With just two more episodes of The Apprentice to go, this year has proved to be yet another exciting series. It’s been an entertaining 10 weeks for everyone sitting watching at home, but let’s not forget this is actually a recruitment process. Next week will be the “interview” stage where the remaining five candidates will face the toughest round of the process. And speaking from experience, I know exactly how that feels. The interviews are real. The focus will be on CVs, application forms and business plans so in actual fact, it is no different to how candidates are hired in the real world. For the candidates this will be an important and crucial stage of the selection process.
I am especially looking forward to the interview stage this year. Why? I hear you asking. Well I am pleased to announce that I have been invited back by Lord Sugar to be part of the interview panel. Yes, that’s right I, alongside Claude Littner, Claudine Collins and Mike Soutar will be interviewing the five remaining candidates.
Why me? Apart from being a qualified recruitment professional who interviews people on a day to day basis, I’ve been involved in the hiring process across many of Lord Sugar’s companies, as well as for my own company, HRS. Moreover, having been a candidate on The Apprentice myself, I know exactly what it feels like to be grilled by the interviewers! And believe me, it’s tough. With this blend of experience I bring valuable expertise and a new dimension to this stage of the selection process and it is for these reasons I was asked to be on the panel as an interviewer by Lord Sugar.
The process began with a shortlist of 20 candidates however, only one will be announced at the winner of The Apprentice. That winner will received that all important £250,000 investment for a 50:50 business partnership with Lord Alan Sugar. For me it feels like it was yesterday. It’s still hard to believe that it’s been two years since I won The Apprentice. I have since set up my own specialist Science and Technology Recruitment Consultancy, Hyper Recruitment Solutions, which is continuing to go from strength to strength. As part of our services at HRS, we personally support jobseekers with preparing for an interview and making the right impression. We also offer services to our clients in running assessment days and interviewing on their behalf to make the right selections for the behavioural and skills fit to their business. Something which I am proud to bring to The Apprentice this year.
The real life lesson here is that you never really know what the future will hold. You never know who you will end up working for or alongside. If someone had told me two years ago, that I’d be sitting on the opposite side of the table as one of the interviewers on The Apprentice I wouldn’t have believed them in a million years! How ironic, the people who once grilled me during the interviews are now my peers and next week I will share the panel with them!
So, reflecting on my experience my advice is, whoever you are meeting, speaking with or even being interviewed by, make sure you leave a long lasting and positive impression on them. Who knows one day the shoe may be on the other foot. Perhaps they will become your peers. I see it happening time and time again in the recruitment world. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure you get it right, as who knows what will happen in the future?
After the interviews in next week’s episode, there will only be two candidates left in the process. I wonder who we will see battling it out in the final! I wish all the finalists the best of luck for the final stages of the process as things become more real than ever at this stage. I look forward to seeing the winner join Lord Sugar in another new business venture and helping them on their way.
The interview stage of The Apprentice airs on Wednesday 17th December at 9pm on BBC One.