‘Shark Tank’ Star Barbara Corcoran Shares the Three Questions You Should Never Ask on an Interview

Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank has established herself as a shrewd investor and savvy business woman. Always looking to partner with hard-working and resilient entrepreneurs, Corcoran knows exactly what to look for when considering someone to add to her team. 

The Shark Tank star has conducted countless interviews and instructs job hunters never to ask certain questions that can leave a bad impression. 

Barbara Corcoran of 'Shark Tank'
Barbara Corcoran of ‘Shark Tank’ | Eric McCandless via Getty Images

Barbara Corcoran on hours

The Shark Tank investor shares advice and ideas on her podcast Business Unusual and recently discussed some topics that should be handled delicately when applying for a job. For instance, the real estate mogul is surprised at how many potential employees ask her, “How late do I have to work?” according to Inc.

While Corcoran feels that job candidates are allowed to ask what hours are expected of them, that particular phrasing of the question can give an employer the impression that you don’t want to go the extra mile. She suggests asking “What are the typical hours?” instead. 

‘Shark Tank’ investor’s thoughts on raises

Corcoran revealed that it rubs her the wrong way when applicants inquire about raises and promotions before they even get a job offer. “I think this person is going to be a pain in the neck,” she said.. “The job offer never comes.”

The reality star encourages job seekers to word the question in a way that won’t seem greedy, such as “What would be expected of me within the first year to move ahead?”

As for when it is the right time to ask for a raise, Corcoran has advice for that too. “No one gives a raise for the same job you did last year,” Corcoran said, according to CNBC Make It. She recommends those wanting a salary bump to document their growth in their job performance. “List every new task and responsibility on a sheet of paper and take it with you, and be ready to back them up.”

Corcoran also encourages employees to “think of it as a sales presentation, because that’s exactly what it is,” she said. “And really strut your stuff. You’ll need to dress for the part you’re asking for, so step up your dress just a notch. Then, cut to the chase. Say you’d like to get a raise and why, and know the number you’re looking for.” 

Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’

The millionaire investor also doesn’t like being asked about vacation time when she’s conducting an interview, seeing it as a sign of someone always having one foot out the door.  “Just don’t even ask this one,” she advises.

Corcoran recommends that job hunters should treat interviews like dating, with questions focused on the other person such as what projects they enjoy working on or what they like about their job. She also emphasizes the importance of sending a ‘Thank you’ email immediately following the interview. 

The kind of moxy the Shark Tank star likes to see in a potential employee is reflected in her story on hiring someone on the spot. Corcoran shared that an applicant once arrived early for his interview on a rainy day at her office, which was very small and crowded at the time. While she was impressed with his being early for the appointment, she was bowled over when he offered to wait outside so he wouldn’t be in the way. The gesture immediately won Corcoran’s vote of confidence. 

“Outside? But it was raining outside! Here’s this guy who walked into my intimate office, realized he may be interrupting us, and acted on it immediately so that we would not be inconvenienced — even though he already had the appointment,” Corcoran told CNBC in April 2019, revealing that she hired him instantly. “All it took was about five or six seconds for me to make my decision.”

Corcoran clearly looks beyond resumes when it comes to hiring!