In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp are focused helping us all get healthier, wealthier, and happier. A big part of that equation starts with where you work. A position with the right company -- or the wrong one -- will greatly affect your mental and physical well-being. And, of course, it'll impact your salary. Turns out that if you wanted a good raise last year, your best bet was to change jobs to get it. So they've recruited Annie Healy and Cheryl Palting, who are in charge of recruiting and hiring at The Motley Fool, to provide some tips to boost the odds that your next job hunt will be successful.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Jan. 23, 2018.

Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick, and I'm joined, as always, by Robert Brokamp, personal finance expert here at The Motley Fool.

Robert Brokamp: Hello, Alison!

Southwick: All this month we're tackling how to be "er" in 2018. Healthier, wealthier, happier, and today we're going to tackle all three at work with advice for getting the job of your dreams. We'll also blow out some birthday candles for the Roth IRA. Yay!

Brokamp: Yay!


Southwick: So, Bro, what's up today? We asked you guys to give us some advice on what to name this new segment, and Alex on Twitter suggested we go with, "What's Up, Bro?" or "What's News?" I kind of like the idea of just being, "So, Bro, What's Up?" So, thanks, Alex, for suggesting it.

Brokamp: Basically, this is whatever we've been reading over the last week, and the thing I liked the most was entitled, "Happy 20th Birthday Roth IRA!" It was from, the website of Ed Slott, who is generally considered the world's premier expert on IRAs. And I didn't really think about it, but it is the 20-year anniversary of the launch of the Roth IRA.

Just so we all are on the same page, what's great about the Roth is contributions are not tax-deductible, but as long as you follow the rules, the money comes out tax-free, as compared to the traditional, whereas when you put the money in, you'll probably get a deduction, but you have to pay taxes on the way out.

It's a good time to think about the Roth IRA because with the Roth IRA you've given up that deduction, but because of the new tax law, tax rates are lower, so deductions are worth less. So, it's a good time to think about whether you should contribute to a Roth IRA. Since it's its 20-year birthday, let's go a little bit into the history of the Roth IRA.

Southwick: Oh, this is going to be riveting.

Brokamp: It's going to be exciting. So, it starts with the traditional IRA which came first. It came out in 1974 due to a law called the [Employee] Retirement Income Security Act [of 1974]. Back then, you could not contribute to an IRA if you had a plan at work. That changed in 1981 due to something called the Economic Recovery [Tax] Act of 1981, but it was also known as the "Kemp-Roth Tax Cut," sponsored by...

Southwick: So, Roth is a person, not an abbreviation.

Brokamp: Exactly. It was sponsored by Jack Kemp, the congressman from New York, but also William Bill Roth, a senator from Delaware. It lowered the tax rate from 70% to 50%, so that gives you an idea of what tax rates used to be. Now the top rate is 37%. But it also made IRAs available to everybody, whether you had a plan or not. It was still the traditional IRA, but it started with that.

Roth, himself, was always concerned about retirement security. He grew up during the Depression in Montana. He became interested in politics because he was not an athletic kid, so in his free time he would hike to the capitol and watch legislators in action. He served in World War II under MacArthur and then went to Harvard for both business school and law school [thanks partially to the GI bill], moved to Delaware in 1954, and was elected to Congress in 1966.

The idea for what became known as the Roth, that he called IRA Plus, came out in 1989. It was not until the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 that it became law, but it didn't become available until 1998, which is why we're now celebrating 20 years of the Roth IRA.

Southwick: And I should point out to our listeners that you did not look at your notes at all. That was insane. You just spouted off so many stats and dates.

Brokamp: It's true.

Southwick: It's all in that noggin of yours.

