General Mills Interview Case Study


I applied through an employee referral. The process took 7 weeks. I interviewed at General Mills (Minneapolis, MN) in September 2017.


This was a rather uncommon, off-cycle hiring process focused on current marketing professionals with 1+ years of experience, unlike the on-campus process.

Applied via current employee referral on Tuesday, 8/15. Received an unscheduled phone screen from HR on Friday, 9/8. Was contacted later that day via email to set up a phone interview with a current marketer. Completed the phone interview on Tuesday, 9/12 (after a last minute reschedule from Monday, 9/11 due to interviewer schedule conflict). Received another unscheduled call from HR on Friday, 9/15 inviting me to the in-person final interview in Minneapolis on Wednesday, 9/27.

The on-site experience is fantastic, but intense. Starting with a relaxed dinner with a current AMM, the following day begins early at 8am with a breakfast accompanied by another current AMM. After breakfast all (6 this particular day) interview candidates are taken to a small room with a laptop and a rather large (for the time constraints) case (printed PowerPoint slides). The computer does not have the internet and you are given 1.5 hours to create roughly 7 slides. They have switched the model to include a (simple) marketing plan, including financials, instead of 3-4 questions. After a short break, you are allowed to review your printed slides to prepare a 15 minute presentation for later that day. After this, we went a tour, which was a fun way to wind down from that stressful activity. This is followed by lunch with an AMM and one of your peer candidates. After lunch, it's off to round robin interviewing. Each candidate is given a meeting room and the 3 interviewers rotate. There were 2 behavioral interviews lasting 45 minutes each and 1 case interview, totaling 45 minutes. The behavioral interviews are very straight forward, one was more traditional behavioral while the other was marketing skill specific. The case interview consists of 15 minutes of presentation and 20-30 minutes of interviewer questions regarding your case. It's less about being right or perfect than proving your understanding of brand strategy, consumer insights and other key marketing skills. Pro-tip: use the rest room before the first interview, there are no breaks in between. After the last interview, all candidates gather back in the HR office at which point there is a debrief with the HR Manager and you get your General Mills shopping bag of goodies. And just like that, a long day ends up feeling quite short!

As promised, HR reached out on Friday, 9/29, but unfortunately due to the schedule of some key leaders for the decision process, they had to defer on decisions until Monday. On Monday, 10/2, HR called again as promised, even if it was after 6:00 PM EDT. :) At this point the verbal offer was extended. The formal offer follows with 24-48 hours later via email.

Overall, a very fast process with only 4 true interviews, including the phone. HR usually beat expectations by a long shot, or at least met them. The entire HR and marketing team involved were very kind and welcoming. I'm super stoked to be a part of that team in the future! :)

Interview Questions

  • Make up a food product and tell me about it. It does not have to be something General Mills makes currently.   1 Answer
General Mills 2017-10-03 23:18 PDT

Quick! Name as many uses for a brick as you can in one minute.

If "doorstop" and "construction" are the only two answers you can come up with, you might have just ruined your chances of landing your dream job.

Or how about this interview question: After streamlining and reducing purchasing costs for raw materials, can you think of another way to reduce the cost of making a piece of chocolate?

Stumped? You're not alone. These are just a couple of the brainteasers submitted to career site, where more than 80,000 job hunters over the past 12 months have shared their interview experiences and the questions they were asked.

Glassdoor used this informationto compile a list of the 25 toughest companies to get hired at. Seven of the top 10 most notoriously tricky interviews take place at consulting firms like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group, Glassdoor said, a fact that doesn't come as a surprise to the list's creators.

"They want to see how you think, so they're asking you case-studyquestions to see how you would react to similar challenges you'd face while on the job," Samantha Zupan, a spokeswoman for Glassdoor said. The chocolate question mentioned above, reportedly asked by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, is a prime example of this sort of test.

Related: 25 toughest companies for job interviewees

Tech giants Google(GOOG), Facebook(FB) and Apple(AAPL) also made the list, as did the highly-competitive Teach for America, a non-profit that recruits recent college graduates to teach in some the nation's most troubled schools.

One interviewee reported that Teach for America asked, "What would cause you to want to dropout of Teach for America if you were chosen?"

Such questions put the interviewee on the spot, Zupan said, which lets the employer get to know the candidate on a personal level and see how they react under pressure.

Other questions on Glassdoor's list were more analytical and designed to assess how a candidate problem solves and handles numbers. One job hunter claimed Google asked them: "How many hotels are there in the U.S.?"

While Google spokesman Jordan Newman couldn't confirm whether the hotel question was asked in an interview, he said those sorts of questions are not common in the company's five-round interview process. Instead, applicants can expect the interviews to closely relate to the roles they're applying for.

Engineers, for example, can expect to do some coding during their interview, he said. Candidates for a marketing position, meanwhile, might be asked how they would market Google's Android smartphone to students in a specific country and to walk through the campaign they would build, he said.

"The idea isn't that there's one perfect answer, but it will give a sense of how candidates might think," he said. "They're all scenarios for things they might face on the job."

Related: How to ace your job interview

While such practical questions are also important to Rackspace, the cloud computing company ranked number 11 on Glassdoor's list, interviews are mainly used to gauge a candidate's creativity. (Rackspace asked the brick question mentioned earlier).

"People are wicked smart and wicked creative here, and that's what we're looking for," said Theresa Hankins, the company's senior recruiter."We need people to challenge things, think about things differently and behavioral interviewing gets to the core of that."

That's why Hankins offers behavioral interviewing training sessions four times a month to Rackspace employees. She has also set up a library with hundreds of questions for interviewers to choose from.

"Those brick-like questions are part of it," she said. "It's an interesting way to learn about a person and encourage them to be a little lighthearted."

Just as Hankins uses those questions to get to know candidates, questions like that allow candidates to get to know Rackspace and its company culture better, as well. "We work really hard here, but we like to have a little fun," she said."This environment may not be for everyone, and we want people to understand who we are."

25 most difficult companies to interview with


Interview difficulty ranking

Interview experience: Positive




Boston Consulting Group



Oliver Wyman



A.T. Kearney



ZS Associates






Bain & Co.



Shell Oil












Cypress Semiconductor



Susquehanna International Group






Procter & Gamble



Teach for America



L.E.K. Consulting



Juniper Networks









General Mills















CNNMoney (New York) First published August 21, 2012: 7:12 AM ET

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