Prokanga is a unique recruiting firm that offers full-time and flexible recruiting services. Prokanga is managed by co-founders Jamie Cheney and Lesley Finer. Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Finer, who has more than 10 years of recruiting for the finance industry and leads the finance practice at Prokanga.

What is Prokanga and how does it work?
Prokanga is the only recruiting firm in the market offering access to the traditional, full-time workforce, as well as high caliber part-time and consulting pools of candidates. This unique access and our pioneering approach to considering flexibility as part of the compensation dollar, allows us to deliver effective and cost-efficient hiring solutions to our clients. We work very closely with our clients (employers), often starting from the moment that a business challenge arises, to help them identify and understand various types of flexibility that will work for their industry and organization. We can then propose a range of options depending on the specific business challenge - from a full-time junior employee to a part-time, more senior hire who could hit the ground running and require less supervision. Or we might decide that the most cost-efficient approach is to use a consultant for a finite period of time rather than a direct hire.

Why do some financial services professionals need flexibility?
Many of the financial services professionals looking for flexibility are feeling the lack of work life balance in their lives. They are currently working full-time, and don’t want to walk away from the careers that they have worked so hard to build, but the oftentimes grueling finance hours take a toll on the time they have to spend with their families. The ideal situation for these professionals is a role where they can continue on their career path, but with some degree of flexibility to enable them more time with their families. We also work with professionals who have built successful consulting businesses and are looking for new projects.

What are some typical career paths you can outline?
There are three typical career paths that we source: consultants, permanent part-time, and full-time. Small to medium-sized business often engage us for a permanent part-time hire when they need a senior level hire but they don’t have the need for someone in that role full-time and/or the budget for the full-time hire at that level. Or a client will call us because they have exhausted the junior to mid-level pool for a support role but are not happy with the talent they are seeing. We can utilize our network to find someone more senior with relevant experience who is willing to take a break on compensation in exchange for a 20-30 hour work week.

How are private equity firms and other companies involved in M&A using Prokanga's services?
We have worked with all types of finance companies, including private equity firms, hedge funds, boutique investment banks, and service providers to the industry. Some of our key flexible placements in finance have been a part-time Head of Investor Relations for a $3 billion private equity firm, part-time Head of Research within the business development/deal sourcing team for a middle market PE firm, a scalable Associate/VP at a boutique investment bank (scales up to full-time during heavy deal flow) and several part-time consultants placed with a leading PE placement agent. We have also worked with a number of smaller private equity firms on investor relations projects including creating PPMs, DDQs, updating marketing materials, etc.

What do you predict for the future in terms of financial services careers & flexibility?
The financial services industry is finally starting to catch up to other industries that are embracing flexibility. We have seen the number of companies that are open to using flexibility as a strategic tool to attract and retain employees grow significantly since we entered the finance industry several years ago. I think one of the real keys to success for future growth is understanding that flexibility is not a one size fits all solution, and may not be the right option at all for some roles. That’s why we work so closely with our clients to figure out the right solution for their unique business needs.