Brokamp: It's all in that head of mine. So, it becomes law. Unfortunately, it didn't help him with his election because he got voted out of office in 2000. He died in 2003, three years before the Roth 401(k) became available to people. He was known as a mild-mannered guy. Not actually a great public speaker, so he would bring a St. Bernard with him wherever he was campaigning. That way kids would come up to pet the dog and then he had an opportunity to talk to the parents. He served as a senator alongside Joe Biden for years and at his funeral Joe Biden said Bill Roth was the "guy I trusted most in public life." So, he seems like a pretty decent guy, and we have a great account thanks to him.

According to, 25 million American households now have a Roth. Ed Slott, the founder of that website, tweeted out earlier this month, "I look at a Roth IRA as tax insurance. Once you pay in, you're protected against future tax hikes." It's something to consider, so happy birthday, Roth IRA and many more years to come!


Southwick: This month we're tackling ways to be healthier, wealthier, and happier in 2018, and one way to get all three is to have a better job. The unemployment rate is at its lowest it's been in ages [like a decade, I think], but, surprisingly, wages have remained stagnant.

Well, according to The Atlantic, one group of people did see wage increases, and it was people who changed jobs. Full-time workers who changed jobs saw their pay increase an average of 4.5%. That's compared to less than 1% for everybody else who stuck it out at their current job.

But most people don't change jobs because they want more money. According to a Gallup survey, 50% of employees quit their jobs because, Bro, any guesses?

Brokamp: Not enough nachos and socks.

Southwick: Actually, it's because their manager was making them miserable.

Brokamp: Oh! Interesting.

Southwick: So, if you're feeling it's time for a change, we invited a couple of hiring experts to the studio. It's Annie Healy and Cheryl Palting. They're in charge of recruiting and hiring, here, at The Motley Fool. As a lot of listeners know, The Motley Fool is a pretty awesome place to work, and it can be extremely competitive to get a job, here. So, who better to talk about landing a dream job than the people who do that vetting for a living? Thank you for joining us!

Annie Healy: Thank you for having us!

Cheryl Palting: Thank you!

Southwick: Today we're going to talk about how to land the job of your dreams, and we're going to break it up into three parts. It's before you apply, when you're applying for a job, and then also after you've landed the interview how to really nail that interview. Let's start off with before you apply for a job, what's one of the things you should do?

Healy: I think when you're starting to look at jobs out there, you should really take the time to think about what you are looking for and know yourself a little bit better. We have career changers, a lot of times, who apply to us. They're coming because they've taken the time to sit down and figure out, as they're making this change, what will actually bring them the most happiness. I think there's a little bit of knowing yourself.

Also, even if you are applying to a similar job that you've done in the past, knowing certain strengths and weaknesses about yourself. Taking some personality tests. Here at The Fool we use a few different ones, like Myers-Briggs, VOPS, Kolbe, and Shrink Finders.

Palting: Secondly, telling people that you're looking for a new job. Before you're applying anywhere, just let people know. Use your network. I know networking can be this "weird thing" that people have trouble doing, but it doesn't necessarily have to be scary. It can just be you telling your parents, "I'm looking for another job." They may know someone who is actively hiring, or know of a company that is looking for someone with exactly your skill set, or at least a skill set that you're hoping to build. So, telling people, using your connections, and just letting people around you know that you're looking for a new job can be really helpful.

Southwick: That's how I had to get a foot in the door at The Motley Fool. I ran into Dayana at NPR [we were both doing an interview]. I was like, "Hey, are you guys hiring?" She was like, "Hm, no, but I'll ask. Yeah. Maybe. I don't know." She went and she made it happen for me. I had to work my network to get into The Fool to begin with.

Healy: That's how I got here, too, actually. I was sharing that I was ready for my next move and my brother-in-law had come here on the Speaker Series. He had been working at Dogfish Head. He came and saw The Fool. Got to talk to the HR team. He came home and was like, "You've got to work there." And I remember I stalked the culture blog for a while, and there was a recruiting coordinator position that opened up...

Southwick: Finally!

Healy: Finally. And then my brother-in-law reached out. I think Matt Trogdon, at the time, was doing the Speaker Series and passed my resume along.

