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EPISODE 25: French Connection (w/Voilá founder Victoire Duprez)

The Startup Stack
EPISODE 25: French Connection (w/Voilá founder Victoire Duprez)

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Voilá (Voi·la): A french word meaning: there it is, there you are
“‘Voila!’ she said, producing a pair of strappy white sandals.”

Voilá. It’s the perfect name for a recruiting company. And for Victoire Duprez, it’s a one word story about who she is and where she’s been.

Victoire, who is french, rose through the ranks at the global recruiting firm Michael Page, working for powerhouse french brands like Chanel, and ultimately landing in Los Angeles, where this January, she decided to do something kind of crazy: start a recruiting outfit of her own.

On today’s pod Louis & Victoire talk about how it’s going, the specifics of the Los Angeles tech scene, and the ways the pandemic has changed the way companies hire.

“To be honest when I moved to LA I realized really quickly that you don’t have to have a really big company here. You have a lot of small startups that are starting and they are great businesses.”

-Victoire Duprez

🎙 Highlights include: 

  • Victoire’s story of coming to America and the difference in recruiting here.
  • How is the D&I conversation different in Europe vs. the U.S?
  • What is a recruiting warranty and should you ask for one?
  • How should companies select a recruiter that is a match for their needs?
  • What should companies be paying a recruiter — & how to know whether it’s too much or too little?

This Week’s Guest

Victoire Duprez Guest Image

Victoire Duprez

Founder & Managing Partner @ Voilà

Victoire Duprez is a recruiter and the founder of Voilà, a Talent Matching Agency. Though she was born and raised in France and has travelled all around the world, Victoire’s recruiting agency is based in sunny Los Angeles.

The Startup Stack’s Host
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is louis-1024x1002.png

Louis Beryl

CEO, Co-Founder of Rocketplace

Rocketplace is a curated marketplace of high quality professional service providers. A 3x founder, investor, and board member, Louis began his tech career as a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. When he’s not working or podcasting, Louis enjoys cooking for his family. His pizza, he’d like you to know, is incredible. 

Full Episode Transcript

Victoire Duprez: [00:00:00] Okay. So why did the invisible man turned down the job offer? 

Louis Beryl: [00:00:05] I don’t know. 

Victoire Duprez: [00:00:07] He couldn’t seem to see himself doing it.

Louis Beryl: [00:00:12] Good one. 

Voila. It’s a French word. Meaning: “there it is.” It’s also the name of Victoire Dupre’s LA based recruiting company. As in: “Voila, there it is, your new head of logistics.” Except as the name suggests Victoria is French and it sounds much better when she says it. 

Voila, voila. 

Anyways, on today’s pod Victoire and I talk about the story behind Voila, the differences between recruiting cultures in the U S and abroad, and where work trends are heading as the world slowly reopens.

It’s a great conversation. So let’s get into it. 

So tell us a little bit about Voila. 

Victoire Duprez: [00:00:51] I’ve been a recruiter for six years now. I was with a big recruiting firm called Michael Page before  COVID came and I think I thought I’d learned I learned everything I could from Michael Page and it was time to launch my own little recruitment agency with my own style, my own rules and my own vision.

So Voila was born in September 2020. We are focusing on sales, marketing, finance and accounting positions. And we are focused in Los Angeles — mostly like California and with a focus on Los Angeles — working with small to medium businesses, mostly startups, and trying to focus on the CPG, tech, media and entertainment industries.

Louis Beryl: [00:01:38] So you and your  partner started Voila six months ago. 

Victoire Duprez: [00:01:43] Exactly. I started and I brought onboard an employee two months ago. 

Louis Beryl: [00:01:47] But you’ve been in the industry for six years. Tell me about what really inspired you to start this. It must’ve been scary to leave your big firm and start your own company.

