Talent Leader – Jimmy Key

August 8, 2023

Jimmy is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Scout, the UK’s number one embedded talent consultancy working with some of the best and brightest businesses in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Scout was founded in 2020 and last year was included in the Startups 100 list for the first time.

Jimmy like so many other internal talent professionals, started agency side before making the transition over to internal (because he didn’t like cold calling). He has managed a number of internal TA teams in businesses of various sizes and is now helping to build Scout alongside the Founder, Ed Jenner.


Company: Scout | Embedded Talent Recruitment Agency (

What do you think is the key to being successful as a Talent leader in the current business environment?

A couple of things. Firstly, a true understanding that an internal talent team is so much more than a bunch of people that source and screen. A truly great TA leader will help their team expand their knowledge and experience far beyond that and take them to a place where they become vital parts of whichever business they are a part of. Far too often TA teams are cast aside in tougher times as they have one sole objective, to recruit.

Secondly, a willingness to always improve and adapt. ‘But we’ve always done it like that’ is and will always be the death of a successful TA function. You only need to look at the recent appearance of AI to see how useful (when used properly) modern tools can be.

As a Talent leader, what is your key advice for managing your teams and people?

If I’m thinking purely about the recruitment side of the role, then the key advice would be around always doing the basics perfectly and using automation when and wherever possible. Productivity is absolutely essential, especially in the busier times, so utilise any tools you have to their absolute maximum and make everyone understand and buys into a simple but effective process

The other side of it is to never forget about the candidate. Every applicant is a human being that should be treated with respect and fairness. So create a truly enjoyable and easy to navigate recruitment journey, give personal feedback wherever possible and advertise your open roles with honest and accurate information. It’s very easy to click ‘reject’ and to forget how badly that might affect someone’s day or week.

How has the role of a recruiter changed and what new skills do you think they need to possess and develop?

There is a lot more focus on the quality of recruitment journey now, more than ever before. Recruiters now need the skills to take individuals through every process and leave them feeling happy and satisfied with the outcome every time, especially if they were unsuccessful.

However, I am still very much of the belief that the core skills of the good recruiter are the same as they have always been. Recruitment, when done really well, should not be difficult. It takes proper preparation, buy in from all key stakeholders, the correct tools and a whole lot of basic common sense. If you can get all that right, then you will do well to fail. This hasn’t changed in a long time.

What do you think is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity facing Talent and Recruitment?

The economy. All of us see the green ‘Open to Work’ banners from our fellow TA professionals on LinkedIn and we know that times are particularly tough if you are in this industry. The economy and recruitment have always walked hand in hand and when one is doing well then so is the other, and vice versa. However, it has been super encouraging recently to see the upturn in fortunes for so many and to see so many new TA jobs on the market. It really feels that we are on the up again and it makes me truly happy to see so many new job announcements each day.

Would you like to share any other opinions or thoughts about Talent acquisition and recruitment or the wider business world?

Well of course I am biased but embedded talent solutions will be the next big thing in the TA world. I’m amazed at how many people still do not know exactly what ‘embedded talent’ is and how often it is assumed that we are just another recruitment agency. There are some fantastic embedded companies out there, not just Scout, and as the economy rights itself we and they will be an absolutely invaluable asset to internal TA teams all over the world.’s Talent Leader Series seeks to share the view of leaders in the Talent space.

By sharing the thoughts and insights of these leaders will hopefully help the Talent industry as a whole as it explores new opportunities and faces new challenges.

If you are interested in taking part please reach out to for more information.

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