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Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Apprentice: The cringe-worthy interviews

OH MY GOD. You have to hand it to handsome Aussie Mark. His smart-arse comment “Can’t wait to win this” came as such a relief after an hour of bum-clenching, teeth-grinding tension.
But before I get going, I’m going to suggest something. Rather like my football theory (in which I firmly believe the game would be 1,000 times more interesting if they did away with the 90 minutes of ordinary play and just made every game a penalty shoot-out), I think The Apprentice would be far the better series if the bosses at the Beeb served up week after week of interviews.
I could watch Claude shouting “ridiculous!” and snarling at snivelling suits for hours…
Sadly I doubt whether the likes of Roisin, Denial, Bianca, Mark or Solomon (poor, poor Solomon) would agree.

They sat, all bright eyed and eager at the bottom of the Shard, waiting to meet five of Surallan’s razor-clawed business pals (one of which included a chap who had previously won the competition), who would rip apart their CVs, business plans and - in some cases - their personalities.
Roisin, who for me has been one of this series’ strongest contenders, went into her interviews clutching her plan to bring super-healthy ready meals to the global food market. But she withered when confronted with the fact her money would run out by month two, and the ‘unique’ ingredient she had hung her dream on was already being used in shop-sold ready meals… Blonde ambition she may have in spades, but she had no answer to the experts who ripped into her idea again and again.
Even in the boardroom, she continued to fight, though it was clear Surallan had lost his appetite. She was promptly booted out. But she wasn’t the first to leave…

That dubious honour went to Solomon, the bright-eyed puppy of the group, endearingly known as a ‘tech geek’ by his fellow candidates. He didn’t so much as get a roasting from Claude, but was hung, drawn and quartered - and it was all the young lad’s own fault.
Anyone thinking of applying for series 11 of The Apprentice take note: a two-page business plan with colourful pictures and no hard numbers will NOT go down well. Even if, like Solomon, your CV is a delight. The enterprising youngster was sent packing from the room by a furious Claude, who called his plan “a bloody disgrace”, and left the competition soon after.

Things went a little better for Denial, but not much. After having his CV torn apart - and a wee fib about a salesman of the year award exposed - he too suffered the wrath of Claude. The veteran businessman had only one word to say about Denial’s business plan, and he said it five time: “ridiculous!”. Oopsie. Even Denial’s attempts to prove he was the best salesman out of the contenders saw him come a cropper, as he ended up in sixth place (and yes, he STILL whinged on about those bloody hot tubs). For one horrible moment, it looked as though he still might scrape through to the final as Surallan hesitated and cogitated, but finally he pointed his dreaded digit at Denial and sent him on his way.

So! That left Bianca and Mark, whose experiences of the interview stage were very different.
The Aussie hunk almost sailed through the process, only encountering a smidge of trouble with former winner Ricky Marton, who made Mark role play a sales telephone call.
Bianca, however, ran into trouble when she was asked to talk about herself. Not her business, or her image or her professionalism - herself. For the first time in the entire competition, she looked on shaky ground and the misstep almost cost her dear when she threatened to break down during her chat with Ricky.

While she felt under attack, I think the point of what she was being asked wasn’t that her professionalism was being threatened, it was to find out if there was anything else that made her tick.
Either way, for me, the best two candidates are left standing, and while Mark can’t wait to win (haha), I wouldn’t write Bianca off either. Next week’s final, during which they must launch their businesses, will be absolutely gripping stuff.

The Apprentice Concludes Sunday from 9.00pm.
Contributed by Scheenagh Harrington


Dan said...

Cheesegrater, not Shard - you could see the Shard in the distance ...

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