So we reached the semi-final stage of The Apprentice in the UK last night. 5 candidates remained James, Debra, Yasmina, Lorraine and Kate.
They all had to endure a day of being interviewed by 4 highly successful people known as Sir Alan’s trusted advisors. It is always interesting to see this part of the process as for the first time in the process it comes down to individual performance rather than team effort.
So what were the key learning points from this week?
You need to be self confident
The candidates could be split into two camps. Those that had high degrees of self confidence (Debra, Yasmina and Kate) and those who demonstrated self doubt (James and Lorraine).
You need to be extremely careful what you write in a CV
One of the things James said he would bring to the table in his CV was a degree of ignorance. He said that he wanted to stand out and it was clearly picked up by the interviewers. I got the essence of what James was saying essentially he would bring a fresh perspective but the words he used were not the greatest.
Lorraine similarly made the classic mistake of getting some employment dates wrong.
You need to be willing to show a bit of you
Kate was by far the most controlled and calm in the interview situation but as a result she did not really show her personality. She was even described by one of the interviewers as a bit robotic.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with references
We had seen the bullish side of Debra during the previous 10 weeks and sadly her references seem just to confirm this from what we saw. Maybe there was a learning point about choosing a balance of people to act as referees so that you get a more rounded picture.
You can never do too much planning for an interview
You could tell those who had spent significant time planning for an interview (Kate in particular) and those who were just winging it (James most noticeably).
Sadly, this lack of planning is all too familiar not just in The Apprentice but in real life in my experience. You need to spend time anticipating questions that will be asked.
Back in the Boardroom it was no surprise that James followed by Lorraine were the first two to be eliminated. James was seen as more of a corporate man by Sir Alan and this is why he was fired. Lorraine (like Lucinda last year in some ways) was a bit different so was always going to struggle to make the final as a result.
That left Sir Alan with two to choose for the final from Debra, Yasmina and Kate. The first to make the final was Kate. The second final place went to Yasmina with Debra being fired. Maybe Debra was just too much of a risk for Sir Alan.
However, putting personalities aside, if you look at the times when they were Project Managers, both Yasmina and Kate performed well so maybe they were the logical choices for the final.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.