#BehindtheSelfie with... Emily Keyes

This week we go behind the selfie with Emily Keyes, founder and CEO of The Talent Boom.
Keyes captions this: "Driving through Cape Town on a sunny day."

1. Where do you live, work and play?


Between Cape Town and Miami Florida. It seems glamorous but it’s really just endless hours of flying!

2. What’s your claim to fame?


I used to be a children's party entertainer and dressed up as a banana, with 30 kids shouting ‘silly banana’ to me. True story.

3. Describe your career so far.


I started my own business at 14 and hired my mum to drive me around! I left school at 15, with no education but a goal to make something of my life and to build something meaningful. After years of working for other recruiting companies in the UK and Amsterdam, I moved to Cape Town in 2013 and set up The Talent Boom.
We’re a global creative and digital recruiting firm with our HQ in Cape Town and offices in Miami and Amsterdam. We work hard introducing top talent to our global clients within the advertising world. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to constantly build a great business with our employees – Boomers – who believe in what we do and have fun doing it.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


My Boomers, when I hear them all laughing away in the office; my poodle, Frankie London; and I have to say, driving my Porsche on a nice sunny day in Cape Town.


5. What do you love about your industry?


For me, recruiting is the most rewarding career one can have in every way.

On a business level, when we introduce talent to businesses, we have the opportunity to change the lives of the candidate as well as the client, who may be taking on their next superstar, helping to build their agency into the next award-winning company.


Also, on a personal level, having come from a struggling background, the rewards of recruiting is what you make of it. If you work damn hard, you can play damn hard, too.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.


Amongst other things, my time is now spent mentoring my Boomers as well as expanding the company into other countries, so we can be closer to our global clients.


7. What are the tools of your trade?


A phone and an ambitious go-getter.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


Any recruitment agency that is known for its good reputation.

9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.


We are not as perfect as recruiters. Sometimes we drop the ball, but as long as we admit it and are honest with our candidates and clients, we will learn to get it right. I’m really grateful that I started at the bottom in my industry, 16 years ago. I spent the first few months in recruitment going door-to-door knocking and wasn’t allowed in the office until I got job orders in.
As I worked my way up, I had amazing mentors who helped me understand recruitment. I'm still learning now, as we all do, but I’m happy I had this experience, as it allows me to be the best teacher I can be. The only way to learn is through mistakes that we make, individually and as a team.
Some of the top billers at my company made big mistakes in their first few months of employment, but they came out stronger and hungrier to succeed. There are always pain points in any business, but if you have a solid brand and employees that want to help create something great, you can all work through it to turn the painful experience into a pleasurable one.

10. What are you working on right now?


We’re currently looking at our expansion into the United States. We have an office in Miami and now, looking at our hiring plans and after some in-depth research, are toying between two states…


11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.


Ninja is so yesterday. It’s all about the slam dunk!

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?


Usually at the most inappropriate times.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?


I read tarot cards. True story.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


Technophile, for sure.

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?


Pictures of me dancing with my dog, pics of me painting my dog’s nails, screenshots of my home screen, which I constantly take by accident when I lock it.

Keyes chilling on a Sunday with her poodle, Frankie London.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?


Recruitment is a fulfilling and rewarding life-long career if you play the game right, as long as you are dedicated, sincere and commit to it.

Creatively reducing stress during interviews

The Talent Boom (recruiters in the creative industries) has launched a new game '28 Seconds' (based on the popular 30 Seconds) that aims to inject some creativity into the interview process...

4 Feb 2016


Simple as that. Follow Keyes on LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as the Talent Boom on Facebook and Twitter.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, was an #Inspiring50 2018 nominee, and can be reached at ...
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