The Apprentice: The Interviews

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The Apprentice: The Interviews

One of Lord Sugar's former boardroom victims delivers her verdict on episode eleven of the latest series of The Apprentice

The dreaded interviews… the penultimate episode of The Apprentice and a fan favourite. That was until the producers decided that viewers would rather see the candidates torn apart in what I can only describe as bullying – as opposed to any form of constructive criticism.

The final five candidates – all women – Dani, Victoria, Marnie, Megan, and Rochelle, were put through their paces by Lord Sugar’s most trusted advisers which included Karren Brady, Linda Plant, Mike Souter, and Claude Littner. Not only were the interviews difficult to watch this year, but I’m lost for any words to describe it other than bullying. The sheer amount of inappropriate, rude and unnecessary comments from the advisers made my skin crawl. Hardly any constructive criticism about their business plans, just negative and rude comments, mostly about their character versus their business acumen.

One particularly unnecessary comment occurred as Megan left her interview. She thanked and referred to Karren by her first name, as she had done throughout the entire process for the past ten weeks, but all of a sudden, that wasn’t okay. Karren responded: “It’s Baroness Brady to you. My friends call me Karren.” The word cringe comes to mind. Karren also reduced both Dani and Victoria to tears, while attacking their character. I’m sure the producers loved the fact that she made them cry and thought they had TV gold when it happened. Simply disgusting.

Linda Plant was no better than Karren when it came to humiliating the candidates during their interviews, in particular Dani and Victoria.  Linda asked Dani if she really thought mermaids were a USP, as her company is called Mermane. I don’t think Mrs Plant would have asked the same of Starbucks, which uses a mermaid in its logo to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots.

Linda also very rudely told Victoria that there is currently a need for flight attendants, implying that she should consider giving up her entrepreneurial venture and go back to what she did before because that’s all she’s good enough for.  This was mean-spirited, damaging and totally unnecessary.

The edit is also always going to show off the interviewer rather than the interviewee, so even if the candidate has a great come-back to the questions they are being asked, they most likely wouldn’t show it. We’re only seeing what the production and Lord Sugar want us to see. The show uses the interviews episode as an opportunity to make the bottom three candidates look like fools – they ridiculed the three candidates who didn’t make the final cut way more harshly, so that upon reflecting, the remaining two finalists come off looking better suited in comparison.

Interestingly, all three of the fired candidates – Dani, Victoria, and Megan – said in their You’re Fired interviews that they have decided to pursue something else and not the business that they went on the show with, which shows you that many people who go on the show don’t really have legitimate businesses with ‘legs’. Victoria even claimed to have sold her business… her business that hardly really even existed!

Young people watching the show who have never been to an interview might actually think this is how actual job interviews are conducted, which would, of course, be anxiety provoking. This is not okay, especially for the BBC to condone this sort of behaviour. How and why they think this is an acceptable form of television is beyond me. The show supposedly takes the welfare of its candidates very seriously, but I’m yet to see it. All they do is hide behind this statement and the ‘therapist’ that is available to you, should you feel the need to talk to someone.


I spoke to the ‘therapist’ during my series who gave me no actual legitimate support when I needed it after being fired. I remember asking for a meeting with her as I was experiencing anxiety after I left the show as I couldn’t make sense of my firing. When I told her that I felt my firing was unfair and and just didn’t make sense, she told me that Lord Sugar is ‘mercurial’ and that The Apprentice is just a TV show. As if that comforting knowledge is going to help someone struggling to come to terms with what *actually* goes on within the process.

When I subsequently went to see a real therapist that I paid for myself after I received this pathetic advice and ‘support’, the therapist told me that the ‘support’ I received was not legitimate and not therapy.

Exploitatation, manipulation and bullying are what this episode was all about. And judging by the number of comments and articles online, I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way.

With just Rochelle and Marnie left, we head toward the final, where they will be supported by the help of the fired candidates for one final task – and I for one hope it’s the final task that The Apprentice ever airs. My money is on Marnie, as Lord Sugar has previously said he prefers ‘acorns’ and not ‘oak trees’. Marnie is a baby in business as she hasn’t had much experience. She is malleable and slightly sycophantic – two qualities that Lord Sugar seems to love!

Good luck ladies – I pray they’re kinder to you in the final episode.



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