bizEDGE New Zealand logo
Story image

Weirdly: First stop New Zealand, next stop the world

Meet Weirdly, the company that’s revolutionising the recruitment process.

Weirdly is a software tool designed to help employers and potential employees in the hiring process. It has moved from inception, to beta, to launch in under a year.

The beta was launched in August 2014 and the beginning of February 2015 marks the official launch of the service.

The tool and company embraces the fact that there are ‘no more tidy job descriptions’, instead focusing on matching people and companies that have the same core values.

It’s not about finding someone to fill a specific role, although they help with that too, it’s about finding someone who will fit with the brand and culture of a company and is able to work in a variety of areas.

Weirdly is the brainchild of four founders: Dale Clareburt, Simon Martin, Hayden Raw and Keren Phillips.

Together they have significant experience in recruitment, starting a business, brand engagement and more.

Phillips and Raw are the duo behind Common Room, which works to build businesses strategies involving branding, social media, graphic design and web development, and Clareburt and Martin founded Talent Magnet, which specialises in employer brand and reputation.

Talent Magnet was Common Room’s client, and together the four decided to create Weirdly and challenge the traditional employment and recruitment process.

Keren Phillips, Weirdly co-founder, says, “Traditionally recruitment is based on a series of filters. It’s based on easily measurable skills that fit arbitrary job descriptions for roles that already exist.” Weirdly flips this on its head.

Phillips says, with Weirdly ‘the recruitment process is based on a businesses values and purpose', and isn’t always about finding a person for a role – sometimes it’s about finding another person for the team who can work in a variety of areas.

“It’s no longer about roles, it more about tasks, and these can change and shift depending on what businesses want and what the industry looks like,” she says.

"This form of recruitment is brand and culture lead, so businesses find someone who fits with their particular flavour," Phillips says.

In its current state Weirdly works as a questionnaire or a quiz - the recruiter can build the quiz or choose pre-crafted questions.

“Qualitative researchers helped to built a bank of questions designed to measure different characteristics.

“There are six main categories of assessment, including personality and motivation,” she says.

Phillips says Weirdly encourages customisation to help a business find the person they’re looking for.

A more candid company like Vend might use swearwords in their questionnaire, a ‘more out there’ company like Xero might ask questions about zombie apocalypses and tactor beams, and an accounting firm might have a more conservative approach.

The questionnaire is also customised with a company’s branding so it looks completely their own.

Once a candidate has completed the application process they're ranked with a score, ‘the cream rises to the top’ says Phillips.

The company will have the ability to view every application, including the candidate's CV and cover letter if requested, and contact anyone on the list.

Technology is a key part Weirdly, says Phillips, helping to make the tool easily accessible and to drive growth.

“Technology is leading change in the employee market and that leads change for the business market. The nature of business is change,” says Phillips.

“Take branding for example, it’s no longer confined to marketing – it’s becoming a key part of the company as a whole,” she says.

Glengarry, one of Weirdly’s first clients, is big on branding. The recognisable liquor retailer has a defined flavour and a huge demand for people with medium skills on a regular basis, making it a perfect fit for Weirdly, says Phillips.

Using Weirdly, Glengarry is now able to filter candidates on how well they fit with their culture.

Phillips says the retailer has been using the service for nearly a year and is noticeably retaining more staff.

“When you identify people who love your brand and share the same values and purpose, there is no limit,” she says.

Employees are more likely to be loyal, to be committed to their job, and to find the company will facilitate their growth. Having diverse viewpoints with the same core beliefs fosters talent, and it’s good for the business and the person, she says.

Weirdly is expanding their own team, and have brought on a third web developer.

Phillips says, “The person approached us, they said ‘I want to get involved.’”

She says using the recruitment process based on branding keeps Weirdly true to itself.

“When a person comes on board, and their motivations, interests, values and passions are aligned with ours, it forces us to stay true to ourselves.

“It’s terrifying and immensely valuable – we have no way of cheating, we have to act with integrity. There’s no stronger way to build a business,“ she says.

Weirdly has undoubtedly grown at hyper speed, and this is just the beginning.

The team has just finalised signing papers for overseas funding from Lance Wiggs, who Phillips describes as ‘beyond experienced’.

In conjunction with this they have appointed a board, which co-founder Clareburt is part of along with Kirsty Grant and others.

Grant is the head of recruitment for Vend, and Phillips describes her as ‘a switched on and connected recruiter’.

With the funding Weirdly is looking to expand in the New Zealand market, move overseas, and develop the service.

Phillips says, “We’re looking for ways to develop the tool, making the matching process more sophisticated and sensitive, and making the candidate’s experience better.”

She says ideas include finding an alternative to CVs, working with other recruitment services such as ATS and Daily Muse that are succeeding in their area, and making recruitment more fun and more effective for everyone involved.

The main goal for now, however, remains expansion.

“Our primary focus is on building the New Zealand base and moving into other markets.

“In a year we want to have a presence in another market, and to have everyone in New Zealand talking about how important culture is in recruitment and using Weirdly,” Phillips says.