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Barbara Corcoran: Women should ‘pretend they’re a man’ during salary negotiations

It’s no secret that women still earn less money than men, and “Shark Tank” investor Barbara Corcoran has advice for female business people who want to fare better at the negotiating table.

“Women should pretend they’re a man, because men do negotiate better,” Corcoran told Yahoo Finance’s Jeanie Ahn in the video above.

While some women aren’t willing to negotiate their salaries at all, 46% of men negotiate their salary as compared to 34% of women, according to a survey of more than 2,700 workers from HR consulting firm Robert Half. “Women tend to want to please more,” Corcoran said. “Most men really want to cut to the chase and get what they want.”

Negotiate like a man

Corcoran, a multi-millionaire real estate mogul, admits that “in a way” she’s learned to act like a man when it comes to negotiation, suggesting that women’s maternal instincts might hinder them. She compares negotiating to climbing a mountain: “A man will get halfway up and claim he owns the mountain,” Corcoran said. “A women will get to the top, set up a tent, make sure the kids are taken care of, make sure the wallpaper is up and say, ‘I’m the queen of the mountain.’”

“Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran spoke to Yahoo Finance on how women can negotiate best.
“Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran spoke to Yahoo Finance on how women can negotiate best.

Her advice for women trying to act like men in negotiations? “It takes a certain panache or confidence or faking it if you’re going to get what you want,” she said.

‘Aggressive with manners’

Corcoran admits she’s made a “myriad of mistakes” negotiating on the “Shark Tank” floor. In fact, she was initially rejected for the the Emmy-nominated ABC show prior to its debut in 2009. However, instead of accepting defeat, Corcoran reached out to the show’s producer Mark Burnett in an email.

In that email she says, “I considered his decision to be a lucky charm,” Corcoran told AARP, “because I’ve had all my big successes on the heels of rejection.” Corcoran then went on to suggest that he invite both her and the other candidate to L.A. for a tryout, willingly sharing that she already booked her flight and “hopes to be on the plane.” Corcoran recalls a phone call with his assistant the next morning who said, “When I walked your email over to Mr. Burnett and watched him read it, he said ‘This girl is a real shark.’ ” Of course, Corcoran later told Yahoo Finance, she’s always “aggressive with manners.”

Nine years later, Corcoran has invested millions on the show. ‘“When I want something,” told Yahoo Finance, “I raise my hand and stand up.”

Treat job interviews like dating

Corcoran encourages job seekers to treat job and salary negotiations like speed dating, to “romance the person” interviewing them. She says, “What you don’t want to do is refuse to consider the offer, if you’re lucky enough to get an offer, [wait] until the following day to play hard to get.”

Job review site Glassdoor also encourages job candidates not to accept right away, suggesting they speak to human resources about benefits, vacation time, and education opportunities before accepting. For her part, Corcoran says job candidates should also make their interest in the company clear. I love you, I love this company, I’ve never wanted to work for any company more than your company,” Corcoran recommends saying.

If you play the game just right, you might land a dream job — and your dream salary.

Brooke DiPalma is an associate producer for Yahoo Finance.

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This story was originally featured on October 9th, 2018.