Articles From the Team
The Apprentice Week 3 – Siimon? Jeffrii? Make you’re (sic) mind up!
I watched this week’s episode on catch up, having spent Wednesday evening watching the Chelsea v Roma game. Strange game. Chelsea were being outplayed, but went two nil ahead. The better team was losing. And so reality TV decided imitate sport with this week’s Apprentice, where the Ladies were a shambles and yet they won by a margin of 11:1.
Oh, sorry, this report contains spoilers. Should have started with that, perhaps.
The Ladies – or Grafene to give them the name they chose in an intensive branding workshop – squabbled; talked over each other’s monosyllabic nonsense in a pitch; were effectively sent home by one prospective customer; lost out on the better toy; pitched the toy they had as having the remarkable feature of being something “you can pick up and then put back down again”, and had an e.bot which fell over. All that and they won.
They also had Siobhan. Siobhan, sitting in the corner of the car like some unmasked Darth Vader, only without the dark lord’s bonhomie and sense of humour. Goading Elizabeth so effectively that they had to be split up, Siobhan then set up riling everyone else. Even the previously composed Sarah had to shout at her, such is her way of lobbing in one liners like little grenades of bile. She’ll be straight in that boardroom once Grafene lose a task.
That, however, looks a way off. Michaela and the Lads did pretty well: she managed with humour and enthusiasm; they sold their toy well having won the right to pitch the better product after an enthusiastic pitch. I spent most of the show waiting for Michaela to take off her wig and 70’s glasses to reveal she was actually Undercover Boss, but I do like her energy and cheerfulness. Her grammar, however, leaves something to be desired.
The cracks appeared when Jeffrii became Siimon, on the grounds that Jeffrii “just doesn’t like right” (and “Siimon” does?!?!?) and what should have been a “your” became a “you’re” on their poster thingy. As Lord Sugar said, that could have been handled with a quick mia culpa before the pitch, but it threw the lads and it was all down hill from there.
I actually thought their prototype was better than Grafene’s (seriously, appalling karate aside, what did e.bot do that couldn’t be done better on a tablet?). Perhaps it was the thought of a million pensioners filing law suits against them because copying yoga moves from a toy robot led to slipped discs and blurred vision that put the retailers off Siimon. Or was it Jeffrii?
And Elliot got the chop. There have been a few lawyers on the show over the years and they seldom get very far. Not Lord Sugar’s type. Bit posh, bit wordy, bit cerebral. In the future world of work, two of those three characteristics are going to be replaced, of course, by robots and AI. So in a way Elliot was hoisted by his own prototype.
Which brings us to the recruitment bit. Of course recruitment has been – and will continue to be – effected by automation. I saw something this week which said the recruitment industry would be wiped out now that Microsoft had bought LinkedIn. I get this, I’ve read Martin Ford’s brilliant The Rise of the Robots, but I’d like to think there is a difference between sourcing and recruitment. Sourcing is the gathering of CVs and profiles – it will be almost entirely automated in the future; but I think recruitment still requires judgement and human intuition, it requires skill. Think of all those “We’ve found jobs for you” emails you get from LinkedIn – do they know London is 200 miles from where I live, do they know I am hideously underqualified for that one and the next one – well, you’ve just taken my job title, but that isn’t what I do at all. As of yet (and I know it is probably a case of “as of yet”) the algorithm lacks the ability to drill down, assess and judge like a human – so we’re OK for the time being. Similarly, it would be a mistake to confuse sourcing and managing the recruitment process. Yes, screening is becoming automated and gamified, but the actual guiding and management of the process, with all of its nuances and shades of grey, remains an intensely human, personal experience. Long may that last.
By the time we’re done for, The Apprentice will have a robot cracking bad jokes and choosing which other robot wins 250,000 Bitcoins, whilst Siobhan sits there in the corner, reminding others how successful her business is and picking fights with holograms.
For more information contact Rob Barklamb at BCL Legal.