Victoire Duprez: [00:01:57] I think so. To be honest, I was with them for six years. I started with them in Paris because I’m French, obviously. So for four years I was working with them and then they asked to move countries. So they  (pause) onboarded me in the Los Angeles office two years ago I already had so many scary challenges with them starting all over from zero and then with COVID I found myself working from home along with my computer without a team around me And I was also building the finance and accounting team in Los Angeles with another recruiter I was already kind of not alone but Not on a team So it wasn’t that scary And it didn’t change a lot for me after six months of working from home too to create my own company It was a bit scary to like find my style find my marketing strategy find my specialization but all the came very easily to be honest 

Louis Beryl: [00:02:55] you didn’t expect you would have to but then instantly you figured out that oh I got to do all these things 

Victoire Duprez: [00:03:00] Yes Especially setting up everything For example finding a good marketing strategy I thought it would be very easy to find a name and build the website and find my style because I think it’s very important for a younger recruiting firm There was a lot of competition and I was helped by an agency actually that’s did a great job and I didn’t expect that it was that much work to find a name and find my style Or finding a really good database because at Michael Page I had my internal database and now I was like wow there are so many databases on the market And it was really hard to choose the right one because it’s really important for a recruiter And also all the challenge is sourcing candidates when you don’t have all the tools that you used to have So you need to be very creative So the tech part is also like very important But yeah overall it’s quite easy to onboard at the beginning at this and I didn’t have that many challenges The database was hard because I had to compare everything that was happening on the markets because I’m very picky 

Louis Beryl: [00:04:12] The biggest challenge was the software decision 

Victoire Duprez: [00:04:15] Yes that’d be a decision for sure because it’s really important to do a search and to be able to find candidates quickly And to recall everything you know about candidates Client opportunities it’s very important 


Louis Beryl: [00:04:29] Hello. 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:04:34] Louis?

Louis Beryl: [00:04:36] Hey Ben Sorry It’s a little loud. 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:04:45] Where are you? 

Louis Beryl: [00:04:47] I’m test driving rocketships.

Ben Hutchinson: [00:04:48] You’re WHAT?

Louis Beryl: [00:04:50] Rocketships for the Rocketplace ad. Excuse me — what does this button do? [Sounds of robot walking over] [Robot voice responding]. Oh don’t touch it. [Sound of hand being slapped]. Okay. 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:05:03] Louis we’ve talked about this. 

Louis Beryl: [00:05:04] It’s branding Ben trust me. Hey does the ship have windshield wipers? [Sounds of robot walking over] [Robot voice responding] [Sound of hand being slapped].

Ben Hutchinson: [00:05:12] I told you I think we should just explain what Rocketplace is. How we use intelligent software to pair businesses with world-class businesses in everything from finance and accounting to marketing and branding, recruiting, software development, domain name buying, product design, and more. 

Louis Beryl: [00:05:28] I guess we did talk about that. 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:05:32] Yeah! 

Louis Beryl: [00:05:32] So no rocket ships then? 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:05:35] No. 

Louis Beryl: [00:05:35] You sure? 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:05:36] Come home bud. 

Louis Beryl: [00:05:38] Okay. Excuse me. [Sound of seat belt unbuckling] Actually I  have to go.[Sounds of robot walking over] How do I leave? [Robot voice responding] Oh I can’t leave? [Robot voice “Shields on”] Wait why is the floor rumbling? [Sounds of rocket ship rumbling getting louder and taking off] 

Ben Hutchinson: [00:05:58] Rocketplace. Find your firms. Grow your business. 

Louis Beryl: [00:06:01] Ben? Ben? I don’t know if I’m going to make it to the office today.

You’ve told me before that one of the things that inspired you to start Voila was that you really wanted to make recruiting fun Tell me more about what that means 

Victoire Duprez: [00:06:22] Yeah So when I started with Michael Page so to be honest I came into the recruitment industry by hotel chains when I was younger I was traveling the world I lived abroad a lot of my life I lived for two years in Australia And I came back to my hometown in France for a wedding and I bumped into someone that was working at Michael Page and he introduced me to his boss And I got very seduced by the industry by the challenge and the role It’s not very well known to be a recruiter And I think it’s one of the most challenging position you can have And so since the beginning I really found my style and tried to differentiate myself by being fun So being fun means to onboard people and to deal with clients in a very easy way and also to make it very easy smooth and make it pleasant for clients And that was always my style in France and when I came in here as well 

