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Foolish Tips to Get the Job You Want: Our Hiring Team's Favorite Candidate Stories

By Motley Fool Staff - Feb 5, 2018 at 7:20PM

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At a place like The Motley Fool, you won’t be surprised some of the applicants have brought unusual tactics to the hiring process.

In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, hosts Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp are focused on helping us all get healthier, wealthier, and happier. And one of the largest parts of that equation starts with where you work. A position with the right company -- or the wrong one -- will deeply affect your mental and physical well-being, and, of course, your salary. 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.

But in this segment, they have a bit of bonus fun as they recall some of the best and worst extremes people have gone to in their quest to join the amazing, award-winning Motley Fool team.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Jan. 23, 2018.

Alison 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.

Annie 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 podcast listeners will know the person, because it was Johnnie Weathersby.

Cheryl Palting: It was Johnnie Weathersby.

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

Robert 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.

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