As any high school or tertiary student knows, finding a part time job that fits around classes, study, internships, and a social life can be difficult. Teenagers who have finally reached the age of 14 and nine months head to their local shopping centre with a stack of resumes and go from store to store handing them in, hoping that one would bite. For many stores, however, the process is online: want a job at McDonalds, Coles, Woolies, Target, Big W, or any other chain store? To get a sniff of a chance, you have to go through each brand’s time consuming online application process, full of dozens of mind-numbing questions.
Having faced these problems herself and deciding she would try her hand to make it easier is Wellington’s Rebecca Gidall, who is launching PartTimer. The idea was first developed through the Venture Up program at CreativeHQ, an entrepreneurship program for 16 to 24 year olds.
Gidall and her team wanted to create a platform where high school students could easily detail and showcase their positive attributes and why employers should employ them, a platform which didn’t have a strong focus on experience – many of us have surely been through the frustrating ‘I need experience for this job but can’t get experience without a job’ loop.
“I think that, with a lot of traditional recruitment methods like just giving in a CV, people are held back because they can’t show the other reasons why they’re great and why they should be employed,” Gidall explained.
PartTimer, on the other hand, works by having an applicant create a profile by writing a bio and inputting basic level information such as what industries they want to work in and what hours they will be able to work, such as Monday 4pm to 6pm, Saturday 8am to 6pm, their location, and so on.
Employers, meanwhile, can view applicants via location – with the idea here being that while job seekers are willing to travel, they will be more punctual if living closer to work and won’t be tired from travel – and add them to a shortlist. The candidate then receives a notification saying that this employer is interested in them, and if they are also interested in return, can allow for the employer to view their full profile, after which a meeting can be arranged. It’s at the point where the employer views the full profile that they are billed.
“What we’re doing now is giving employers a reason to give them an interview because the applicant is close by or they’re available at the times that they need them. What that does is it actually gives them a reason beyond just experience to give them a shot,” Gidall explained.
At the completion of the Venture Up program the team was put in touch with Vivian Morresey, a tech industry veteran who has worked for the likes of Xero and Green Button, which was acquired by Microsoft.
Morresey said he would come on board to both work within the startup and invest in it, however it came with a caveat: they had to quit university to work on the startup full time, and had just four days to make the decision. Gidall was the only one to go all in and take him up on the offer.
“To me, being in several startups, some good some bad, the entrepreneur has to have that ability to do what’s required. You have to sell everything, you have to sleep on the floor…you have to ask, do you have what it takes to actually complete the process, because it will get hard. Rebecca did that, she quit university and then I said yes the next day,” Morresey said.
As well as Gidall as a founder, Morresey liked the idea itself; recruitment platforms and apps are a dime a dozen, with the likes of Skilld, Airtasker, and Workible covering various industries and types of jobs, but PartTimer is perhaps one of the first to specifically focus on the student, part time niche. As a father, Morresey saw this exact struggle teenagers face in trying to find a part time job, saying he has hassled his kids about finding a job and heard the reply that they’re just not hearing anything back. He saw PartTimer as a good solution.
“You don’t always feel like you always have to go on and apply and apply and apply. It’s the old, ‘the jobs will come to you’ and what technology is supposed to do for you these days. I’m on my phone – bing! That’s how it’s supposed to work,” he said.
In this sense, Gidall and Morresey explained that PartTimer is, in essence, a matching service, with the goal to match employers with job seekers who fit the bill in terms of what they want and then have them meet up to allow the employer to judge things such as work ethic – things that don’t always come through in a resume.
“I think youth want to hear that today, that you don’t necessarily need to have existing experiences to actually get your first job or your part time job. So if you think about the name itself, PartTimer, time is a critical component. If you can’t work when they need you to work it’s really pointless,” Morresey said.
“We spent a lot of time building a system that works to match the time component first. We’re not focusing on these skills of, do you wash dishes or sweep floors, because it doesn’t matter. If you want to get a job you’ll do whatever’s required, it’s what you have to do for the job.”
Gidall and Morresey decided to base their pricing model – the price itself is being fine-tuned – around the point when each applicant allows an employer who has shortlisted them to see their information as it’s here that they’ve identified the value exchange taking place.
PartTimer is currently looking to grow its presence around Wellington and New Zealand, but Giddell and Morresey expect global growth within the next 12 months, particularly in Australia, given the platform can essentially work anywhere.
“I think a controlled and managed process of growth would be the best way to describe it. Our plan is to get so many hundred employers here using it, learning a little bit more, fine-tune the process and then go straight to Australia,” Morresey said.
“Our goal is to grow within our means to a degree without promising the world and asking for a lot and then crashing and burning.”
Image: Rebecca Gidall and Vivian Morresey. Source: Supplied.