice would you offer to today’s job seekers?
Have a firm handshake and your elevator pitch at your ready!
Always remember that you deserve to be where you are and you need to be your own biggest fan. Confidence in yourself and your ability is key! Find mentors and sponsors that will help you navigate and motivate you to secure your first job. Have conversations with strangers, talk to the person in line at the coffee shop, go to the networking event on campus, you never know where opportunities may present themselves. Most importantly remember your career is a journey, so exploration and experimentation are encouraged. Align yourself with a company whose mission and values reflect your own.