It’s back! Arguably one of, if not the most successful television show of the last decade. Since its formation ‘The Apprentice’ continues to be the topic of conversation at 8 am in the workplace the following morning.
Having recently recruited an ‘apprentice’ for Thompson & Terry I am all too aware of the pros and cons that can be aligned to taking on a new starter. As a business owner it’s imperative that you hit a home run with the decisions you make, particularly in the formative stages.
It too is also pivotal that your newest recruit plays an integral part in your early triumphs. When considering the volume of new recruits who fall into the trap of becoming just another passenger holding the business back from future pastures, it is vital that you instil your company values early. You also want that next big recruit to offer entrepreneurial spirit in a bid to take the business to the next level.
Ultimately candidates have to be the complete package, a no brainer in the eyes of any business decision maker. I accept however that the BBC are leaders in television and marketing therefore I readily assume that participants are portrayed as the Beeb would like us to believe so it is not an entirely accurate account at least in the eyes of the viewing public.
Entrepreneurs? Many of the candidates clearly fail to deliver on their outlandish claims. I fervently believe that we deserve more from the candidates than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from failed attempts at making fish cakes and a botched advert in which a cactus-based shampoo failed to impress. The BBC do expect us to gratefully participate in what amounts to little more than a business hokey cokey where each week we get to see Lord Sugar annihilate and condemn those being fired from a job they ironically aren’t employed in to begin with once a week.
It is easy to see why the process works though. When the Project Managers are invited to bring two team members back into the boardroom it’s organised chaos. The candidates riot when dialogue fails, when they feel unrepresented; inevitably it creates this toxic environment the audience craves. When candidates consider themselves to be under the cosh as a competitor, it’s near impossible to enforce management. In effect those who can best manage the poisonous environment ultimately succeed.
There are parallels to recruiting a candidate in a physical business. Any new recruit can ultimately change the dynamic of a team; within the prescribed framework it’s not always a smooth process. Should you recruit a senior professional in a position they are overqualified for it distances those in a team from one another.
It’s hard. In practise I imagine contestants vying for £250k and the opportunity to partner with Lord Sugar is one of egotism and very little pragmatism. Apprentice candidates from a variety of backgrounds thrown together à la skaters Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy in the film Blades Of Glory, unable to countenance ideas outside each of their narrowly prescribed trench of contemporary worlds from within their own industries. Hair salon to marketing agency to Account Management; how can you identify which business person or business offers greater value?
Nonetheless it is important to realise that management is key to any recruit. Provide ample motivation, challenge and attainable goals whilst combining attitude, raw skill and desire, you have the perfect environment for an apprentice to thrive.