Palting: And now you're featured all over the culture blog.

Healy: I know.

Southwick: Now you're famous and you're head of recruiting, so that's awesome.

Healy: Another thing just to add along those networking lines. The big tool that's out there for a lot of people is LinkedIn. I think it's really great to have that updated, too, even as you're just starting your search, because sometimes people might reach out to you. Companies might reach out. A lot of times you get the emails that say they're looking for people like you, and that's because something in your résumé that you posted on LinkedIn has matched something in the job description. Having that updated -- even if you're not actively looking -- you can be a passive candidate and companies and jobs will reach out to you.

Southwick: So, I've gone through the process. I've cleaned up my LinkedIn profile. I've started telling my friends I'm looking for a new job. I know that I'm an operator who is an extrovert that likes to... I don't know. I'm trying to throw out some personality test stuff that I know about myself. And now it is time to apply for some specific jobs and write my cover letter, and make that résumé really sparkle. What's some of your advice in terms of applying for a job?

Palting: I don't think we can stress this enough, but really proofreading that resume and cover letter. Make sure there are no errors there. Let your friends and family read it. Go through it again, and again, and again.

Healy: And don't use the quick tricks of find and replace, because that shows in an application system.

Palting: Yes, absolutely.

Healy: It always shows when you bold a company and you're just replacing it in an applicant tracking system.

Southwick: Oh, really?

Healy: Mm-hmm.

Palting: Take the time to delete the company. Even if you use the same cover letter, delete the company...

Southwick: So, you'll get a letter and it will say, "I am so excited to work at The Motley Fool because you are a really cool company that..."

Palting: In this location. In this industry.

Healy: And sometimes the applicant tracking system won't accept the formatting that someone has done. It will say, "Insert company." You're like, "Oh, God!"

Southwick: I guess that's like a shotgun approach, right?

Healy: Yes.

Southwick: Does that ever work?

Healy: Not here. It may other places. But we also make our applicants jump through a bunch of different hoops. Some of where we list our jobs do have some one-click applies, which we don't do. We turn that feature off, just because we want to get to know you, and I think that's part of the cover letter and getting prepared for that. That's your chance to show us who you are outside of just the skills that are listed on your résumé. What are your interests? Why do you want to work here? What are you going to bring to the table for us? And what's going to bring the team to the next level that you're going to join?

Southwick: What's an example of a really great cover letter that you've received?

Palting: So many. People are so creative these days. I'll say one that comes to mind. We had someone who now works here, Julie. She was applying for the Member Services Representative role. It's very customer-service based. She created a comic that showed her as a superhero helping our members solve their tech issues. Reset their password. It was in color. It was on nice paper. She drew it from scratch on her own. Then she gave it to us personally, as well as uploaded it in PDF form to our online application.

It was incredible, because we know that it took a lot of time. It took planning to execute it. And in it, it helped us to understand that she understood what the role was, and that was super helpful. That's what a cover letter is for.

Brokamp: We're The Motley Fool, so I can see how that would impress people like us. What about other places? I don't know how plugged in you guys are to the general HR world, but does something like that fall flat with some employers?

Healy: I think some places, yes. Particularly in the D.C. area you have a lot of government contracting and I think that's a little bit more of a serious place to work.

Southwick: The FBI is not going to love your comic.

Brokamp: FBI man!

Healy: They might have more fun if they did. But even in the cover letter, you still get a chance to show why you want to work at that specific place, vs. just doing a cover letter. I think in the past, cover letters were just this thing that you did. It was to talk about yourself.

I think when on the cover letter you demonstrate that you really researched the company and the job -- and you're really plugging in the skill sets that you have that you can bring over to that company and how that comes over -- that's your chance to do that. And that goes over anywhere -- you really taking the time to show that you want that specific job and not just a job.

Palting: Which is exactly what Annie did. You researched the culture blog. You researched the company. You made sure you knew the company inside out when you applied, so that you could showcase your interest.