Louis Beryl: [00:07:26] And why don’t you tell me a little bit more about you know you just said that recruiting isn’t easy I don’t think it’s easy I don’t think anyone thinks it’s easy actually Like how do you do it I mean one of the things that I find incredibly challenging is when you’re meeting candidates you know you’re sourcing individuals How do you really tell whether or not they’re any good I mean how do you think through that How do you make sure that when you’re putting candidates in front of Your clients that they’re excellent enough to be up to the bar that they would expect 

Victoire Duprez: [00:08:01] So the sourcing part is quite challenging To be honest I use mostly LinkedIn and you have to interview I think I interview 20 30 candidates per week to get to know like everyone To get to build within my network And then I think the biggest challenge is to create a relationship with them not just calling them when you have a position or when they are interesting to you but just have the relationship Know how they are what their life is like if they are happy at their current company and know exactly what they want So we are really just networking all the time So we can eventually explain why this is going to be a good position for them and bringing them to the clients And then you’re gonna really like it depends on the level you are recruiting If you are recruiting like a junior person you’re going to have to onboard them And we Support them into the whole process why this company is good for him and find the selling points And if it’s a senior level it’s going to be a bit more complicated you know We have to know where they are and take news from the candidates all the time And as soon as you have a position and you think you have found someone you need to be proactive and you usually know who’s going to be a good fit for the position 

Louis Beryl: [00:09:19] Can you give me some examples of a role that you’re recruiting for I don’t know that really went sideway Right And how did that happen 

Victoire Duprez: [00:09:31] Yeah for example when I was in France I was working with Chanel So that is like a retail company like everyone they wanted to hire the new person responsible for their brand I mean their icon thing And they had like really specific requirements because Chanel is a very demanding company So they are looking for people leaders and accountants People who talk multiple languages or have a very good like presentation and also they had to have retail experience for like more than 10 years in another luxury company Like Louis Vitton a big competitor And I was trying to show them that you can sign talent that are not exactly what you’re looking for but they’re going to do a great job And I ended up finding that I was like you’re competing with a lot of other recruiters And I was really a part of that one because I bring on board someone that was not from the retail industry Someone that was from the media industry I changed to a completely different industry but showed them that when someone is very like smart and really matches the position and the culture of the company you can teach them how to Do retail how to do luxury So then they took the risk and this person now is still there It’s been five years that’s essential And I think it’s a really good way to show that even if people have a lot of requirements…and especially in the US when I moved here people were going to be much more open minded about backgrounds But Here as well they put out a lot of requirements and it’s my job to show them that it’s not always good to have that many requirements and that you can find talent that matches the company even if they are not doing the exact same thing already in the same industry or the same position And then I think it is a big challenge to show it to clients because they really have strong ideas about it 

Louis Beryl: [00:11:31] But now I’m thinking so you’re working with Chanel and France Now you’ve moved to LA Okay You’re working with LA companies And you’re working on startups So how how did you make that transition and why have you decided to focus on LA 

Victoire Duprez: [00:11:46] To be honest when I moved in LA I realized really quickly that you don’t have really big big companies here You have to have a lot of small startups small businesses that are starting and they are great businesses When you think about it CPG tec and CPG mostly because I really like CPG That’s consumer products beauty cosmetic food and beverage And yeah you have those companies here but you mostly have startups that are very dynamic and I just adapted to the market I guess And to be honest it’s much more my style to work with small companies where you are able to deal with the president or the CEO directly because usually you don’t have human resources or hiring manager and you can understand the overall culture to know all the teams to meet them they are much more accessible I think of when I was working with Chanel and they were dealing with accounting hiring but here for example I’m working a services startup that is makinggeek Manufacturing gee And they are 11 people and I’m dealing with the presidents So I think it’s much more interesting for me to to see the overall business because I’m really passionate about business and discovering the culture and it really means a lot to me to work with someone and to know exactly who I’m going to work with what are going to be the challenges Where is the company going in terms of goals and developments Like for example now I know a company the company is going to do really great and they’re going to recruit in the future and I’m going to be able to know all the team members where when I was working with big companies in France I was like recruiting some for sure But it was so big that I didn’t have control of everything you know and I was also visiting with the recruiter and I was also competing with the hiring manager of the company Where here I feel much more important for clients I just feel more valuable 

