// 09.22.2020

introducing derk disselhoff from worksuite.

Derk Disselhoff had the idea for Worksuite – a full-suite matching platform between companies and tech experts – after a job interview of his own that made him realise just how broken the current system was; expensive, ambiguous, long-winded and disconnected from the needs of the business and individual. So, with co-founders Joey Davelaar and Tim Jansen, Worksuite was created, built to solve these problems within the Data Science and AI industry.

And as Data Science and AI enthusiasts themselves, Worksuite is working on issues close to home. They know that companies want smart, efficient, cost-effective ways to reach the best talent, and they know that tech experts want transparent access to projects that they truly connect with.

We talked to Derk about the flaws of the current system, helping companies adapt to rapid digital transformation, the promise of flexible work and how Worksuite is building a community.

Why did you start Worksuite?

Although I had three years of experience in the consulting and secondments industry, the idea for Worksuite came after a job interview I had. When I got to the final interview with a partner at this consulting company, he told me, ‘I don’t know which position you’re coming for, but I’ve heard good things, so I wanted to have this final talk with you’. That was the moment I knew the current consulting model needed to change. All I was to that company was a number.

This feeling of a broken system and undervalued talent also applies to the younger generation of tech talent who create a lot of value for clients but proportionately only get a small piece of the reward and recognition. Worksuite was founded to solve these problems, to build a modern platform where organisations can connect with high-level experts and experts can find and engage with projects they resonate with. We chose the Data & AI industry specifically because it’s what we’re passionate about and we see big things for it in the future.

Soon after I had the initial idea for Worksuite, I met Joey Davelaar and later Tim Jansen. After many months of talking, thinking, planning and drinking beer, Joey decided to get on board as a co-founder and partner. His experience and knowledge in the world of startups, scaleups and digital innovation was the ingredient that the company needed at that moment. With Tim, it was a similar path. He brought his technical expertise in Data Science & AI and joined as a co-founder and partner as well. I think our founding team is well balanced, both on a business level and a personal one.

How does Worksuite work?

Worksuite allows companies to find vetted, tech experts, and that starts with our rigorous screening process and moves on to our innovative onboarding software and our matching algorithm. We can match experts to organisations within 48 hours with a 95% success rate. And for talent searching for work, once vetted, they have access to transparent project opportunities that they can approach not only based on fundamental criteria but also more nuanced criteria such as culture fit. Because of this innovative, streamlined system, we can offer a much friendlier pricing model.

Besides matchmaking, we offer the likes of mentoring and other in-depth expertise services. Organisations can scale their team with complete teams, freelancers or permanent experts.

What are the problems with the current way companies find tech experts?

The current talent sourcing market is broken. Recruitment companies are often not transparent about pricing and process, and lack the necessary knowledge about the technical challenges that companies face. Also, we don’t think it’s fair or needed to pay the extortionate charges that come with traditional recruitment companies – a €20k fee to find one candidate is not uncommon.

And why is it hard for tech experts to connect with companies?

As a tech expert, you want to focus on your projects and spend as little time as possible on searching for new assignments. When searching, you want to directly get in touch with the Hiring Manager and not waste your time with a recruiter who doesn’t understand what Data Science means – an unnecessary part of the process. Experts want freedom, responsibility and reward, and Worksuite has been created around that need.

Even before the pandemic, digital transformation was gaining momentum. But now it’s accelerated to an incredible pace. Do you see Worksuite as well placed to help companies adapt to the post-coronavirus world?

Digital innovation is now, more than ever, closer to the core strategy of an organisation. Worksuite does not only offer the talent that many will need in the near future, but also facilitates what we call ‘marketplace services’. That means an expert can upload a specific value proposition they have built before and make that accessible for organisations. We have 1500 experts on our platform and each expert has on average five services that can help accelerate digital transformation with Data & AI. This ‘marketplace services’ allows organisations to transform ideas into concrete initiative much faster. And since fast innovation will help businesses transition into what comes next, I think Worksuite can help a lot.

Worksuite champions flexible working, for both companies and individuals. Why is this important and do you think this will only become more so in the future?

People are demanding more freedom in their job choice and in how they work, and technical innovations increasingly allow us to work effectively together without the need of being next to each other. Also, the tech industry and remote work are perfectly suited, because it allows people to be more productive whilst resources can be shared internationally. People are realising more and more the benefits and potential of flexible working, and we believe the demand for flexible working will only grow.

Could you talk a little about how Worksuite is aiming to build a knowledge base and community for experts?

At the moment we’re testing a Q&A feature in our platform; experts can share their questions and other experts can respond with answers. If their answer is upvoted, they build up a digital score which is added to their profile. This reward system will encourage experts to engage in a digital community that benefits themselves and others. You could compare it with the how Instagram works with likes, but in a more qualitative driven, professional manner. Building something beyond our core products is really important to us.

Worksuite is both for companies looking for talent and experts looking projects – one platform for two problems. Given that connecting is what you do, what does connection mean to you?

In the long term we’re looking for an optimal balance between people, technology and innovation. And although a lot of the things that we do today will be automated, our main focus will always be the human contribution to technological innovation. So, what drives us now is designing a platform around the need of the human, which will no doubt change over time. The connection between a company and a talent is the result of that focus.

What’s next for Worksuite?

We’re still in the startup phase; adding to and finetuning our platform. We have a clear direction of where we want to go but we're also aware of the need to experiment with how we reach our aims. We’ll only discover that by exploring and learning.


Next read: introducing jennifer reinhard and hanne gerhards from hej.