'Shark Tank's' Barbara Corcoran Reveals Why She Hired Someone 'Within the First 5 or 6 Seconds' of an Interview

Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran from ABC’s reality show Shark Tank is known as a savvy investor. Building her real estate empire from the ground up with just a $1,000 loan, Corcoran later sold it for $66 million in 2001, according to CNBC.

Corcoran’s ability to quickly spot talent is one of her many gifts, where she even decided to add someone to her staff after less than a minute of meeting.

Importance of first impressions

The Shark Tank panelist is a strong believer in first impressions, whether it’s hiring for her company or investing in an aspiring entrepreneur coming on the show to pitch their idea. “Whether or not a person likes you is going to be decided within the first five or six seconds of your meeting them. It’s not fair, but assumptions are made within seconds about our intelligence, sophistication and abilities,” Corcoran said, according to CNBC.

Corcoran spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet over the summer and shared what she looked for in an entrepreneur that enters the tank. “Someone who looks the part,” she said. “Does what they say match the picture. Wild enthusiasm, kind of like when you first fall in love. And someone who’s going to overcome adversity – that’s always the killer card.”

The real estate mogul places a premium on resilience. “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. “Then I want to see what the entrepreneur does. Two-thirds of them don’t get over it.”


Quick hire

Corcoran recently gave an example of trusting her instincts on a first impression when it came to hiring someone for her company when she was set up in a small office with a staff of less than seven people. “When you walk inside, you’re standing in the middle of all the action, with everybody surrounding you,” she described.

The Shark Tank star shared that a potential candidate for her organization arrived early for his interview on a rainy day. Corcoran was already impressed by his showing up before their scheduled time. The applicant realized he had some extra time, and didn’t want to be in the way. “I’m here for an appointment with Mrs. Corcoran. Would you rather I wait outside?” he asked Corcoran’s assistant.

The gesture immediately won Corcoran over. “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,” she told CNBC in April.

The millionaire business woman decided instantly to add him to her staff. “All it took was about five or six seconds for me to make my decision,” Corcoran said, adding the candidate was also polished, polite and had an impressive demeanor.

Corcoran’s tips for a successful first impression

There are some qualities Corcoran instantly looks for when hiring or investing, and shared a few simple tips for aspiring candidates. One of them is to have good posture. Standing tall makes a better impression than slouching.


She also encourages people to make eye contact without overdoing it. “Eyes are the windows to the soul, and our eyes were created in order to connect with others,” Corcoran said.

The real estate mogul advises to dress well and communicate clearly, saying that it can be easy to talk about your work if you love it. But if you don’t, Corcoran said you’ll get asked “50,000 questions….and you’re going to come up empty.”

See Corcoran at work on ABC’s Shark Tank on Sunday nights!

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