The Apprentice: Task Eleven – The Interviews

When you get to the interview stage you are under so much pressure. You really feel it. The whole process is gruelling and you spend a full ten to eleven hours sitting around and waiting. When you are eventually called into an interview room they actually leave you sitting outside for at least an hour. Obviously none of this is seen on TV but as a candidate you are just left to sit, think and feel the nerves build up and pulsate through your body. So I can certainly empathise with anyone that has been through that process. 
That’s why I do sympathise with Stuart when he said hello to Margaret. There are so many emotions running through you at that point that it was an easy thing to do. Any fan of the show would do the same if they met her in the street. The problem is Stuart wasn’t shopping in Tesco, he was facing the biggest interview of his life! 
I think Joanna came across as a little unprepared for her interview. She didn’t know the background of Lord Sugar’s businesses and it seemed sloppy from her part. However, you can’t really prepare. You are not allowed to use internet in the house, so you can’t do any last minute research. The whole interview process is based upon the initial CV you sent in to the show when you first applied. At that time, you put things down on paper to make you stand out from the crowd. After all, you’re competing against 20,000 other candidates to get onto the show! If you are lucky enough to make it to the interview stage it’s really tough to remember what you wrote! 
During my time, I swotted up on all the interviewers and Lord Sugar’s businesses before I started the show, but I did nearly come unstuck at the interviews stage because I’d lied on my CV. However, I came clean about it during the interview – which is where I think Stuart went really wrong.  He should have held his hand up and said ‘I lied on my application’ but he tried to talk his way out of it by blagging – he even tried to blag his way out of blagging when Lord Sugar confronted him in the boardroom! 
Overall, I can’t really criticise anyone for the way they held themselves during the interviews. It’s a tough, gruelling process and I think they all did really well. It’s you versus the interviewer, and you’ve got nowhere to hide. During my series I didn’t know Karren Brady was going to be an interviewer. When I sat down she said: “Right, Lee – sell me this pen.”  Karren was testing me to see if I could handle the situation. 
I felt sorry for Joanna. All the interviewers showed her a lot of respect for starting up her own business but she still seemed to lack in confidence when it came to the crunch. Like Lord Sugar said, she should leave the process with her head held high. She’s an inspiration to people around the UK who are unemployed and others should look to her as a role model for building your own way to success. 
I think Jamie had a lack of self-confidence too. It’s one thing blaming others but he should have put up more of a fight and reminded people of what he had achieved during the show. After all, he made £76,000 worth of sales in just one task! That’s something to be proud of. I also think Jamie had a bit of a rough time of it. Joanna got plenty of praise for having the guts to start up her own business, but Jamie did that too and he just got ripped apart for not foreseeing the Cyprus property market crash and not relocating his business.
Chris handled himself really well. Even though he has lost six tasks, he’s never been afraid of fighting his corner and knows how to get his point across. You can see he is eager to learn. Claude gave him a grilling and branded him a quitter but he held it together and stood his ground. 
Stella was brilliant all the way through. She is a cool customer and definitely came through the process the most unscathed. She has been one of my top tips  throughout – as has Chris. Having worked for Lord Sugar for two years and knowing him, I have a feeling Chris might just win it this year. As brilliant as Stella is, Chris is raw, young and can be moulded. I’m sure it will be a closely fought final but for me, it’s Chris’s year.
Lee’s Raw Talent Academy aims to provide SMEs and corporate organisations with the vehicle to build internal sales academies into long term staffing plans and to encourage organisations to look at the wider raw talent we have in the UK and not just graduates. Lee, who has over ten years experience working in recruitment and over seven years as an employer of sales people, is passionate about giving job seekers an opportunity to earn a career – and Raw Talent Academyaims to give the unemployed community that chance.
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