Southwick: Only Annie did that?

Palting: No, no, no, no, no.

Brokamp: So, Cheryl. Tell us your story.

Palting: I hate the story. It's a little embarrassing.

Southwick: No, it's not embarrassing. We'll let Annie tell it.

Healy: Cheryl came to us as a customer service representative and then moved over to the recruiting team. But when she interviewed for the customer service team, she memorized the website in and out; like more than I think anyone within these walls might ever know.

Southwick: Oh, if anyone's listening who's actually been to [I assume you have], you know that our website is just elaborate and you can't escape.

Healy: She knew everything. On our former pricing page, she knew every single advisor on every single newsletter. She knew what the price was at that point in time. She knew any of the deals that we were running or specials. And so much so that during her interview, the hiring manager did a little bit of a role play, and so she called in to pretend to be one of our members calling customer service and (unclear: 14:23). She walked out of the interview and I think she knew things more than our own full-time people did.

Southwick: Did you do like flash cards? I don't even know all the advisors on all our services.

Palting: I knew I wanted the role. I had already chatted with Annie and I was like, "Oh, God, I want this role," so I did exactly what Annie did. I researched. I just looked at the website and I took the time...

Healy: And she stalked everyone's LinkedIn profile.

Palting: Oh, yeah. It came over real stalk-ery. It was like, "Emily, I know you just got married this past summer. How was it? Your dress looked beautiful."

Healy: No, not really. She did. She really demonstrated that she wanted that position. And I think that's an interesting thing, too. We have a lot of people who want to work at The Motley Fool, but they don't necessarily want that role. They just want to get their foot in the door. And I think, particularly, when you're applying to the position, we want to hear you want this position, and why you want this position, and hearing that. And Cheryl really demonstrated that in her interview.

Palting: Thank you.

Southwick: And we love Cheryl so much.

Palting: Oh, my goodness!

Southwick: So, doing your homework. Proofreading everything a million times. Make sure you do that before you apply. It worked! Yay! You got the job interview! You're sitting there across from Cheryl and Annie in, I don't know, Drucker. Do you have a conference room you prefer? Rowling?

Palting: Rowling is a good one.

Southwick: Rowling is a good one. That one is dedicated to JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, so there are...

Brokamp: Wands, hats, and all kinds of stuff in the room.

Southwick: Wands and brooms. It's amazing.

Palting: Chess pieces. The actual books.

Southwick: So, there I am. I'm in Rowling. I'm sitting across from you guys. What can I do to really make this interview awesome? Tuxedo t-shirt? You were going to say tuxedo t-shirt.

Healy: I was, but I was going to say one thing before you even get into the Rowling room. One thing that some people don't realize is the second you walk in the door of the building of the company that you're interviewing at, you are in that interview.

Southwick: Oh, Amy, our front-desk person, she's on it. She's a...

Healy: That is exactly what I was going to say. You need to remember who you're talking to the entire time. Be courteous. Be very friendly to everyone. I mean, we've had some people who just dismiss Amy, and she tells us right afterwards, and we're like, no, we don't want that in our workplace. That's before you even get in that room, remember to be nice and courteous to everyone.

Palting: Yes.

Southwick: Has anyone been particularly mean to Amy?

Healy: There were a couple who have just been like dismissive of her, just because she was at the front desk, and that was a huge red flag to us.

Southwick: OK. So, I've been nice to Amy. I brought her flowers or something. I don't know. I've been super nice to Amy, our front desk woman, and then she takes me to Rowling and there I am looking at your two smiling faces. Are you guys smiling or are you being very stern?

Palting: Good cop, bad cop?

Southwick: Yes.

