June 27, 2011
Local company gaining DataSphere of influence
When I host my monthly career mixers in partnership with NWjobs.com, I ask attendees during the registration to list employers they would like to see at the event. One of the names I've been hearing recently is DataSphere Technologies.
DataSphere, based in Bellevue, partners with media companies throughout the country to help distribute their content on a neighborhood level. This in turn creates more Web real estate for selling advertising to small businesses.
The company's largest partner locally is Fisher Communications, parent of KOMO News. DataSphere has created the technology back end and platform for 28 of the TV channel's community sites, including Ballard, West Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond.
Small businesses like this model because 1) they can't afford to advertise on komonews.com, and 2) a drycleaner in Ballard has no interest in advertising to the entire Puget Sound area. Media companies like this model because they can reach 80 percent of businesses they wouldn't have access to otherwise.
Once the technology platform is designed, DataSphere goes one step further. It creates a sales team to sell the new advertising opportunities to these small businesses.
This business model -- which extends throughout the country -- isn't limited to technology and sales, however. DataSphere has several small-business services, including helping customers create a 30-second elevator pitch for their website and set up a company Facebook page.
What does this mean for you? DataSphere is growing rapidly and has a lot of job openings in a variety of departments. Just last year, the company had a little over 60 employees; today, there are more than 400 employees. It expects that number to increase to 750-1,000 by next year.
DataSphere is five years old and has gone through two rounds of funding in the past year. Customer and partner demand are creating its rapid growth. For example, its video-production team has expanded from one person to 16, and now has a recording studio, multimedia equipment and green screens.
In terms of job openings, most are in sales. About 250, or more than 60 percent, of its employees have sales roles. The company recently opened an inside-sales call center in Tempe, Ariz., and will be opening an office in Minnesota soon.
Another primary focus is IT. DataSphere is especially interested in those with backgrounds in Java, .NET, SQL and NoSQL. Its hiring bar is fairly high, as its candidates typically have simultaneous offers from companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Expedia and Zynga.
While the company is hiring H1B transfers, it does not have an international operation and isn't contracting out any of its services. Its hiring challenges include lack of visibility and competing with companies that are willing to pay higher salaries.
PJ LeDorze, DataSphere's technical contract recruiter, says visibility has improved during the past year. Last August, the company had to go after 100 percent of its candidates, he says. Now, he recruits only about 40 percent; the other 60 percent come from job boards, events, referrals and other sources.
PJ says he hires someone from one out of every 10 events he attends. The company has hired two people from agencies and almost no one from job boards.
Since DataSphere's pay isn't competitive with the likes of Google or Microsoft, it sells its high-energy culture instead. Some of the folks working there took a pay cut when they joined the company, but they get to work on cutting-edge technology in a new industry.
DataSphere also strives for work-life balance. It discourages its employees from working more than 40 hours a week.
PJ will speak at the next ProLango Career Mixer powered by NWjobs.com, July 7 in Seattle. He'll discuss best practices for applying to DataSphere, as well as other recruiting practices job candidates should know.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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