Well, we’ve come a long way baby. At the outset we were told that finest business people in Britain all gathered in London to compete for a job with Sir Alan Sugar. 10 weeks later there are 5 left standing. 2 men and 3 women.
This was the week of the interviews – something we can all identify with. The last interview I had was for a large multinational which was almost 10 years ago now but it’s as vivid in my mind today as it was then. I got the particular job I went for so the interview isn’t etched in my mind because I made a mess of it. It sticks in my mind because of how I felt before it. Not quite as bad as waiting to be called by the dentist to have a tooth pulled, but not far off.
Therefore, I could feel how the candidates were feeling. Most of what has gone before WAS just entertainment. It can’t really be viewed as a serious effort at finding out who is the best candidate for a job in business. A look back at the tasks prove that point. The interviews, although still a bit showy, are pretty much the real deal in terms of really finding out who the candidates really are. Rather predictably, current earnings and job status seemed to be used by the candidates as evidence of their worthiness for the job. From what I have seen on both this series and previous ones is that you don’t actually need to be in a well paid, high flying job to go far in the Apprentice, but having one or both is the only way you will make it into the final cut in the first place.
Sir Alan invited 4 colleagues to do the interviews, each very successful in their own way – a property “tycoon”, a global troubleshooter, the chief exec of Viglen and Karen Brady who took over Birmingham FC at the age of 23. Each had a very different interview style but the one that annoyed me the most was Paul Kemsley, the stubbly faced guy with the abrasive character. He’s appears to be the hard nosed, no friends in business kind of guy. This type of character gives business a bad name in my opinion. You can be tough in business but still keep friends. Being in business doesn’t mean you leave your sense of decency or compassion at the door. This guy makes business sound like it’s all cloak and daggers stuff where you’d kill your own mother to make a buck. Amazingly, he said good things about the candidates he was hardest on in the interview.
The editing of the interviews had to be done in such a way to keep the entertainment value high and the highlight was an encore of Lee’s famous dinosaur impression. In a real interview he’d never have done that I’m sure, but it was classic to see Kemsley give it the thumbs down and give Lee a dressing down for doing the impression at all. The Viglen exec that picked over Alex’s college record was sneaky but jusitified in doing it to see what reaction Lee gave. He totally failed on that point, instead of coming clean about it, the best he could muster was “I’m disappointed in myself”. Wrong answer Lee – just hold your hands up and say “yeah, sorry about that I lied but I felt my lack of formal qualifications might go against me and I really want this job”. He’s a likeable chap and I think he let himself down there.
Alex came across like a petulant child when challenged about his CV and experience even though the interviewers said he was a nice chap when giving their opinion in the boardroom. His charm was commented on by both male and female.
Claire was Claire… Confident in her abilities and generally liked by all.
Helene had something of a hard background which was touched upon and overall she seemed to be liked by the interviewers as well.
Lucinda came off worst in the interviews which wasn’t unexpected and she was totally sabotaged by Alex who told tales to Sir Alan that she had said she didn’t know if she wanted the job. That wasn’t something he should have brought up as Lucinda was only voicing some doubts early on in the day, but she was naive to voice those opinions in front of the other 4.
No surprise that she was let go. Although she was my personal favourite, I don’t think she would have worked well in the cut and thrust of Sir Alan’s empire.
As already flagged in one of my Apprentice bits, the remaining 4 will now fight it out next week. What I didn’t know is that there will be 2 teams. The winning candidate will come from the winning team. Alex and Helene are paired up against Claire and Lee in a task to come up with a new perfume.
Who will crowned Apprentice next week? If I was a betting man, I’d say Claire but it all depends on who wins the task. We might be in for a surprise next week though, can’t wait now.