Healy: We're generally very friendly, because I think when you interview you can be so nervous, and even if you've done it a million times, it's just an uncomfortable situation. Everybody knows that, and so Cheryl and I have talked to the candidates from the first phone call. Maybe a second. We've been emailing with them, so we're the person that everybody knows, and we want to make sure that they feel at ease, so they'll put their best foot forward and show themselves the best in the interview. Making sure that they're comfortable as they go in, so we're always friendly.

Southwick: I also imagine at this point you've had to put so much work, energy, and investment into this person. You're kind of rooting for these people, too.

Palting: Oh, yeah.

Southwick: You want them to get the job.

Palting: Yeah. Once we bring you here on-site, at this point we're so interested in you and it's a little bit of both. We want you to see our environment, as well. Our culture. As much as an interview it is for us, it's also an interview and an opportunity for you to see if this is the company that's right for you. And that goes into step one and knowing yourself, and knowing exactly what you want out of your perfect job.

But hopefully, as they're entering into the interview and entering our office, they're dressed to impress. We do have a casual office, here. Right now, I'm in... I don't even know what I'm wearing. It's very comfortable.

Southwick: You look good. You're in a cozy sweater.

Brokamp: It's a lovely sweater!

Palting: Thank you! But I probably wouldn't wear something like this to an interview. Even though it's a casual work environment, I would always want to dress to impress. Dress to show that you respect them and respect their time. Just another tip on when you're actually in the office.

Southwick: So, at this point I've already been to Glassdoor. What other sites have I maybe been to? Aside from researching the company's own sites, what other websites have I gone to, to research the company so I can ask informed questions? Glassdoor? Is that basically it?

Healy: Glassdoor, I think, has the most in terms of employees rating employers. A couple of other sites do it. Indeed offers it, as well. I think Glassdoor has a huge amount of reviews on there.

Palting: We also tell candidates -- and other companies do this as well -- who they'll be meeting with, so it also is very valuable for you to look at who you're meeting with. What do they do at the company? How do they play into the business? And prepare some questions for them when you're interviewing...

Southwick: Aside from their wedding dress and how their honeymoon went and all of that.

Palting: Correct. Oh, absolutely.

Healy: I will say at The Fool that can be a little bit tough, because if you were to do a random selection of like 10 Fools and look at their LinkedIn profiles, you would have no idea what they do. We have like "happy hour commander." That's the title.

Southwick: Grand Poobah of PR. I don't know anything about that.

Brokamp: I list one of my things at The Fool as dancer on my LinkedIn page.

Southwick: It's honest. It's accurate.

Brokamp: It's true. I make money somehow.

Palting: When's your next recital? Do you know where I can buy tickets for that?

Brokamp: Yes, I'll send you an invite.

Palting: Perfect.

Healy: Along those lines, too, in terms of you can't always figure out what people at The Fool are doing; in the interview, when Cheryl was saying it's an interview for you, as well, ask people what they are doing and how they plug into the team, and why they're in the room interviewing you. It is an interview for you.

The Fool is not for everyone in terms of their careers. We don't have things that other places offer. We don't [have] a clear ladder for you to grow. Some people want that, so I think that's important for you to know, and be able to ask that. Even at other companies [where] you interview, if that was what you were looking for, if you don't want that, then ask that in the interview, as well.

Southwick: How do you feel about employers asking tricky questions? How many ping pong balls would fill a Boeing 747? How do you prepare to answer off-the-wall questions?

Healy: I personally don't like the really crazy [questions], like how many windows there are in New York City. I understand people are doing that because they want to see your thought process and how you would go about solving a problem. I think there are other ways that you can ask things. And you can just ask stuff and see how they're thinking.

[In terms of] seeing how people are thinking, we also test our candidates a lot before they even come on-site. Recently we just did a coding test [where] our planners had to create a financial plan. We do writing samples.

Brokamp: Editing tests.

Healy: Editing tests. That Bro cheated on.

Brokamp: I did not. I got accused of cheating when I took it, but I did not.

Healy: Nineteen years ago.

