Lord Sugar has set out once again to find his next business partner and there is no reason why that couldn’t be you! The winning candidate will receive an investment of up to £250,000, and will go into a 50:50 partnership with Lord Sugar.
Unfortunately, applications are now closed, but we can get ready for next year! You’ve just read about last year’s candidates and their presentations.
They give themselves such high, positive praise, they seem to be a bit big-headed. If this is all about selling oneself, about highlighting their demonstrated skills in…, their extensive academic/practical background in…, their knowledge of/experienced as/proficient in…, their having a proven track record in… or even about how committed, confident, sought-after, thorough or enthusiastic they are, their auditions proved they were all perfect candidates.
What’s your profile? How would you sell yourself?
What are the producers looking for in prospective Apprentice failures? Here are my three top tips…
1. Get yourself a catchphrase
“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon,” warned Melody Hossaini last year in one of the best-loved examples of the candidate catchphrase.
If you can’t come up with anything meaningful, take a leaf out of current candidate Ricky Martin’s book and at least come up with something that rhymes. “I truly am the reflection of perfection,” says Ricky the wrestler. And if Ricky’s the reflection, then Stuart Baggs: The Brand is perfection itself, combining both rhyme and meaning in one elegant quote: “Everything I touch turns to sold.”
2. Compare yourself to an animal
Much like Native Americans, Apprentice candidates put a lot of store in animal totems. Dogs are popular, with numerous female rottweilers – notably Claire Young from series four – and one or two dobermans having featured.
There’s always been a strong equine element too, although you should never tell an Apprentice candidate they’re a one-trick pony…
Jim Eastwood from series seven isn’t one – “I’m not a show pony or a one-trick pony, I’m not a jackass or a stubborn mule, and I’m definitely not a wild stallion that needs to be tamed. I am the champion thoroughbred that this process requires” – and Stuart Baggs (again) certainly isn’t one “I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a ten-trick pony, I have a whole field of ponies – and they’re literally all running towards this job.” Literally, Stuart? Literally…?
Wild things from the current series include Gabrielle, who explains “When it comes to business I can be like an animal and I will roar my way to the top,” and a confused Azhar, who claims to be “the killer whale of the sea world,” even though we all know that the killer whale of the sea world is, in fact, the killer whale.
3. Big yourself up
Do as the candidates do on the show and big yourself up. Start with your greatest achievement and then talk about how you got there. You need to be confident but do not take it too far.
By her reckoning, Jennifer Maguire from series four was “the best saleswoman in Europe at the moment”, while series one candidate Rachel Groves said “I have incredible presence and am one of those people who fills a room even when alone” (she was being hard on herself there, she really wasn’t that big).
Of course, it’s all very well having personality and being good at business, but Lord Sugar is looking for someone with sex appeal too, right? Series three’s Simon Ambrose described himself as “sexy, competitive, proud and ambitious” (and he did, after all, win) while current candidate Tom Gearing notes “I’m confident, charismatic and some people say I’m quite good looking, so that adds to the bill.”
But those two are just wimps compared with Sandringham-trained Katie Hopkins from series three, who boasted she could “out press-up” most men – which I think is how the final should be decided.