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Here's the one question 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran always asks in an interview

Long before self-made millionaire Barbara Corcoran started investing on ABC's "Shark Tank," she turned a $1,000 loan into a $6 billion company, The Corcoran Group.

Along the way, the real estate power player learned a thing or two about scanning for employees. Her go-to interview question, she tells Adam Bryant of The New York Times, is surprisingly simple: "Tell me about your family."

The candidate's answer is telling, she says: "If their family couldn't give them a positive attitude, there's nothing I can do that's going to change it." And, as Corcoran learned at a young age, attitude is everything: "Early on, I hired a couple of people who had all the markings of great salespeople, but they were not happy people.

Barbara Corcoran
Donna Ward | Getty Images
Barbara Corcoran

"I learned that, if you have just one unhappy person in a pool of 30 happy people, you feel that weight," Corcoran says. And she can't tolerate the disturbance.

"I couldn't wait to get them in my office to tell them they had to leave," she tells Bryant. "I loved firing complainers."'

Corcoran's not the only boss who looks for likability when hiring. Brian Scudamore, the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, uses a "beer and BBQ test" to make sure he's hiring people he and his team will enjoy working with.

Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Courtesy of O2E Brands
Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

The CEO asks anyone conducting interviews to ask themselves two questions during and after the interview: "Could you see yourself sitting down and enjoying a beer or coffee with this person?" And, "If we had a company barbecue, how would they fit in?"

"What we're looking for is, 'Does our community make sense?'" says Scudamore. "'Are we all guided by that same principal of us building something much bigger together?' And the beer and barbecue filter seems to work like magic."

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