Getting to Know You: Morten Petersen, Co-founder & CEO, Worksome

Morten Petersen

Morten Petersen tells us what inspires him in business and why it is essential to have a ‘why’ in business.

I’m the CEO and Co-founder of Worksome, a platform that is designed to make the recruitment process for companies quick, efficient and agile. At Worksome, we are on a mission to fix a recruitment industry that, from our perspective, is broken. Recruitment at its core is all about matching supply and demand, pairing the right job with the right candidate that has the right skillset, experience, education and work preferences etc. Essentially, it’s an information problem.

With this challenge in mind, we have built the Worksome platform, which uses advanced algorithms to match highly skilled independent contractors and freelancers with businesses in need. 

We began developing Worksome almost 2 years ago, and launched the platform in Denmark in early 2017.
We raised our first and small round of funding shortly after. Worksome has gained strong ground in Denmark and is already demonstrating its success in closing the gap in this market. And so, with a proven and successful model in place, we made the strategic decision to launch the platform in the UK. It is encouraging that even in our early days here, we have already seen a pick-up in both user and hiring company numbers. We are excited about growing Worksome’s UK position and delivering an important solution to the digital recruitment and skills-gap problem.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Before founding Worksome, I worked for 5 years for Google in Copenhagen, and if there’s one thing I learned from Google, it’s that humans are inherently not great in handling huge amounts of information.

Yet, most recruitment is done by humans. Whether you’re a recruiter, hiring manager or candidate, you inevitably have to crunch your way through LinkedIn, job boards or other large databases. It’s inefficient, largely based on luck, and not a viable solution for a future, where we see a great shift towards a more flexible world of work, meaning that supply and demand will have to meet much more frequently.

Across most industries, we’ve managed to organise information. Think about e-commerce and the travel sector: if I wanted to travel to London tomorrow , it would be the easiest thing in the world to find the available ticket that best matched my preferences. These days, I wouldn’t call a travel agent to find that ticket.

However, in the recruitment industry, you still call a recruiter to find your next IT contractor, instead of just finding the person online via a platform. It doesn’t make sense. It’s super inefficient, and takes a long time. Organising information, making it accessible and quick, streamlining processes to make them efficient – these were all inspiration-drivers that led to the creation of Worksome.

What defines your way of doing business?

I honestly believe that most people will do great, as long as you, as a leader, get out of their way. I’ve seen many examples of people growing exponentially and stepping up, when truly given the chance to do so. But many organisational systems are restricting personal development because of antiquated, but well-meaning, internal structures, hierarchies and predefined roles and responsibilities. 

This is not to say that I’m encouraging total anarchy, but I have seen the best results throughout my career, by on-boarding super smart and ambitious people, and somehow letting them define their own role and continuously expand their responsibilities.

Who do you admire?

Love him or hate him, I do admire Elon Musk – for the obvious reasons, but most importantly because he is a challenger to the conformity of what a leader of a big business “should be”.

Though, not all of his decisions and public activities can be seen as aspirational! But I do feel that in order to achieve great progress and prosperity in the world, we must accept, and even embrace behavioural outliers as a challenger to our current way of doing things.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? 

I should have taken the decision to pursue Worksome one year earlier, and at the time when I had actually made the decision. But Google is a great place to work, and thus a difficult place to leave.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Have a strong why. 
-Why this? Why now? Why you? 

Make sure there is a market.
-Preferably huge. Always big.

Tell your idea to everyone.
-Validate. Iterate. Kill.

Set a stellar team.
-With experience. And if tech, then with tech experience!

Have huge ambitions and go all-in.
-Bet your money. Your career. But most importantly – your ego. Failure is very much a possibility, and you need to fully accept that, in order to find the courage to take the leap.

Take all the advice you can get. 
-But know that only you can find your way.