Video Transcript

00:10 Barbara Corcoran: Number five, there's only two kinds of people at work, I believe, and I'm sure I'm oversimplifying it, but I made it simple for myself and boy, did it save me time. I believe there are expanders and containers. In a large business, in a tiny business, you're either an expander or you're a container. I really have never met anyone who's good at both, anyone, and I hired thousands of people in my career. I'm still hiring them now. An expander is the kind of guy who's kind of a mess, wants to see how far they could go, kind of very exuberant, they dream a lot, they don't care so much about the details, so a lot of things don't work out, they're excitable. Okay, they're good at marketing, they're good at PR, they're good at baloney, that's a me, I'm an expander. They're good at saying, "You're amazing." And people believe them.

00:51 Corcoran: Alright, that's who I was. I had the lucky, lucky break of interviewing a woman who wanted to come into real estate sales. I took one look at her and I could tell, "Forget her." She was never gonna sell real estate, she was so conservative, she looked like a school marm, she's about 10 years older than me, her name was Esther Kaplan. I had her in my office, she said she was an executive secretary for a law firm and she was thinking of doing real estate sales. I'm like, "You gotta be kidding", in my head. I'm like being polite, trying to get her out of the office fast, so I could go on to the next applicant. And then I had the luckiest stroke from God, him or herself, where I handed her my card, "Okay, thank you, we'll give you a call." And as I handed her the card she had a little clip purse with like a bone thing, a little tiny clip purse. It looked like it was from her granny for God's sakes. Anyway, she clipped it, I remember that click, very concise, and she tipped it forward with my card and she was deciding where to put it. And in her purse, I swear to God, she had a miniature filing cabinet. She had dividers with little... I couldn't see what was on them, but they were definitely labeled and she places my, with both hands, it's not just a one hand thing it's a [click], right in the right spot.

02:07 Corcoran: I'm looking at this I'm like, "Holy shit, I just met my business partner." [laughter] And you wanna know within one year, she was my business partner, my 10% partner, because I couldn't pay her. I told her she'd be great at sales. Why? Because I didn't have a salary, she had to sell to make a living, "Come on in I'll help you, you'd be great at sales." But she kinda surprised me, she's such a hard worker, she wasn't great at sales, but she got by on sales, she at least met the overhead. And then I'd pay her a little for this, pay her a little for that, and over the next 10 years she would own 10% of the Corcoran Group, alright? I found my opposite. When I had three new advertising campaigns, I ate that crap up, I love it, I have three different campaigns from ad agencies, I would walk into Esther and say, "Esther, what do you think of these three?" Put the three boards and she'd take like 25 minutes, I could've grown a garden, [laughter] and she'll look and look and look, and then she goes, "Well, I don't know which one I like, but I can certainly tell you I don't like that one."

03:03 Corcoran: That was the one I ran with, because she was so bad at what I was good at. [laughter] She would confirm my gut feeling that that was a phenomenal campaign, may you uncomfortable, it was edgy, people are gonna say, "What? What?" and that's good advertising. Whereas Esther, what she was great at was dealing with the banks, establishing credit lines, making them comfortable, they trusted her, yes Esther. You would swear you were Mother Superior's... I have bankers who would bring her flowers, this is weird, and they were giving us some money, alright? Esther was just that type that everybody trusted, it was like having God damn King Solomon in your office on a daily basis, alright? But what she was good at is containment, systems, finance, everything that I was terrible at, and what I learned was that you only have two kinds of people, expanders and containers. And when I interviewed anybody I never looked at the resume, I put it back down on my desk, I would just say, "Tell me about yourself" and I let them talk and let them talk and I would just... My only goal was to try to figure out where to stick them.

04:00 Corcoran: I didn't... If they were trying to come into real estate sales and I thought they were gonna be good at advertising, I would convince them, "You know what you have a gift. You really don't belong in sales, you know what would be good for you?" I would place them and build jobs around them versus stick them in jobs that I had. And I can't tell you how that forced me to build the business many times over because I had this golden person that was so good at one thing, I thought, "I gotta find a spot for them." And I don't care how crowded it was much like my mother when she brought in the fifth girl into our bedroom and the sixth girl, I'm like, "She's never gonna fit another bed in this room." And somehow, with measuring with her broom and having my father move the beds, somehow through her knees, we got one more bed. And you wanna know something? I practice that with interviewing. Let me tell you, summarizing, expander, container, boom! And decide, "Is that what I need for this job, an expander? No I need a container, she's gonna watch the money", whatever. Making that assessment could be saving you a heck of a lot of time.