Plans are afoot to grow Chicago-based SingleHop, a dedicated server and cloud hosting company, by an additional 300 employees by 2015. Established in 2006, the company has grown from 40 employees in 2010 to 105 employees today, and posted $30 million in revenues during 2012. The company provides dedicated cloud and managed services to more than 4,500 customers, with 12,000+ servers online. With clients in more than 114 countries, SingleHop has expanded to maintain four data centers in Chicago, Phoenix, and Amsterdam.
While headcount is likely to hold steady for a while, the company is on the lookout for a number of key people, including a sales engineer and systems administrator. In an interview with Dice News, Deanna Swanson, director of human resources, said that SingleHop is “always looking for strong developer and sales talent.”
Though plans aren’t yet concrete, the company wants to expand its data center operations. “Expanding our data center locations would definitely fuel more growth. However, we currently are hiring purposefully, filling in needs as they come,” Swanson says.
How to Approach
Networking is where the company has gotten some of its best hires, so look for ways to build relationships with current employees. “Having people vouch for you and also discuss your strengths can go a long way,” says Swanson.
The Interview Process
Interviews are rigorous, with a number of people involved including managers and other staffers who would normally interact with you in a particular role. “Our goal is to learn about you, but also ensure that you have the opportunity to really learn about us to ensure the best fit possible,” explains Swanson. “Also, we typically have some type of hands-on exercise to ensure technical capabilities.”
SingleHop runs a relatively flat organization, encouraging staff and manager interaction and input. The company is broken down by function, including development, marketing, products, sales, service and administration. Sales and service currently make up the majority of the staff.
The work environment at SingleHop is laid-back, with a casual dress code, dog-friendly policies and table tennis competitions. “Our office environment is relaxed because the work is challenging,” Swanson says.
Advice for Seasoned Professionals
Experience goes a long way at SingleHop. However, it’s measured not just by time, but by the depth of your portfolio. “It’s one thing for a developer to work for 15 years doing the same job,” Swanson notes. “It’s another thing to have a developer who has worked for 10 years, but has completed X number of projects across a number of fields and disciplines and has pushed to enhance their skill set by actively searching for difficult projects.”
Previous experience within the hosting industry is a big plus, but each position has very specific requirements. Not surprisingly, salary varies based on the job and the candidate’s expertise. “A developer who is designing control panels for cloud computing monitoring software might get a better salary if she or he also has a background in cloud computing along with developer skills,” Swanson explains.
Advice for Recent Grads
Recent graduates should emphasize the things they’ve done outside of the classroom that could directly relate to the job at hand. “We are looking for candidates who do not rely on their classroom studies,” Swanson observes. “This is a very hands-on business.” Grads would do well to research SingleHop closely, making sure it’s the type of company at which they want to work.