‘Shark Tank’s’ Barbara Corcoran Uses This One Interview Question to Weed Out Complainers

Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran prides herself on being able to spot talent. Whether it’s competing invest in an entrepreneur on ABC’s reality show Shark Tank  or adding someone to her real estate team, Corcoran can quickly ascertain who will make a profitable partner.

The millionaire business woman is also able to pick up on negativity, and uses one question in particular to suss out potential bellyaching employees.

"Shark Tank's" Barbara Corcoran attends the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards
“Shark Tank’s” Barbara Corcoran | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Strength from weakness

According to Forbes, Corcoran came from humble beginnings and was raised in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey with her nine brothers and sisters. Through hard work and resilience, she built her real estate empire from a $1,000 loan and sold it for $66 million in 2001, according to CNBC.

Corcoran has been open about having dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects your ability to read, spell, write, and speak, according to WebMD. , The Shark Tank star feels she drew strength from the disorder. “It made me more creative, more social and more competitive,” she said, as reported by Entrepreneur. “There’s a great freedom to being dyslexic… if you can avoid labeling yourself as a loser in a school system that measures people by As and Bs. And the kids that are so good at school, that don’t have to fight for it, very often they don’t do as well in life and business because they’re not flexible. There’s no system dictated to them out there like it is in school and they certainly tend not to make good entrepreneurs.”

A telling question

With Corcoran’s fighting spirit and refusal to let anything stop her from her goals, she expects the same determination from those who work for and with her. When recruiting for her company or teaming with an entrepreneur, there are certain traits that Corcoran sees as necessities. “When I hire people, I just look for the light in the person, to see what’s good about them,” she said, according to Inc. “I can spot it a mile away.”

Admitting that she rarely looks at resumes since they aren’t as authentic as a one-on-one meeting, Corcoran finds that one particular question can weed out those interviewees that are not a good fit for her. She makes a point of asking an applicant about their family – about their parents, how he or she grew up, etc. The real estate mogul feels that how a person speaks about family can illustrate how they will tackle business plans and challenges. “If their family couldn’t give them a positive attitude, there’s nothing I can do that’s going to change it,” Corcoran said.

The Shark Tank investor seeks people that are positive, saying one grumbling employee can have a negative affect on the entire staff. “I learned that if you have just one unhappy person in a pool of 30 happy people, you feel that weight,” she explained.

No complainers

As someone who has fought adversity, Corcoran has an aversion to complainers. “They’ll never succeed. Victims don’t succeed,” she said.

Resilience and the ability to bounce back are essential when Corcoran considers investing in an entrepreneur. “After Shark Tank airs, after about three to six months, something goes wrong. The merchandise wasn’t delivered, or the product has a problem,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in July. “Then I want to see what the entrepreneur does. Two-thirds of them don’t get over it.”

As a business owner with a company worth millions, Corcoran clearly knows how to pick winners!