TV’s The Apprentice demonstrates outdated interview processes

Businesses should not be inspired to copy The Apprentice style process of interviewing candidates.

Lord Sugar’s assessment processes in The Apprentice are outdated and failing to both identify the right person for the position and provide an adequate candidate experience, according to global talent acquisition and management firm, Alexander Mann Solutions.

In an analysis of the practices carried out in the popular BBC show, the firm has claimed that the tasks are proving to be detrimental to assessing the core competency skills of each individual as they focus heavily on one attribute: sales ability.

These assessments have been used repeatedly since the series began over ten years ago. Since then, the format of the show and the final prize has changed drastically, yet the tasks remain relatively similar. As a result, candidates without an aptitude for sales are exiting the process at an early stage, regardless of the business plan they have to offer.

Simon Lythgoe, head of consulting at Alexander Mann Solutions, explains how sticking to the same, outdated task is producing a less than favourable result.

‘Historically, companies have invested a significant amount of time and money into implementing robust assessment processes, but fail to update these once the initial work has been carried out.

‘However, corporate cultures, skills requirements and talent expectations change regularly and assessments need to reflect this. By sticking with the same old processes, employers are likely to be alienating perfectly suitable candidates and even damaging their employer brand due to the lack of individuality that a candidate experiences.’

‘The Apprentice started back in 2005 and the whole format of the show has changed since then. As a result, Lord Sugar is arguably looking for a completely different candidate. Yet the tasks remain the same. What we’re seeing as a result is many of the individuals being eliminated because they can’t sell products on a stall, for example, when their business plan may have nothing to do with such techniques.

‘This is simply inefficient and wastes the time of the hirer and candidate alike. While it does arguably make for good TV, the fact that viewing figures have consistently dropped suggests it’s time for Lord Sugar to rethink his assessment processes.’

Further reading on hiring staff

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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The Apprentice