So, we're steaming towards the finish line of this year's series of the Apprentice and as usual we have been served up a delectable palate of thoroughly humourless individuals with an unbearable sense of self-importance and an unfathomable pretension to Sir Alan's loot.
We've seen the prospective candidates tackle all manner of business related quandaries that have been designed to test the levels of a candidate's business acumen and resilience. For me, I think there is further you can go, this is after all, reality TV - I would like to see a more rigorous programme of business agility testing and generalised mind bending, a 'Navy Seal Style Assault Course For The Entrepreneurially Gifted' if you will.
I know it's a TV programme and the contestants have been picked for their screen appeal as much as their business sense, but with some of them, I really do wonder how they've managed to tie their own shoe laces; or in the case of Jane McAvoy, not been eaten alive by the guilt of selling her own grandmother to the devil in exchange for a nice company car.
Take Azhar Siddique, for example. A very stern looking character whom I suspect has a touch of the narcissus about him. A fellow who takes himself far too seriously for a man with very limited ability, but he managed to blunder his way through to episode 7 before his empty rhetoric (strategy!) was tested and Lord Sugar saw through him.
In my line of work it's imperative to be able to weed through all the garbage and really get to know your candidates. I'm all for spinning a yarn, but that yarn needs to be factual, well informed and as sharp as razor wire. In today's market, it's an employer's emporium. There are a wealth of excellent candidates out there, but having the necessary attributes to succeed, rather than ruffling those feathers like a peacock on the lookout for its mate, is often something that our candidates fail to capitalise on.
Jade: "What I want is to retire when I'm 45, but I'm such a workaholic I'll probably carry on until I'm 80" Nash is a prime example of the kind of candidate who demonstrates a keen skill in spouting the proverbial. She's adept at getting through the boardroom mud slinging and has yet, managed to escape relatively unscathed, but I suspect there is not much more to Jade. Her blurb demonstrates a distinct lack of creativity and originality, and reading between the lines I think she's been spending her nights in a dark corner pondering the depths she's got herself into.
She's not the only one who has appeared out of her depth. This year's female candidates have thoroughly let the side down. Whatever happened to 'sister's are doing it for themselves?' So far, the fairer sex has been thoroughly misrepresented by a very wishy-washy and lacklustre performance all round. The best we had encountered to date was the most northern woman in the land, who possessed an amplified foghorn where her vocal chords should live that aided her in drawing out her vowels to an annoying crescendo.
I may be biased as a fellow recruiter, but for me, Ricky Martin is proving to be the most promising candidate. He started off a bit shaky: I'll hold my hands up, I took an instant dislike to the wrestling recruitment manager from Hampshire who is (in his own words) a "Reflection of perfection”. But on closer inspection, he's a very well rounded and capable candidate. He's demonstrated excellent communication skills in his sales approach, and his problem solving is second to none. He's articulate and quite funny for a body builder, which is rare (in my experience, they are normally wound up very tightly and can be observed lurking near the office fridge whilst clutching a chicken leg.) Ricky does ruffle his feathers, but he possesses quality skills to beef up the bravado and this is why I like him. His approach is more subtle than Frank Sidebottom look-a-like Stephen Brady, who shouts loudly and patronises fellow contestants in a bid to knock them off stride. Ricky on the other hand has adopted a strategy akin to the old saying about giving someone enough rope, which funnily enough hung Stephen out to dry.
On the whole, this years offering has been a little disappointing for me, especially given that I am fairly new to recruitment and feel that there are massive indicators of certain candidates being little more than huff and puff; which confirms what we all suspected all along but what I can see is a couple of diamonds in the rough: a couple of assets worth maturing. As in any environment, getting their message out there is the key to their success and so far, they may be taking different routes, but they are shining.
Leave your comments below and let Sellick Partnership know what your feelings are towards the future kings/queen of commerce!