Articles From the Team

Week 10: The Value of a Great Selection Process

After last week’s show opened with James in his undies to answer the dawn alarm call, it was with great trepidation that Liz entered into shot for this week’s call. Thankfully her dressing gown remained wrapped up and we saw no more than a tantalising glimpse of ankle – it was more than enough.

This week our intrepid band of would be Apprentices entered the wonderful world of fashion which, Shuggsy informed us, was worth £26 Billion. Was I the only one reminded of Dr Evil’s ransom demand in the Austin Powers film?

Full disclosure: I thought this week’s show was rather good in that in let good people shine and sorted out weaker contestants. Mistakes were made and James showed us that he could perform as Mark Owen in a Take That tribute act, but otherwise this was a solid show with little comedy. Shame.

Joanna, she of permanent scowl and foul demeanour, shone and Jade faded from view, like a star which had burned out. The reason this happened, in my opinion, is because this week’s challenge was actually a very good one which tested a variety of skills. I really don’t see what tasks based around scooping up dog excrement test achieve or test, but this week’s task was bang on.

They had to display the usual traits like teamwork and communication, but this week saw them have select stock (commercial acumen, appreciation of design); negotiate on fees (negotiation skills); create a magazine cover (creativity, design); pitch their designer (sales, influence); run a catwalk show (organisation); sell to trade (selling). It was a well thought out, demanding task and that’s important at this late stage in the game. This stretched the teams and Joanna, surprisingly, shone, whilst Jade fell away, making critical errors in selection of stock, negotiating fees and communicating the brand name. She didn’t stand a chance with those errors.

Elsewhere, Harrison, having previously run out of vocabulary, now ran out of energy. He just couldn’t be bothered really. Perhaps it was the prospect of Claude ruthlessly pointing out spelling and grammatical errors in his business plan, which saw him, commit Apprentice hari-kari this week, so off he went too. I look forward to seeing him again in next year’s Celebrity Big Brother house.

And so we are down to the last five: Smiler Jo, Big Liz, Super Sarah, Take James and Party and I’m From Bolton, Me Michaela. Much will depend on the business plans, but I can’t see Jo or Liz making it. If James’s plan is around recruitment, I wonder how much appetite Lord Sugar has for another recruitment business. Sarah is in confectionery, like Alana last year so we will see what Michaela has to offer.

This week’s recruitment link has already been made: a really good assessment process can have significant impact in sorting talent. The other recruitment lesson is one of my favourites. Jade’s biggest error was in dropping her fee as an agent from her opening 15% to 10%. That’s a drop of 5% right? Wrong. A drop from 15% to 10% is a drop of 33.3%. If Jade had been able to recognise and explain that to the designer, and then perhaps settle on a 5% reduction to 14.25% she might have stood a chance. So, recruiters, learn the maths here and sharpen your negotiation skills.

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