Giselles journey from Schneider Electric intern to Talent Acquisition

Giselle's journey from Schneider Electric intern to Talent Acquisition

 August 01, 2019

Giselle Richardson is a Talent Acquisition Consultant for Schneider Electric’s University Relations team. Her initial internship experience with Schneider Electric provided her with real-world experience and lead her to her full-time job. She shares her story of how she was she empowered to be a leader at work.

Finding her career path following university 

"I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University. My interest in people’s thoughts and actions started when I was in my senior year of high school. When it came time to choose a college major, psychology seemed like a natural choice," says Giselle. "I was so excited to graduate, and I remember thinking how proud I was of myself for being the first person in my family to graduate from college. That celebration soon ended after I received my degree. I started to think about the future and wonder 'well…what now?'"

Giselle had no idea what she was going to do or where to begin for her first job out of college. It hit her hard because she did not expect it to be so difficult. She adds: "I guess the millennial in me thought it would be easy to find a job in social services since I went to school for four years. I never thought about the millions of other students who graduated in May of 2016 who also needed a job."

Developing a keen interest in employee engagement

After working in retail for a few months, Giselle found a job at a health care organization. In this role she was able to use her Psychology degree to help those with mental health concerns find local counseling services. Her manager at the time provided leadership coaching and team building for local organizations, and he introduced her to leadership development and organizational coaching.

"The more I learned about employee development, the more interested I became. I realized that it fit with my thoughts about how companies should have strategies revolving how to better improve employees' work life," explains Giselle.

"At this point, I decided to go for my Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology with a concentration in Talent Management. Human Resources seemed like a good fit for me, and Talent Management was where I believed I’d be able to make the most change for others."

Beginning an exciting career at Schneider Electric

Giselle Schneider Electric Career

While studying for her Master’s, Giselle was given a semester long project that involved working with a company as a consultant on an organizational issue. This naturally led to her begining her search for an internship. "I still remember the day that I applied for the HR Talent Management Internship with Schneider Electric out of West Kingston, Rhode Island. I could not have been more excited, and it felt like the position was made for my MS program," says Giselle.

Giselle joined the North America (NAM) Talent Management team in 2017. On her first day, she jumped right into meetings to learn about the current structure of NAM TM. Within her first week, she had met with university recruiters, Human Resource Business Partners (HRBPs), talent advisors, managers and employees for the Global Supply Chain Advance Development Program. As a student who didn’t have experience in the corporate world, Giselle realized how important it was for her to network and understand all the different HR functions involved in a Global organization.

"My manager, Karen Rubano, suggested employees and managers that I could connect with to learn more about what Schneider had to offer. These one-on-one conversations grew my interest in the company and set the expectations of the company culture," says Giselle. "Listening to employees’ stories about where they came from and how they got involved in Schneider Electric made it clear that this was a company that I wanted to start my career in and grow as a young professional."

Developing skills and gaining responsibility with Schneider

Giselle developing skills Schneider

As Giselle became more comfortable in her internship position, her responsibilities grew. Being a first-generation college student and a young Latina woman, throughout Giselle's life she was told that she needed to work harder than most Americans – a quality that is a part of her still to this day. "But although I had the drive to succeed in my internship, I was missing the confidence," she explains.

Though lacking self-assurance, for the first time in Giselle's life she was offered a manager who was also a coach. She instilled a confidence in Giselle that she never knew she could have. "It started with being responsible for gathering and analyzing the U.S. internship Program data," Giselle remembers. "As time went on, I began to dive deeper into the internship program. I learned the ins and outs of managing the program, and eventually, was the point of contact for managers and interns."

"I was constantly speaking with managers and HRBPs on the program’s strategy, their responsibilities as an intern manager, and building a partnership when critical issues were brought to the teams’ attention," Giselle continues. "I built a relationship with the interns as well, and assisted them with networking events, and created internal communications to educate them on Schneider news, open job postings, and how to network within the intern community."

The more involved Giselle became with Schneider Electric's intern program, the more questions she asked about early career strategy and the structure of the program. "I found my 'AHA!' moment, and with the help of my manager, we wrote out a project plan that would not only be beneficial for Schneider, but also complete my semester long project for my Master’s program," says Giselle.

"One of my biggest accomplishments during my internship was creating a document of the U.S. internship program framework which covers the phases from on-boarding, the internship job experience, program-related experiences, off-boarding and intern conversion to full time. The purpose was to educate future intern program managers on how the program works. What made this project successful was the flow of communication between the Talent Management team, University Relations Recruiters, Branding, and my college advisers. The completion of the project started a bigger conversation on early career strategy and updating the structure of our U.S. internship program."

Transitioning to a full-time employee

Giselle Schneider employee

Around April of 2018 Giselle started to panic, because she knew that she was coming to the end of her Master’s program and she couldn’t be an intern forever. She was not mobile, so relocating to another Schneider office was not ideal for her.

When a University Recruiting position with Schneider Electric in Rhode Island became available, Giselle thought it could be a great fit for her. To understand the role better, she shadowed a local recruiter, and immediately felt that this was the right move for her. Giselle realized that although she was going to have a Master’s degree, she still needed a little more experience to really understand a company and the HR world.

Giselle explains: "I took the initiative and scheduled a conversation with the hiring manager to get to know her career path through recruiting. The role seemed like exactly what I was looking for, and I can’t describe how excited I was to be given a full-time offer after going through the formal interview process. My worries about school loans, bills, and how I was going to survive in this world started to go away. I also just felt happy to be working for an organization like Schneider. The overall message they bring to employees, the culture, and the values makes it a place of work you want to be in."

In May 2018, Giselle officially became a full-time employee as a University Relations Recruiter in Talent Acquisition (TA). In this role she hires interns and entry-level positions for NAM, and partners with universities to bring awareness of Schneider's company culture to educate and engage with students.

"The communication and collaboration skills I gained during my internship has accelerated my learning in recruitment and I am able to consult with managers on hiring best practices. The work I was able to be a part of with the internship program has also increased my leadership awareness," says Giselle. "I continue to learn every day by building new relationships and partnering with different functions to provide a positive candidate, manager, and overall hiring experience. I advocate for the University Relations team by communicating with various TA team members to identify growing needs/concerns and creating the appropriate projects for the success of TA."

Sharing some great career advice

Many interns have asked Giselle for advice on how to get a full-time position in a company. She says: "I can tell you this; every intern will have a different story and that unique experience will be up to you. It is about the passion you put into your work and being excited to learn. Networking did help me, but I also joined projects with managers outside of mine. I put in the time, and I was eager to understand. I worked on developing myself as a leader by taking initiative and being a problem solver."

"The society that we live in now is so fast paced, and those coming into the work force have expectations that a job will be presented to them. I, too, had this expectation. The best advice I can give is that it is not magic. It takes work, experience, education, passion, and commitment," Giselle adds. "Be authentic and do work that makes you excited. Don’t be afraid of a challenge. Someone once told me that if you are not afraid and asking questions, then the work you are doing is not challenging you and you are not developing. That sticks with me to this day, and I want to live by that to better myself."

Giselle's internship experience with Schneider Electric not only provided her with the kind of real-world experience that every student craves, but also helped her rise to an early career performer. Giselle's manager was a mentor who guided her by coaching and provided her with meaningful work once realizing her potential.

Giselle concludes: "Schneider Electric promises a meaningful, inclusive, and empowered work experience. These commitments exceeded my expectations and I am proud to be part of a company that doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk when it comes to valuing their employees. I am proud to be one of our #SEGreatPeople."

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