DEBATE: Can job seekers learn anything from The Apprentice?

Apple Host Meet The Author: Lord Sugar
Lord Sugar’s advice for business? “Expect the unexpected” (Source: Getty)

Can job seekers learn anything from The Apprentice?


Martin Talbot, director at totaljobs, says YES.

On Wednesday, Lord Alan Sugar was back on TV, and he swiftly got down to business. This year’s candidates quickly proved that there’s still plenty to learn from the series – even if that’s what not to do during a job interview.

The biggest learning curve from episode one is that no matter what job you’re applying for, nailing the basics is key. Regardless of the challenge thrown your way, ensure that you’re well-prepared and ready to demonstrate balanced leadership skills early on.

For example, in Malta, the boys’ team saved time by calling ahead to identify their obscure items (with the exception of the memorable octopus faux pas).

It is useful to know your strengths, but also make sure you can back up your claims, especially if you’re labelling yourself as “the Beyonce of business”.


And remember that leadership is more than delegating, as the candidates will learn – it requires clear communication.

The skills required to conquer any challenge remain simple, and Lord Sugar’s words ring true for many job seekers: “expect the unexpected” and you’ll be prepared for any scenario.

Read more: The biggest lesson to learn from The Apprentice? Don't be a jerk.

Michael Serwa, personal coach to the UK’s business elite, says NO.

What do job seekers need to get a job? Skills in team work, the ability to work collaboratively, personal and collective motivation, and real life experience.

While The Apprentice pretends to demonstrate all this, actually it does the opposite. The show is absurd, even aside from the fact that no serious recruitment process would jet candidates off to a different country to source obscure items without the web.

Business is built on relationships and industry knowledge, not throwing colleagues under the bus. So why is it so encouraged? And how do you want your board meetings to go? With the same screaming and bitching as with Lord Sugar? Do we really want people to rush thoughtlessly through tasks like these monkeys do?

As a business owner and a coach for chief executives all over the world, I know that these are definitely not the kind of people we want to hire.

Job seekers, be wary of watching reality TV for new job research. That is, unless you want to be a reality TV star.

Read more: What to do when a robot takes your job?

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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