The Apprentice…People buy from people

Love it or Loathe it the Apprentice is a great social experiment and insight into various business sectors. The apprentice has been running for 13 years and while the prize has changed from a job with Lord Sugar to an investment in their company the concept of the tasks is still the same.

My favourite task is the interviews, maybe it is because I work in recruitment and Interview on a weekly basis I like to see the tactics and how the c andidates fare.

Each of the c andidates faces at least 4 interviews where their character, application form, cv and business plan are scrutinised and destroyed. Nothing is left unturned. Although the interviewers are there to grill the c andidates we only see the best bits for TV. This normally includes the lies, tantrums and tears.

Although an interview usually is a two-way process with the c andidate and company wanting to portray their best sides, we have lessons to be learned from the no stone left unturned style of apprentice interviewers.

How often do we take CVs or application forms as gospel?

Yes, we get references to back up the current jobs, but do we ever call their clients or speak to their colleagues or people they managed to really find out who we are employing. Do we let c andidates take references on our company do we really sell our company, ethos and culture?

There is a fine line between finding out who the person you are interviewing really is and scaring them into not ever wanting to work with or for you.

James White who has become a historical joint winner, wants Lord Sugar to invest in an IT recruitment company. Working in recruitment it is always good to see how recruitment is portrayed in the media especially on a reality competition style stage. I am not commenting on James specifically, but his business plan is a specialist cyber security IT recruitment company. He has previous experience working for a big IT recruiter and he has set up on his own. Much like my business I worked for several large recruiters and then set up on my own.

James was always questioned on how he was going to get back in front of his previous corporate clients and how he would achieve the same success without the corporate name backing. James fought this perception on many occasions including the interviews and the final pitch. His passionate plea, that it was his talent and his drive would open doors regardless of the barriers put in front of him.

The old saying rings true here people buy from people, and I think that is all we can do when we set out on our own. I am not engaging with any old clients in fact the opposite recruiting for SMEs… brave or stupid only time will tell. Even in these early stages it is obvious to me that people are buying from me and my ability to do the job and not the name, which all recruiters need to consider when hiring.

Last night history was made when Lord Sugar hired both c andidates. Congratulations to James and Sarah on their investment from Lord Sugar.

Ps I am just off to re write my budget for next year 3 million here I come!!

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