How an introverted job candidate changed my mind

Barbara Corcoran, on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Mitch Haseth | Disney general entertainment content | Getty Images

Barbara Corcoran almost missed out on the “best hire” she ever made because the potential employee seemed too introverted.

“When I started my business [in 1973]“I needed people to join my real estate company,” said the millionaire investor and real estate entrepreneur. Recent TikTok video. “But I didn’t have much to offer, and good people were really hard to come by.”

Enter Esther Kaplan, who eventually became Corcoran’s business partner and longtime president of the Corcoran Group. But at the time, Kaplan didn’t seem like a good fit for the sales job she was applying for, Corcoran said.

“It was a little woman in a little knit suit with little pearl buttons, and she spoke so softly, I could barely hear what she was saying,” Corcoran said. “I already knew that great salespeople are usually loud and enthusiastic. So I handed Esther my card and told her I would call her if something happened, and I had no intention of calling her.”

Corcoran remembers watching Kaplan take the card and place it inside a neatly organized bag, complete with labeled sections. She said the unexpected arrangement and attention to detail impressed Corcoran.

“With a mind like that, I knew I wanted my work in her portfolio,” Corcoran said. “I opened a position for her immediately and told her I was eager to take her under my wing and teach her everything she needed to know to sell.”

Corcoran added that the goal was not for Kaplan to become an outstanding salesperson. Instead, it was about getting Kaplan in the door — and seeing how best she could help the company later. “She had all the qualities I didn’t have, and two years later, we were running the business side by side,” Corcoran said.

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You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a great leader. Introverts typically share three traits that can help a person excel in leadership roles, according to best-selling author Susan Cain:

  • A conservative and calculated approach to risk
  • High levels of creativity
  • Effective problem solving skills

Despite this, introverts often feel they need to imitate stereotypically extroverted personalities to get ahead.

“The bias in our culture against introversion runs so deep, and we internalize it at such a young age,” Cain, an introvert, said in a 2012 Google Conversations lecture. She added that introverts are “routinely overlooked” in leadership positions.

Your challenge in the workplace: Create an environment in which both behavioral styles can coexist.

“This dual structure of how we view character leads to a tremendous waste of talent, energy, and happiness,” Kane said. “We need to take a much more yin and yang approach to balance the two approaches.”

In Kaplan’s case, she spent more than 20 years helping run the Corcoran Group, handling filing systems, finances and legal aspects of the business. Corcoran oversaw public relations, advertising, marketing and recruiting, she said.

In 2000, he succeeded Kaplan as President and CEO By Pamela Lipman. The following year, Corcoran sold the company for $66 million.

Disclosure: CNBC holds exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank,” which features Barbara Corcoran as a panelist.

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