Louis Beryl: [00:13:40] I’d like to ask you your advice for potential clients out there Companies that are looking to hire or thinking about hiring and maybe they’re considering hiring a recruiter to work with an outside recruiter What are the things that they should be asking themselves when they’re trying to evaluate whether or not they should hire a recruiter at all And then say they meet multiple recruiters How do they decide which recruiter is right 

Victoire Duprez: [00:14:05] Yeah that’s a really hard part So as you know most of the recruiters they don’t work on retainer There work contingencies So usually you are in competition with other recruiters So it’s very hard and challenging from my point of view for the company to choose the right recruiter because you need to choose someone that is going to be very interested by your business but also a good fit And I think um it’s important for them to talk to more than one recruiter to see a bit like who is very specialized and everything But the challenge for me for this company is to find the person that is like technically really good That has the knowledge of position they’re going to hire for but also a good fit being very reactive being very supportive to them because it’s a long process And let’s say that recruitment is one of the most key most important thing for a company It’s really very important And sometimes People they just go with the cheapest recruiter Because again there are very very big fees for recruitment but I think they should they should really go for the one they have the fit with because It’s a real investment and usually you have a warranty period And I think the recruitment is the most important thing for a company In sales in music I think a good product is important Having the right people is very important as well And that’s an interesting thing about warranties 

Louis Beryl: [00:15:36] So tell me about how you think through that 

Victoire Duprez: [00:15:38] So the grant is for me it acts like a badge We have two or three months warranty depending on the clients need to be honest I think uh I think the fee is so important that we should be able to give back the money if it’s not working because usually the medium fee in the US is like $20K Between $20 and 30K for like a manager for example And for me it’s a huge amount of money and we should be able to give it back if it’s not working You know if you did a great job and it’s not your fault They’re going to hire you again So you can you’re going to get the fee back right But the option that the company can have the money back I think is really important because what I want is that the client is paying for the fee for sure But also I want the client to be really happy in the long-term And this money back offer is very secure for them Because they don’t take really any waste And when you know you’re doing a great job usually you don’t have those kinds of problems To be honest I never had to deal with pay backs in my career or like maybe once or twice but to be honest I don’t remember a lot in France I did twice I think in the us But basically never because you’re just being so careful about your recruitment and you don’t want to you don’t want to go through that And it’s usually the hard part and all the clients are very afraid of this 

Louis Beryl: [00:16:59] I think that’s awesome around the guarantee And I could totally see how that gives potential clients A lot of peace of mind I’m just wondering though like you must see stories or hear about other recruiters that aren’t great I mean what are the red flags What are the questions that I should be asking as I meet recruiters to help you know to understand like wait this doesn’t sound right You don’t sound like you know what you’re doing Oh there’s red flags here What should I be watching out for 

Victoire Duprez: [00:17:28] For me the first red flag is a recruiter telling you okay I’m going to send you a maximum of like 10 resumes For me there is no maximum You need to send a resumes until the client is happy Like if the client wants to meet 30 candidates you’re going to tell him it’s a bit too much You’re going to lose time And I’m going to be much more specific than that And I’m going to send you the right candidates But if some recruiter gives a maximum resume or maximum interview for me it’s a bit cheap I think you should be able to support the clients Especially for startups from beginning to end and see the recruitment is done And even after you know so this is a bit of a red flag Another red flag for me is a short grants barrier That means usually that um like for me to be honest I’m very comfortable with giving usually three months Because I really seen that in three months you are really able to see if it’s going to work But I give a lot of flexibility around that If it’s three months and a half I’m not going to say look you should have donethis 15 days before now we want to partner on the longterm in this flexibility So on the contract is three months but I’m giving more if I have to I never I never really had the chance to do it because I never had anyone ask for their money back but I’m sure that I will do it because again it’s a big fee and it’s really important So the shopper garuntee and the maximum resume is from yellow to red flag And also the reactivity if the recruiter is not responsive if the recruiter is not available for you I don’t think it’s a really good sign For example I have a client that is in Europe if the only way we can do it I’m going to wake up early to be on calls responding And for me this is the deducation and this is very important And I think that’s different from a lot of other recruiters You know even if you are dealing with like 10 positions at the same time you should be able to give time for your clients And to really Like adapt with their schedule because they have so much to do And usually you are dealing with like CEO or CFO or sales director You need to find time for them For sure 

