by Achim Nowak

How A Shark Spots Talent

May 11, 2024

Barbara Corcoran gets it, I think to myself.

Corcoran is a judge on the tv program “Shark Tank,” mega-entrepreneur, and a legend in Manhattan real estate. And she “gets” the how-I-know-I-want-you-on-my-team considerations.

When Corcoran hires she doesn’t read the resume until after the first conversation. Doesn’t use the HR lingo of leadership competencies or career ladders. According to Corcoran, 90 % of successful people in the workplace have 3 distinct qualities. These qualities she wants.

Every artist was first an amateur.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be forewarned. Corcoran’s filters may sound fluffy to you. A little “feminine.” I think Corcoran’s got it 100 % right.

Ms. Corcoran’s Talent Filters

1. The Light is on. I just look for the light in the person, to see what’s good about them, Corcoran told the wonderful Adam Bryant of The New York Times 7 years ago (NY Times Business Section, 6/4/2017). I can spot it a mile away.

The light, you wonder? What the heck is Corcoran talking about? I use the very same phrase to describe the people I meet. The light is on – in my world it means you emanate a sense of passion. You’re conscious of the words you speak. You are effortlessly animated. You lead with a smile. And you sincerely wish to speak with me.

2. The Person is happy. Because unhappy people don’t accomplish a lot, Corcoran affirms. Amen. Unhappy folks tend to not telegraph their unhappiness in a business conversation. It will slip out sideways. The dismissive comment. The sarcastic aside. The finding-fault-in-others. The permanently furrowed brows. Yes, folks don’t wear their unhappiness on their sleeves. The signals will be there. Notice. And notice the absence of joy, as well.

3. They have energy. It means your energy is palpable as I meet you. It is kinesthetically palpable – I sense physical energy, and I sense that this energy is not just an act. Not fake, put-on energy. No, your energy is connected to your deepest desire to get things done. This desire is supported by the language you use as you speak. Your language is robust and energizing and infused by the deep conviction that obstacles will be surmounted and success awaits. Your physical, mental and verbal choices energize me.

Yup. Corcoran screens for the intangibles. Her filters are a quest for clear evidence of a positive attitude. Corcoran’s biggest turn-off?

The minute I make a deal with someone, Corcoran says as she talks about the folks she has invested in on Shark Tank, I put a photo of them in a matted frame on my wall. They look beautiful. They’re like my kids on the walls.

But the minute I hear them sounding like a victim on the phone I hang up, walk over to the wall and I flip their picture upside-down. They’ll never succeed. Victims don’t succeed.

Barbara Corcoran knows. Don’t be fooled by credentials. Always, always, always hire for positive attitude. Learn to read the signals quickly. And ask yourself: Do I pass the Barbara Corcoran test?

If the answer is NO – get to work. Because Barbara knows.

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