How to Avoid Emily in Paris Candidates

“The search for quality talent requires persistence, dedication and attention to detail so as to not hire a candidate that could lead to losses for your organization. While Emily’s whimsy often leads to success, that’s rarely the case in reality.”

 

When it comes to the language of luxury and premium fashion, we’re as enchanted by it as anyone else. Dazzling fabrics, brilliant accessories and imaginative themes—we’re prey to it all. So it’s no surprise that we’re victims of Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.” The satirical show of a young American who leaves everything behind in Chicago to begin a new marketing job in Paris is charming, albeit awkward at times. (We’ll do our best to remain as spoiler-free as possible).

If you haven’t watched it, the show’s titular character, Emily Cooper, moves to Paris to start a new position at a marketing agency. The entirety of the plot revolves around Emily’s lack of cultural understanding of Paris and her character’s oblivious refusal to assimilate, such as not attempting to learn French even after two seasons. If anything, “Emily in Paris” teaches just how important it is to avoid a cultural mis-hire.

​​Interviewing is already a difficult enough process. The search for quality talent requires persistence, dedication and attention to detail so as to not hire a candidate that could lead to losses for your organization. While Emily’s whimsy often leads to success, that’s rarely the case in reality.

Signs of a Poor Cultural Fit

Emily, quite often, shows she is a poor fit for the Parisian marketing company. Aside from being unable to communicate effectively in French, Emily often bulldozes over French customs with her American individualism. “Emily in Paris” misrepresents Parisians and Emily often criticizes their culture rather than trying to understand with a new worldview.

These are several signs of a poor cultural fit, such as:

  • Refusal to embrace cultural values
  • Underperformance
  • Friction with peers
  • Contribution to toxicity in the workplace
  • Misalignment with moral or ethical standards

The above encapsulates Emily in her new position (aside from underperformance, since her social media content always seems to take off or go viral). She bemoans the gendered nature of the French language (episode 2), grows frustrated with Parisians’ “lazy” style of work and makes countless cultural mistakes.

Faux-Pas: Avoiding a Mis-hire

There are several steps you can take to avoid Emily Coopers in your brand. In reality, hires like Emily often lead to losses. You can also read our latest blog on the cost of having a poor recruitment and selection process, for a more in-depth analysis.

First, make sure your job description is accurate. Be sure to include what characteristics and qualifications you are searching for and what it takes to excel in the role. Are you looking for someone charismatic? Do you require them to be fluent in another language? Someone who is diligent and can work without direction? Or maybe you need someone who can thrive in a fast-paced environment and welcomes change. This is information any candidate can look inwards and be honest with themselves if they are suited for the role.   Be sure to share these details with your recruiting partner so they can make those criteria part of the candidate screening process.

Next, examine the interview process. Are you interviewing for a cultural fit or an immediate hire? The interview is the time to get to know the applicant personally, whether face-to-face or remote. Any luxury hiring manager must determine if the candidate is a quality fit. Some questions you can ask are if the candidate likes to work alone or collaborate with a team, what the candidate likes to read or watch, what their leadership style is, why they chose to apply and more.

Guilty Pleasure

“Emily in Paris” is a guilty pleasure for everyone at our firm. Between the luxury brands that the characters wear and the dreamy, romantic cityscape of Paris, it’s hard not to be.  However, recruiters and employers alike can take notes of the impact a poor cultural fit has on a company, especially on their peers.


The Bowerman Group takes pride in finding créme de la créme talent who is a great cultural fit for your luxury or premium brand. Our tailored approach ensures that candidates are rigorously screened to find the best-suited candidates for your hiring needs. Reach out to us today to start a conversation.