Louis Beryl: [00:19:39] You talked about timing earlier I bet a lot of clients asked the question of how long do you think it’s going to take to hire for this role Is there like a rule of thumb that you think most searches should take or is every search different 

Victoire Duprez: [00:19:51] Every search is different but I think the thing you need to answer from that is that it really depends on you It’s a collaboration If I’m sending you great resumes and great candidates and I don’t have any response in a week for example we’re going to lose them So for me a good recruiter is a good team between the recruiter and the company that’s really important Also usually there is not really timing that you need to give I think it depends on the market It depends on Who do you find But usually I’m very reactive to introduce candidate and organize interviews and to close the deal for sure But it’s it’s for me it’s a lot about teamwork and reactivity Like I’m going to send you candidates and you’re going to answer me straight away Yes Let’s meet them very soon And then we go from there it needs to be very flowy you know but usually a recruitment in the US is between three and four weeks I would say In the timing of the sourcing of it again it depends on the clients and the position but that’s that’s pretty much what I do Between three and four weeks

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Is there any things that you wish clients knew before they start working with a recruiter or they start working with you?

Victoire Duprez: [00:21:29] I wish they knew how hard it is to find good candidates When they have good candidates sometimes they’re not very responsive I wish they knew sometimes that…like for example last week I had a client that was a really good fit Like one of my candidates I knew was the perfect hire but he wants to see more candidates And usually most of the time it can be a mistake because the candidate can feel frustrated because he thought he was a really good fit but they still need to see more So yeah I wish they knew how hard it is to find a good fit uh someone that is fitting the culture the position the commute everything It’s really challenging And Some some people they don’t really they don’t really value that And it’s a bit frustrating for us sometimes because we know exactly what we’re doing but we have those situation all the time and they don’t know So obviously it’s hard for them but yeah that’s that’s very important 

Louis Beryl: [00:22:31] You were just talking about commutes So I think that’s a great transition to us talking about trends and what’s going on in the world now Obviously 2020 was a huge change Right Um everyone has been remote What are you seeing now at the beginning of 2021 How has recruiting changed even from 2020 Are people still very focused on remote work or is that starting to seem different What are your clients talking about What are your candidates talking about 

Victoire Duprez: [00:23:01] From the candidate perspective everyone wants to work from home I think some people miss the office but what we can say is that everyone enjoyed this flexibility of being able to work from home and like organize their schedule as they wanted All the candidates want to keep this flexibility. And most of the candidates are very open to work half from home and half from the office. The ideal for everyone is two or three days per week at home, like organize  my schedule and like focusing on some stuff. And then one, one, one to two days per week at the office to obviously keep the culture up and meet the team, which is, I think of importance.

So yeah, this schedule from a client perspective, you can sell a lot of clients on it. Also they really like this work from home vibe and they are recruiting like fully remote and they are even open to more talents, which is really great because it opens a lot of new candidate perspectives.

You know, for example, I’m working now for a young startup in Texas and they’re very open. The person can be obviously in the US but in New York, in California, um, in, in Texas. I really open and I think it’s great and very open-minded to be like this, because they’re going to open the possibility of much more candidates.

Louis Beryl: [00:24:35] How has that affected you? The way you source or, you know, I imagine since you’re LA-based, you are building a very strong network in LA and are now you sourcing candidates from all over the country, maybe all over the world? 