Palting: I think for that, probably the most important thing is just to stay cool and calm under pressure. It's OK during interviews to be like, "Give me a minute to think about this." I think some recruiters and some interviewers [will be comfortable when they hear] I need to think about this. Take 20 or 30 seconds to come up with an answer, rather than continuously spew on and on about what you think the right answer is, because at that point there is no right answer for how many windows there are in New York.

Healy: Right.

Palting: It's just how are you thinking about this.

Southwick: Like you said, we really make people run through a gauntlet to get a job, here. How much does just showing up weed out a lot of the people that don't care enough about the job?

Healy: We get that even in the application, because we have people who won't do a cover letter, and we're like, no, because in our application we say, "Give us a cover letter. We want to see and know more about you." If you're not going to take the time to do that, then we generally weed people out for that. We also ask a lot on the applications, we have these questions. Some of them are very fun and Foolish, like we ask people what would be their superpower and why. Sometimes they're fun and they relate to the position that's listed. We were hiring an accountant one time, and we said, "What's your favorite Excel function and why?" People really geek out on Excel.

And then sometimes there's why people prefer a small writing sample, or why they like investing, and when they came to learn about The Motley Fool. That, again, is another time for people to show that they really care about the application. So, answer the application questions and write a cover letter. You should do everything that is listed on an application, at least, because it increases your chances.

Southwick: Closing question. What is your single, best piece of advice for someone who wants to land that perfect job, whether it's at The Fool or elsewhere?

Palting: I think this theme has been reoccurring throughout this entire segment of the show. Really taking the time to personalize and know the company that you're applying to. If this is your perfect job, and it's on the other side of the country and they need X, Y, and Z skills, even if you don't have those skills; going into your cover letter saying, "I know you're looking for this, this, and this. Here's what I'm doing to improve those skills." Just really digging in, there, and telling this company exactly how much you want to be there carries a lot of weight for everyone involved.

Southwick: Outside of being like, "I love that you have a ping pong table and an unlimited vacation policy..."

Palting: Right.

Southwick: Annie just rolled her eyes, by the way. She must get that a lot.

Healy: Yes. We don't want to hear that you just want to work here for that. We want to hear that...

Palting: You like our mission.

Healy: Yes.

Palting: Like you want to help the world invest better, which is what TMFAnswers does on the Answers podcast.

Southwick: Tell their friends. Tell the world.

Healy: The other thing I would add is I would find a way to stand out from the crowd in a good way. Sometimes the candidates take it a little too far, because we're known to be this fun Fool thing.

Southwick: Save it for the next segment.

Healy: I think that would be one. And standing out from the crowd can mean a lot of things. It's taking the time, again, to do the cover letter in the right way. Setting yourself apart from the hundreds of applications that we're going to be reading. Because, we do. We read them all. We don't use resume scrapers. We don't say you have to meet minimum criteria for the job. We read every, single application. The ones that really stand out to us are the ones that have separated themselves out and really shown who they are in their cover letter and application questions.

Southwick: All right, I want you guys to stick around for just a little bit longer...

Palting: Yay!

Southwick: ... because you're going to share some of your favorite stories of people applying to work at The Fool.

Palting: Yes!

Southwick: It can be good or bad, I guess. You can go either way.

Healy: The bad ones!


Southwick: People go to extreme lengths when it comes to applying here to work, so I would love it if you guys would share with us some of your favorite stories of people applying here to work.

Healy: One time we were looking for a business intelligence analyst, which can sound a little dry, so we went the fun approach of listing a job description, and the job description was written to the lyrics of the Cake song, "Short Skirt/Long Jacket." The individual that we hired, who still works here, today, actually submitted a YouTube video in which he wrote his cover letter to the lyrics of the Cake song.

Southwick: Of the same song? Really.

Healy: He played it in the background and sang it in his YouTube video. That was one of my favorites, by far.

Southwick: Actually, longtime Motley Fool [Answers] podcast listeners will know the person, because it was Johnnie Weathersby.

