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10 Small Firms Desperate to Hire NOW

1. SteelHouse
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Full-time employees: 24
Looking to add: 35-50 positions by the end of 2011
SteelHouse provides online advertising services for e-retailers. The company was launched two years ago out of Douglas' loft and quickly moved into its open-layout offices in Culver City.

The idea for the company came from Douglas' time working at online dating site eHarmony, where he was vice president of technology. There he got an education in marketing from seeing how the dating site was able to discern how people of different age groups, sex and ethnicity were getting information and ultimately coming to the website.

"The idea to form this company came from that," says Douglas, who has previously worked at tech firms including Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) as well as smaller firms, one of which was acquired by VMWare (VMW - Get Report). "A lot of what we do for our customers is really understand" how people engage and respond differently to marketing.

From a revenue perspective, SteelHouse is growing fairly quickly. Though Douglas declined to talk about specific revenue numbers, expectations for this year are above $10 million.

The company needs more staff to help build out its products, as well as more staff in customer support and the sales and marketing departments. About half of the company's staff is targeted to be in product development, a quarter in client services and the rest to be sales and marketing.

"We need the people to support all the customers we're bringing on board," he says. "Our current plan is to end the year with about 60 people. We'll probably wind up closer to 70 or 80."

But the hiring process is proving challenging because there is high demand for talented workers, and most applicants are already employed and finding their choice of next jobs. "In the tech industry and advertising industry, hiring plans have been ramped up. There is a lot of business confidence," he says.

SteelHouse is looking to attract workers with not only full benefits packages, but a very appealing vacation policy. Employees can take as many vacation days as they want -- within reason. SteelHouse will also pay up to $2,000 for vacation expenses. Douglas also points to the firm's culture, which is communal and transparent, as another appealing aspect of the firm.

But none of that guarantees the company will get the workers it wants.

"Our problem is not making offers to people," Douglas adds. "Our problem is it's very competitive and difficult to find the right people. You have to move very quickly if you find someone, in terms of hours -- days at most -- to hire them."

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