If you’ve ever Googled “what do I blog about” there are pretty consistent advice articles stating to “write about what you know” and “write about what you love.” It is in this vein that I’m not at all embarrassed that my 8th blog post is the 3rd (consecutive) post about Dunkin’ Donuts.
Since last writing I’ve made the cross-country move. Twice. After a brief stint in Boston, I decided Los Angeles really is the city I want to be in for an extended amount of time, so Kasey and I packed up the car and, once again, subsisted off of iced coffee and Twizzlers for another whirlwind trip.
After 10 days of driving we arrived in L.A., and after 2 days of blissfully staring at palm trees, I dove head first into the job search. It was exhausting, exhilarating, and a few other things, and after 18 days of making finding my job a full time job, I had sent out 120+ resumes, landed 16 interviews, and had 4 offers to choose from. (Not too shabby.) This is the story of how one of those offers came to be, and how I whole-heartedly credit Dunkin’ Donuts for its inception:
2 weeks into the search I got a call from the creative director (from this point on known as ‘Interviewer’) at a creative digital agency who specialized in online interactivity for a wide variety of brands. They were looking for a receptionist, I had submitted my resume, and they liked how it looked. I went in for an interview later that day.
I waited for Interviewer in their concrete lobby and was then escorted to their intimidating glass-enclosed conference room. To be completely frank, 40 minutes into the interview, I felt like I was drowning. Questions like, “why do you hate me??” and, “how do I get out of here??” kept cycling through my brain. Walking into the interview, I had known that the majority of their employees would undoubtedly be the awkward tech nerds I had buddied up with in college. No problem, I had thought, I know how to relate, but also how to converse like a normal human, this will be great! I’m their perfect happy medium! Apparently the guys working here were so beyond the “nerd” spectrum, though. I had absolutely no pulse on Interviewer’s thought process and for the life of me couldn’t read his reactions. I tried desperately to stay my chipper self and ask intriguing questions. I was pulling every interview trick I had ever read or heard about out of my back pocket and am pretty sure he hadn’t smiled (or changed facial expressions at all) the entire time. I wanted to leave.
At one point, Interviewer asked if I had looked up any of their digital presence. As my resume showed that I am an obvious social media nerd coupled with the fact that the open position was at a digital agency, I was a little baffled that he would even think of that as a question. I saw it as a foregone conclusion; Of course I had looked them up. And I had critiques. To me, the interview couldn’t get much worse, so I was bluntly honest about where I thought they could improve (talking within their community/industry more, using a more genuine and colloquial tone, citing specific client case studies rather than broad aspirational topics). Again, Interviewer did not seem all that impressed.
As the interview was (finally) coming to an end, my interviewer sat back and said, “Well, I guess I just have one more question for you.” Breathing a sigh of relief I eagerly answered, “Yes, of course!”
“Tell me about Dunkin’ Donuts.”
I think my exact reaction was, “Um…they make the best coffee in the history of the world…?” I laughed at myself and stumbled over some more words: “They have a really great digital presence…and, um…their brand is definitely strong. On the east coast.” Followed by, “I’m sorry, I don’t know that I’m understanding your question. Do you want me to talk about how they’re succeeding in the digital space…or…?”
Interviewer SMILED and said, “No, honestly I’m just wondering what your relationship is with them, because, similarly to you looking us up online, I looked at your accounts, too. And I have to know… Does Dunkin’ Donuts pay you??”
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that freely in an interview before. I was astounded. And then, after explaining that yes, I was the one who had blogged about them, taken photos of every store I’d been in across 38 states, and mentioned them on Twitter over 500 times, I told him, “No, they don’t pay me. But I guess they should!”
Things returned to normal after that and Interviewer’s stone cold face said goodbye to me at their front door. And a little less than a week later I got a call from the agency offering me the job. I turned it down and have been at a different organization for a month now (LOVING IT) but that has got to be one of the best interview stories I’ll ever have.