Nurturing Weirdos: Our why-to guide for workplace diversity

Clay Forsberg (holder of the greatest job title ever) recently posted an article about how we should be recognising and celebrating our Weirdos.

One particular quote really resonated with me:

When this country has made strides and moved ahead – it’s the “Weirdos” that blazed the way for others to follow… What you do to accept the “Weirdos” in your community, whether young or old, will help construct the flavor and individuality of your community.

He was talking about education and nurturing kids who work, think and behave differently –  but, of course, the same applies to our workplace diversity. Because it’s the Weirdos who tend to do the exceptional things.

We spend heaps of time talking about secret sauce here at Weirdly HQ.

Not the kind you find in a Big Mac, (we all know that’s just mayo and pickle juice anyway). Nope, we’re talking about the special ingredients that make people champions.

Sometimes it’s a particular interest that gives their skill-set an extra dimension, a background that gives them a unique perspective on the world, or a crazy knack for relating to people. Sometimes it’s just an unusual way of thinking or processing information.

These are often intangibles: things that are hard to define. Sometimes during a traditional recruitment process these are the things that are overlooked in the rush to tick skills and education boxes.

But they’re the things that turn candidates into truly wonderful Weirdos. People who – if given the chance – can transform teams, inspire innovations and help your business shift into that extra gear.

We hear businesses talking a lot about building a culture of innovation, and encouraging creativity, which  makes our digital heart swell right up with joy.

What we don’t hear as much is people talking about the unique qualities in their team members that lead to that culture of creativity. We’re celebrating the outcome, but not the cause: the ‘outsider’ thinking, the stuff that challenges the status quo and results in fresh, innovative ideas.


No, but seriously, why?

The truth is, we all need those people in our businesses. Sure, the level of “wild” might be different when comparing Weirdos in a law firm to the ones in a design lab. You might be looking for slightly different weirdnesses. But the idea that the best teams are made of diverse, multifaceted people who celebrate all their oddly-configured experience is universal.

Our work-places are tiny communities. By welcoming in Weirdos, we’re building a community with more colour, energy and wider perspectives. And if we encourage those guys to share and celebrate the things that make them weird, our colourful community becomes one that encourages curiosity and exploration.

That’s what Clay Forsberg was talking about in schools, and that’s what we can do in business – let’s celebrate our Weirdos and watch our businesses (and country) start making strides.

The weirdest interview questions ever from Zappos, Apple, Airbnb

We see great, weird questions popping up everyday by people using our system.

One of these days we might be able to compile a few of these into our own list that you guys can use to inspire yourselves – no matter what side of the interview desk you’re sitting.

In the meantime, here’s Glassdoor’s annual list of the strangest interview questions that companies ask. Check out how Zappos, Apple, Airbnb and co are uncovering their candidates’ weird and exposing a little bit of their own in the process:

  1. “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?” – The Zappos Family
  2. “How lucky are you and why?” – Airbnb
  3. “If you were a pizza deliveryman, how would you benefit from scissors?” – Apple
  4. “If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?” – Red Frog Events
  5. “Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer ?” – Dell
  6.  “If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?” – Yahoo
  7. “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” – Bed Bath & Beyond
  8. “Do you believe in Big Foot?” – Norwegian Cruise Line
  9. “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” – Xerox
  10. “What is your least favorite thing about humanity?” – ZocDoc
  11. “How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the US?” – Factual
  12. “How honest are you?” – Allied Telesis
  13. “How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?” – Goldman Sachs
  14. “Can you instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words?” – LivingSocial
  15. “If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?” – McKinsey & Company
  16. “You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?” – Urban Outfitters
  17. “How does the internet work?” – Akamai
  18. “If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you, and why?” – SinglePlatform
  19. “What’s the color of money?” – American Heart Association
  20. “What was the last gift you gave someone?” – Gallup
  21. “What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?” – Applebee’s
  22. “How many snow shovels were sold in the US last year?” – TASER
  23. “It’s Thursday, we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?” – ThoughtWorks
  24. “Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt.” – Active Network
  25. “Have you ever been on a boat?” – Applied Systems