Sandra says: The Proof is in the Pudding!

What can we learn from #TheApprentice so far?

Like an entrepreneurial X-Factor, The Apprentice has gained in popularity. The show bounces along on the comedic interplay of one-liners from the lovely yet sceptical Karren Brady, demanding Claude Littner, reigning king Lord Sugar and the increasingly colourful candidates who take part. Are there lessons which translate from the tasks into the world of recruitment?

Much like the Octopus office this week, last week’s episode was a combination of The Apprentice meets Great British Bake Off as the remaining candidates’ doughnut-making skills were put to the test. What can recruitment candidates learn from the challenges, mistakes and successes on The Apprentice?

1. Consistency matters – be reliable and punctual

Just like a tray of doughnuts, employers have a range of candidates to choose from, so how can you impress? When on a temporary assignment, your presentation, attitude and work ethic matters. To be ‘appetising’ to an employer, you need to show that you can be consistent – that you are offering the same high level of focus, skill and time-keeping every single day.

Whether you are offered permanent employment from a temporary position, or you build more valuable experience for your CV, you need to demonstrate your reliability and punctuality every single day.

2. Customer service and a positive attitude wins the day – be approachable and engaging

Last week, one of the candidates emerged as a front-runner when Claude Littner heaped rare praise upon them. Kayode put his professional speaking talents to good use by selling some frankly rather unappetising looking doughnuts in several languages.

“It’s not about the look, it’s about the taste,” Kayode explained enthusiastically to a customer, who was clearly won over by his eager excitement. Quickly building relationships with people, be they customers or employers, is vital in any line of business. Wouldn’t we all like praise from Claude?

3. Health and safety isn’t boring – be safe!

In a non-boardroom related injury, acting extra Kurran fractured his arm during an arm-wrestling match, leaving Lord Sugar to dish out all the puns he could manage – “You finally got into a cast, anyway. You got your big break – and from what I heard, you appeared in Casualty also!” Hilarious as Lord Sugar is, safety in the workplace remains a serious concerns for all employers and employees. According to the Health and Safety Executive, 144 workers were killed at work (2017/18) and there were 609,000 injuries which occurred at work, according to the Labour Force Survey. Although Health and Safety often suffers from a boring image, following advice, guidance and rules in the workplace is vital – don’t arm wrestle!

This evening, episode four of #TheApprentice, which airs at 9pm on BBC One, will see the 12 remaining candidates selling products at a bodybuilding expo. Lord Sugar will then decide which candidates didn’t pull their weight and at least one will be fired. Will you be tuning in? Let us know about your thoughts on the candidates and your real life lessons from the show.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company and no copyright infringement is intended.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.