A great candidate experience can be a key differentiator in successfully recruiting top talent to your company – and keeping them there. For Brandy Blackwell, Dunkin’s Director of New Business – Delivery and Catering, her candidate experience with Dunkin’ convinced her to move away from her roots down south and head north to New England to join the brand’s digital team in March 2019.
Prior to joining Dunkin’, Blackwell had 14 years of experience in the restaurant industry with a focus in marketing. A few years prior to taking the Dunkin’ job, she moved to Atlanta from Florida for a job and was happy in the role when Dunkin’ Talent Acquisition Manager Lori Marini reached out in December 2018.
Blackwell, as part of Talent Board’s 2021 Candidate Experience Day social media campaign (#CandExperienceDay2021), shared how her experience led her to Dunkin’.
Q: Why did you take the call from Dunkin’?
A: Initially, it was the brand. Boston was not the reason (laughing). … I grew up in Winter Park, Fla. and my family lives in Asheville, N.C., so New England felt too far and off the grid for me. But Lori asked me terrific questions and was very easy to talk to. I liked that an internal recruiter reached out to me; it made the opportunity seem more serious. And I really liked what I heard about the brand and culture.
Q: How did the call go?
A: Much like Atlanta - I had only been there a couple of years - I didn’t think New England was for me, so I politely declined Lori's invitation to interview for the role. A few weeks later, she followed up and suggested I reconsider and, at a minimum, have a call with one of Dunkin’s marketing leads to learn more. Lori spoke highly of Stephanie Meltzer-Paul (Senior Vice President of Dunkin’ Digital Marketing) as a new leader in the company and said the call would take just 30 minutes. I thought to myself, “OK, what could it hurt?” Lori was very convincing during our conversations.
Q: How did the conversation with Meltzer-Paul go?
A: It went really well! Stephanie spoke a lot about the opportunity to build something from the ground up and that she was looking for someone with experience who could bring a fresh perspective to the role. It sounded like a great opportunity and I got really excited about the ability to carve out my own path and influence the landscape of what digital off-premise would look like for Dunkin'. Beyond that, Stephanie spoke a lot about her experience with the brand and the culture. It all sounded really appealing to me.
Q: What else during the interview process made Dunkin’ feel like a fit for you?
A: The entire process was professional, but casual. I really felt like I was able to talk openly, and my ideas were well-received. The interview panel I met with was organized, asked great questions, and were each open with their experiences at the brand. Everyone was kind and welcoming; it became evident to me early on that Dunkin’ is a place where people live and breathe their culture, but also have a strong work-life balance. I was also impressed with the tenure and career paths of the people I met with. I believe that employee retention is fueled by the ability to move within the organization, so it was great to hear how these folks had grown their careers at Dunkin'.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to work at Dunkin’?
A: I was at the airport. I actually cried because it was so clear to me that I would take the job, and move to New England, if it was offered to me. I just knew I would regret it if I passed on the opportunity.
Q: After receiving and accepting the offer, what was the transition like moving to New England?
A: The transition up to Boston was so seamless and Dunkin’ really did a great job helping me. It really felt like every aspect of my needs were being taken care of; a turn-key transition if you will. The reimbursement was quick, too, which was great. They offered me a lot of flexibility and a great work-life balance while I moved and got my life situated.
Q: What was most memorable about your first day?
A: I remember that I had to Uber to work on the first day because I've never driven in snow (laughing). I also remember my first encounter with the fully stocked donut, bakery, and coffee offerings in our third-floor cafeteria. What a treat!
Q: Anything else about your experience you’d like to share?
A: Lori, whose job was basically done after I accepted the position, constantly reached out to me throughout the process to see how I was doing. She genuinely cared about my happiness and me as a person, not just as a candidate. She would check in to make sure I was prepared for my interviews, that my travel was good, etc. She even introduced me to another new hire who was relocating from Chicago, so I would have a friend. It made me feel even better about my decision to go through the process and eventually come work here.
Q: Final question. What would you say to someone considering a new opportunity at Dunkin'?
A: I'd say the people and culture is second to none. The brand encourages team members to work hard and achieve their goals, but also offers you an opportunity to play hard with a great work-life balance. I'd say if you're ever considering an opportunity at Dunkin', take the call ... I'm sure happy I did!