Updated: Feb 25, 2019
Jenny Chynoweth’s a recruiting professional with more than 20 years of experience working for tech companies, with stints at Amazon, Concur, Whitepages and RealSelf, and COO of local startup The Parent Project.
Committed to creating enriching and rewarding work experiences for parents and employers, she’s also is a busy mom with two elementary-age kids. Jenny spoke with The Swing Shift about what The Parent Project looks for in its candidates, and how people who are looking to shift gears, careers or return to the workplace can take advantage of their part-time opportunities.
The Swing Shift: What does The Parent Project offer folks who are looking for part-time opportunities?
Jenny: We provide flexible employment for career focused parents. There are talented new people who are looking for flexible work arrangements, and didn’t have an easy way to connect with the right opportunities. And many startup companies need their skills. So we’re putting them together. We think it’s an untapped market of highly-skilled talent.
The Swing Shift: What’s your “must-haves” when you’re matching a client with a company?
Jenny: All candidates will need to be able to work in the U.S. We can help with a resume and LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already got them polished up from The Swing Shift. You will need references, so you’ll want to line these up, since opportunities are always presenting themselves. Apply online and answer our pre-screening questions.
The Swing Shift: Do they need to have contiguous work experience? How long a break do you feel is acceptable?
Jenny: Breaks are largely influenced by the roles. If they are looking into an SEO role, they will need to have shown that they are familiar with SEO and have worked with it in some capacity in the recent past. Bookkeeping is a little more forgiving, although there are some new tech tools that they will need to get up to speed on. So it depends.
The Swing Shift: We’ve found that a lot of people looking for part-time work are using this as a way to move back into the marketplace; or to test out a different role or industry. If a work break is a barrier, what are the top 2-3 things that need to be addressed in order to place?
Jenny: The biggest thing we look for is what they’ve done to keep themselves current with the latest trends in their industry. Are they part of an industry group, or done some contract work in the area? We also want them to be super realistic about their availability and commitment. 20 hours a week is a lot, especially if you are working another job. It may not be doable for everyone. Be realistic with yourself and us regarding your expectations and goals. If you’re coming back after a break, be aware that compensation will not be the same as when you left the workforce. They may need to take one step back in order to take two steps forward.
The Swing Shift: If switching roles or industries is a barrier, what are its top 2-3 things that need to be addressed in order to place?
Jenny: Really, it’s just like someone who’s returning. What things have they done to become familiar with the industry they are moving into? Also, examine your motivating factors for a move? The grass isn’t always greener. And as above, compensation will be different. Depending on the severity of the job and career shift, you may essentially starting as a newbie. Lastly, use what skills you have to help you transition into your target industry. For example, if you are a hair stylist wanting to join the tech world, look for a tech company that primarily focuses on the beauty industry. Inside knowledge can go a long way!
The Swing Shift: How important is your pitch? If someone says “I’ve got a background in sales. I’ve been away for 5 years; during that time I ran a $2m fundraising campaign. I love working with people in a client services capacity, and have strong local philanthropy ties” How do they rank?
Jenny: I love this! I would rank them high however that will also depend on the clients we have and the needs they have. Startups are typically still getting their businesses up and running so philanthropy work may not be on the forefront of their minds. But putting that positioning together in a succinct way is super important.