Victoire Duprez: [00:24:48] Yes. Exactly. So for me, it’s much more possibility. I’m kind of traditional, I keep I focus on LA because I can also see that most of the company, they are very open, but they’re also telling me yeah, it would be better if it’s California-based for the time. For also the fact that you can drive some time to the office to meet the team. I think it’s important. So even if people are very open and some companies are more open than others. But for a company that’s used to having an office use and where everyone is in LA, I think it’s better to have someone in LA to keep like the teamwork and to be able to meet people in person because even if there’s a lot of new technology like zoom or e-meetings, or like all of these, I think like nothing will replace an in-person meeting with people in-person.

And, um, I’m keeping focusing on LA, but obviously for some position where I, when I sit at a company that is very open to that and where that’s in their culture, I’m very open. So I’m much more open right now to talk to candidates recently, like in New York or in Texas before I was like, “Oh no, this person is living in New York! I’m not even going to deal with that!” 

But now I’m more open because I know that in the future I could have opportunities remote. So I love talking to people and people are much more open also to move. So that’s pretty much opened my perspective. And I really like it. I think it’s much better because you can see more talents and more possibilities, and you can also be more proactive with the plans or say, you know, “this person is in New York, but to be honest, she’s great.’

And I think that today you have the tools to onboard someone from New York, you know.

Louis Beryl: [00:26:31] Obviously a big topic is around diversity. For companies  out there, what’s some advice where, you know, diversity is very important to them? Do you have any tips for what could help them recruit people from more diverse backgrounds?

Victoire Duprez: [00:26:50] Yes. Go to a recruiter because we know everyone. It’s also like they don’t really ask for diversity because it’s like, it’s still discrimination, even if it’s positive discrimination. So they, they cannot really do that. But any tips just to open their mind. And to like, um, to go to a recruiter that is open minded because not everyone is. And they will be able to like bring persons from different backgrounds.

Clients will say to me: You know, we have a lot of like…the culture right now is this way because we have a lot of people from the same background and we would like diversity. And I think we know, we know everyone and we have a network, a very, very developed one. So we are able to bring this diversity. 

And that’s a good point in what you choose in your recruiter. I think because we, again, we know people and we are specialized and, uh, and it’s a good, it’s a good way to bring new people, you know. When the hiring manager is not like internal to the company they can be more open-minded, I think. So it’s always a good tip. 

Louis Beryl: [00:27:59] I know that Voila has only been around six months, but if you could go back six months or twelve months and give yourself a piece of advice before you started Voila, what would be the advice that you would give to yourself?

Victoire Duprez: [00:28:14] Don’t overthink it at the  beginning., I was really focusing on, as I told you, like putting in place a database. But I should have realized that I could just trust myself and just start to do it and start to work very quickly. Because I think that at the beginning, I was really focusing on…is my marketing strategy perfect before I start to speak for Voila, you know? I think I lost a bit of a time, uh, on like putting things in place. But I think it’s when you really work. And when you really start to do it, that you see what you need to adjust. And just start it and improve it.

Don’t make it perfect to start it. Just start speaking with candidates. Try, um, to explain your background, explain what you did before, instead of like waiting until everything is perfect to start. I think I lost one or two months because of it. And I think this is true for all the businesses.

Just start work, try, fail. And then come back. Instead of trying to make the perfect product and then trying to sell it. I think feedback is a gift. And I had a lot of feedback after that and I had to change things still. So I think the feedback of the costumer is going to help to improve whether you make an agency or a product or anything else.

Louis Beryl: [00:29:40] Well, thank you victoire. This has been great. I really loved learning  more about Voila, all your tips for recruiting and hearing more about Voila. It was awesome. So thank you so much for joining us today

For more on our conversation today visit We upload a new episode every week. So if you haven’t yet make sure to subscribe to The Startup Stack in Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Thanks again for joining us. See you next week. 

The Startup Stack written and edited by Hannah Levy produced by Leah Jackson.