How to Prepare for a Tough Interview


Foolishness What is your greatest strength?

What is your greatest weakness?

What three words most describe you?

We’ve all heard these time and time again in interviews that we’ve been in over the years. We can probably even guess what the next question is going to be, or at least some variation of what we thought was coming our way.

The Fool is famous for having tough interviews, mostly because our hiring managers ask hard questions about their industry, specialties they may have (in technology, marketing, investing, business management, for example), and our business in particular – we want candidates to do some research about our company before they come in.

But we add a bit of our Foolish culture in the interviews, too. It’s not that we play Good Cop, Bad Cop, but the culture team gets to ask questions that peer more into a person’s life outside of their resume and cover letter.

We talk about baking; we talk about sailing; we talk about rescuing puppies…

We want to know about the person that we are interviewing, and not just what jobs they’ve had.

We look for Foolishness, sure – which, by the way, has a broad definition – but we also want to know that this person is going to kill it at their job. We work hard to play hard.

So next time, you are preparing for a tough interview, be yourself, put your best professional foot forward, and be humble and gracious throughout the process.

If there is anything that I’ve learned recruiting for the Fool, it is this – if you have ever sat in an interview process here and have NEVER thought, “Wow, how did I ever get this job?”, then, well, you probably aren’t a Fool.

What a Fool Believes

In 1997 a group of Fools sat down to write our Fool Rules, the first draft of our Fool Handbook.   Individuals from across the company pitched in to write different sections, creating our vision for what life inside our office is like. This was before Netflix touted its unlimited vacation policy, and our no dress code “rules” were unheard of in the Washington DC area: “No more than three colors not found in nature, no viking helmets with strapless dresses”

Inc. magazine did a story on our handbook in 2000, quoting Fool Founder David Gardner:

“Keep in mind that we never planned to start a company in the first place. We were just cranking out a newsletter. The idea that someday we would have employees, not to mention an employee manual, never even occurred to us. One day we looked around and said, ‘Gosh, we have people working here.’ Sometime around 1997, we realized we should have something in writing that explains what we do, how we behave, and what we believe in.”

Recently we’ve enjoyed taking a look at some other great workplaces’ handbooks, such as Valve Software. An employee handbook doesn’t necessarily have to be a list of rules and regulations. A well written one can tell you a lot about what your business values.