Hidden Gems has quickly become a favorite resource for many investors. And due to its success, I am in need of an investment research assistant to help me with my work in the newsletter. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining the team at The Motley Fool, please read on.

Five months ago, we launched Hidden Gems, a newsletter and online service with a mission to be the #1 place for small-cap investors. In the service, I use a blend of value and growth principles, practiced and taught by great money managers. The approach relies on the bottom-up analysis of more than a hundred small companies each month, in order to dig up the one Gem to recommend.

In the companies I select, I look for a solid foundation of assets, accelerating operational momentum, positive free cash flow, and shareholder-friendly management -- all on offer at an attractive price for long-term investors. I've been applying this thinking in Motley Fool Stock Advisor, where my cumulative returns since inception (20 months) are 34.41% gains versus an increase in the S&P 500 of 9.74%. These returns will be fully audited at year end.

It's far too early to draw meaningful conclusions about the returns in Hidden Gems, but the first four companies -- a furniture maker, a safety-equipment manufacturer, a telephone company, and the producer of measurement tools for the factory floor -- have done well so far. As you can see, I haven't loaded up go-go high-technology and biotech stocks. Three of the four stocks still trade at multiples lower than the general market. In the classic tradition of investing in neglected small companies, my recommendations feature little or no analyst coverage, few institutional investors, and strong insider ownership.

My approach draws on the writing and investment records of some truly great money managers. Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety, the shareholder letters of Warren Buffett, both of Peter Lynch's classic investment books, Martin Whitman's Value Investing: A Balanced Approach, Benjamin Graham's Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis (1934 edition) as well as the ideas and opinions of managers like Jim Gipson, Bill Ruane, Bill Miller, Bill Nygren, Bruce Sherman, and Robert Gillam.

The entire Hidden Gems service is built around the belief that reading and the desire to continually learn will dramatically improve your chances of superior investment returns. If you're interested in applying for the Hidden Gems position, you'll need to be ready to bury your head in books, articles, shareholder letters, financial filings, CEO interviews, spreadsheets, and the rich, vibrant Hidden Gems community online. And you'll need to be prepared to exchange investment thinking and ideas with our team (Jeff Fischer, Bill Mann, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Matt Emmert, et al.)

To improve your chances of landing the position, you'll also want to be proficient at pulling apart financial statements, adept at using spreadsheets, excited to teach and learn from others, and fascinated by the possibilities of online community instruction. You needn't have read all of the above books, and you needn't have all the listed skills to apply. But you will have to be prepared to work at Fool HQ in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia for the job.

Hidden Gems is a fascinating place today, with thousands of investors sharing their experiences, their valuation methodology, their favorite companies and stocks, and deep analysis of the companies that I have recommended. Each month, we interview the CEOs of the recommended companies as we prepare to work through the quarterly earnings performance for each business. There's no place like this service.

Finally, the success of your application will have as much to do with your talent as with your character. I am looking for an innovative, enthusiastic, self-critical, dedicated, mathematical, well-read, and talented investor and researcher. I'm looking for someone who is prepared to help me teach and learn from thousands of small-cap investors every day for years to come.

You can apply for the Hidden Gems position under the listing for "Newsletter Associate Writer" in the Editorial category on jobs.fool.com. (There are other openings in our Editorial department as well).

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-- Tom Gardner