Palting: It was Johnnie Weathersby.

Southwick: Johnnie was on the podcast. He's been on a couple of times, maybe.

Brokamp: Definitely at least once.

Southwick: Oh, he was the voice of our Valentine. "Hey, girls."

Brokamp: That's right.

Rick Engdahl: He'll be back this Valentine's Day.

Healy: It's that voice that gets everybody.

Brokamp: It got him a job.

Healy: It got him the job.

Southwick: It got him the job.

Brokamp: And the moves. He had some good moves in there.

Healy: He did.

Palting: We have so many different applicants who go above and beyond during the process. We had one candidate, who is also still here at The Motley Fool, actually on-site. He passed all our phone calls. Passed all our different tests. He's here on-site and he's interviewing in our Rowling room, so it's Harry Potter themed. We've got all those wands, and hats, and the chess pieces.

And at some point during his first interview, he decided to put on the Harry Potter hat, the sorting hat, he grabbed a wand, and he was like, "This is what I'm doing for the rest of the interview." And Fool interviewers were like, "OK, this is happening." So, any interviewer who came in also ended up putting on a crazy hat while they were interviewing him in Rowling.

And as Fools would walk by they'd be like, "Who is that, and what is he doing here?" Annie and I were like, "Oh, he's interviewing for the Foolish IT role." And they'd be like, "Is it OK that he's wearing all these different hats and waving this wand around?" We were like, "Yes, absolutely." He did get the job, he is still here, now, and he even won You Earned It's "Top 10 Most Recognized People in the World." So, he's doing awesome work. He went above and beyond during his interview process.

Southwick: He did not, however, win "Hall of Fame 2017." Y'all know why? Because of this girl -- this girl beat him.

Brokamp: The competition was too tough.

Southwick: I honestly didn't think I had a chance, because I was up against him and some other people. Oh, hey. And someone else also won Hall of Fame that year.

Palting: Oh, my God! Was it? And Annie did my video for Hall of Fame. Bro, where were you?

Brokamp: I was doing Alison's video.

Palting: Oh, my gosh! It's so easy to tell who's going to be a rock star in the office, even from the application.

Healy: Now, we do have some people who go too far, though.

Brokamp: Right, so that would be my story.

Southwick: Yours was too far.

Brokamp: In the earlier days when I was helping hire editors and writers for The Fool, someone sent in a video cassette of their stand-up routine. It was raunchy and completely inappropriate, so just because we're The Motley Fool doesn't mean... The F stands for Fool, not for the other word.

Southwick: Oh, gee.

Palting: In finance?

Brokamp: Yes, finance.

Healy: Sometimes that comes up in application questions, too. And that creates an HR red flag...

Southwick: So, they'll swear in their...

Healy: And their superpower was that they wanted to be invisible. They could be in the ladies' dressing room.

Southwick: Oh, gosh. No, no, no.

Healy: And again, things don't always go over in writing very well. Something to remember.

Southwick: No. My favorite was a story where we didn't hire him, so I feel a little bad about telling this story, but this was at least six years ago. Everyone in the office was just doing their work, and all of a sudden someone yells, "Oh, my gosh! Abraham Lincoln is out front with a sign that says, 'Hire me, Motley Fool!'" We were like on the fifth floor. We looked down and there's a guy wearing the Abraham Lincoln mascot outfit from...

Brokamp: The Nationals.

Southwick: ... the Nationals. At every game, the Nationals have what's called the Presidential Race. They have these massive presidential mascots and they race. And there he was, as President Lincoln, and he had this sign that said, "Hire me Motley Fool!" I decided to go talk to him.

I went down there in my winter jacket, and sure enough, he wasn't allowed to talk, because he was in the mascot costume, so he obeyed the rules there. He had his friend there, and he handed me his resume. I asked, "Do you want to come up to the office for a little while?" He said, "OK." We paraded him around the office and everyone took their picture with him. But we couldn't hire him. He didn't have the skills we were looking for.

