You’re Hired

SUNDAY NIGHT saw the conclusion of the epic battle that has held us captivated for some time now. No, not the golf (well done Darren!) but The Apprentice, although I must admit the final itself was a bit disappointing. There was no big task, just the typically painful interviews (and man were they painful in places), and although they were entertaining it did seem like a bit of an anti-climax.

That aside I must confess that, much as I enjoyed the grilling that each candidate suffered, I also felt a huge amount of sympathy for each of the finalists. It’s very easy for a TV programme to show people choking on answers and being picked up on flaws in their work.

But, before you condemn them as idiots, take a step back and think about anytough job interview you’ve been in (especially one that’s started to go a bit sour) or a piece of work you’ve done that a Manager, Teacher or Lecturer has torn to pieces despite your thinking it was a masterpiece… It happens to us all.

I can’t help sharing Lord Sugar’s disappointment in Helen’s business plan. Her penultimate task (MyPy a pie shop/fast food hybrid) was a gift wrapped business idea, why didn’t she go with that? Or is that perhaps a bit too cheeky? I don’t know, but I would have given it a go, sometimes a bit of audacity is the way forward.

Hire ’em all

Perhaps the most disappointing thing was that they didn’t all get hired. Was I the only one sat watching the telly and urging Lord Sugar to take them all on? Think about it, they’re a bit like a business ‘A-team’, each with their own strengths which would complement the others’ weaknesses.

Tom is clearly the most creative but not brilliantly organised or focused. Susan is highly focused and also creative but perhaps naïve, lacking in ‘big picture’ experience and some softer people skills.

Jim could sell any sandy cliché in whatever desert you chose and then charm the pants off it, but seems to rush in and lacks a plan. Helen is astoundingly organised and a real achiever but perhaps not dazzlingly creative.

Creative engine

Therefore you have Tom and Susan working together as your creative engine – one bringing the other back to earth – Jim as your sales output and helping Susan with her softer skills, and Helen sitting behind them all organising and pulling all the strings, keeping them on track and generally productive.

Perhaps working like that would also allow each to learn from the other and shore up their own weaker points. One final comment I would make is to say: don’t judge any of the candidates too harshly (well except for one of them but I won’t mention who….).

Anyone who has taken part in a leadership/team building course or challenge (I did one that involved CB radios and Lego, it was not easy) will understand that such tasks are far more challenging than they appear on the TV, or (having re-read that last sentence) sound when written in a blog.

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