Palting: Oh, no!

Southwick: I felt so bad. For so many Fools, that was like the coolest day ever. One of the awesome things about working at The Motley Fool [this is just one example], is that when it's your Fooliversary or your anniversary of working at the company, they make a big deal out of it. You get balloons, and people clap, and you get a gift. And today is my seventh-year Fooliversary.

Palting: Woo!

Healy: Yeah.

Brokamp: Congratulations!

Southwick: A new thing they did this year is called the Fooliversary Hotline. I am supposed to call this phone number for a surprise on "your special day," and then I have to mention the secret phrase. So, I figured we could just do it on the show, and do it all together. Sound good?

Brokamp: Sure.

Southwick: Rick, go ahead and dial the Fooliversary Hotline and let's see what happens.

Brokamp: This is relatively new, by the way...

Southwick: This is new, beginning this month.

Brokamp: ... so I've never done this.

Palting: I'm very excited to be here.

Southwick: Who knows what's going to happen? [Phone rings]. I hope they answer.

Female: Thank you for calling the Fooliversary Hotline. Before I transfer you to our Fooliversary concierge, what is your secret phrase?

Southwick: Elvis gave me the side-eye.

Female: Perfect. Transferring you now. Have a wonderful Fooliversary!

Palting: Oh, my gosh! I don't know what's happening, but I'm so excited!

Southwick: [On hold music] Ooh! Is that just our standard on-hold music? This is intense. [Phone rings]

Female: Hi there, and Happy Fooliversary! Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?

Southwick: Alison Southwick.

Female: Hello, Alison Southwick! This is your Fooliversary Hotline session. Today you have earned a treat delivered at your desk. Please choose from one of the following options. You can have an ice cream sandwich or a popsicle, a Wackadoodle pair of crazy socks, or a Motley Fool keychain. What would you like?

Southwick: Socks. Socks. Oh, I'm sorry. Do you guys want to have some say on this?

Brokamp: No. It's your Fooliversary!

Palting: It's your Fooliversary!

Southwick: I want Wackadoodle socks!

Female: All right, well that is just excellent. I will bring that up to your desk faster than a jackrabbit on a greasy griddle. Have a great day and happy Fooliversary!

Palting: Happy Fooliversary!

Southwick: Yay, thank you.

Female: Bye-bye!

Palting: The funny thing is no one at this office has that accent, so...

Southwick: Cheryl, no one in the world has that accent. I don't know where that was from or where it was going, but all I know is...

Palting: ... I didn't do it.

Southwick: ... they're going to give me some Wackadoodle socks. I'm so excited.

Palting: Now, this is in addition to your Fooliversary gift.

Southwick: So, seven years, I believe I get $500. Usually you get some amount of money to have an experience. This year is charity, and so I get $500 to spend on some sort of charitable purpose.

Palting: Oh, yay.

Brokamp: Very cool.

Southwick: Well, ladies, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a really fun conversation.

Healy: Thanks for having us!

Palting: Yes.

Southwick: Please come back again someday. Let's find an excuse to get you guys back in here.

Palting: Tomorrow?

Southwick: OK. It works for me. I won't even bother checking my calendar.

Healy: This is so much fun. Thank you!

Southwick: And that's the show. I want to thank Annie and Cheryl, again, for joining us. Our email is You can follow us on Twitter. We are also on Facebook. Join the Podcast Facebook group. It's really great. Also, if you're dying to get some Motley Fool podcast swag in your life...

Brokamp: And who isn't?

Southwick: ... I know I am, you can go to, I believe is the correct... Yes. Yes, I am correct. Bro can spout off a history book's worth of detail, and I can't even remember a single URL. Free nachos at The Fool right about now, so I'm going to cut on out of here. The show is edited Roth-ing-ly by Rick Engdahl. For Robert Brokamp, I'm Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish everybody!