Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

The Apprentice, Series 3, Episode 11

June 7, 2007

Back off 

Tonight we learned that the humble CV can act as a window to a lorry-load of bullshit. In the penultimate episode of this series, we joined three of Alan Sugar’s most trusted business advisers. They were so important that I’ve forgotten their names. One was a sleazy slimeball with unkempt hair and a clear inferiority complex about his lack of a degree, one looked just like a permanently unimpressed Mark Heap and the other, a troubleshooter, was bald, firm and fair. The unenviable task of trawling through the resumes of the remaining five contestants fell to this funny-lookin’ crew.

During the recap we were reminded just how badly Tre had performed in the last task. In fact, it served to remind us that it’s a miracle Tre had got this far. How did he manage it? It certainly wasn’t charm, and his sense of humour isn’t the most apparent attribute he carries. The only answer can be ‘good TV’. He swore a lot and was sexist and we found it all terribly amusing. Quite sad when you think about it.
But there he was, in the last five with Katie, Simon, Lohit and Kristina.

Before the interviews took place, in the ‘half an hour’ in which they were getting ready (no idea why they pursue this idea of them hurrying to get ready when they’ve clearly got all morning to do so), we saw them discussing the research they’d done. Simon, an Amstrad owner since he was five, ruminated on the finer points of the games he had on one of Sugar’s systems (Jet Set Willy is, indeed, a classic) whilst Tre wandered around the house, stony-faced because he had done bugger all in the way of investigation. Digging around in Simon’s knowledge and getting nothing from him, Tre demonstrated that he really wasn’t going to get anywhere this time. ‘Wanker’, he called Simon, realising the game was up. ‘No, you’re the wanker’, replied Simon, wittily.

Simon, yet again, became a walking CV. ‘I like to think of myself as a freethinker’ he claimed. ‘If I’m meant to turn left, I’ll instinctively want to turn right’ he later claimed, making him sound like Princess Diana’s driver. His schoolboy charm was a winner though, and he knew it, talking nervously from under his brow. I noticed matching shirt and socks. Bizarrely, in any office this does mark a man as someone with coordination, which is odd, as aside from shirt and tie, it’s the only decision on colour a man in pinstripe would have to make. It’s not difficult.

On an unrelated note, I was shocked when I noticed Lohit’s full name for the first time. Lohit Kalburgi, it sounds like a Japanese car crossed with a dutch cheese.

In the interviews, it all came frothing to the top. All the crap that had been spoken was suddenly exposed, dredged and ultimately flushed away. What we learned was this. Tre is a bullshitter, Simon is a crap landlord and little else, Katie is a psychopath, Lohit is a little bit timid and Kristina is really, really bloody good. She really must win.

Tre was dissected, literally torn apart by the unkempt interviewer who wanted, not unfairly, to boil down the facts on Tre’s experience. In his own words, Tre was apparently an international business consultant with five job titles applicable to different roles. Under pressure, it was revealed that Tre worked in his father’s business, which somewhat undermined absolutely everything he’d ever bloody said all series. I’m sure, if my retired Dad were to set up a business selling lemonade from the front of his house he’d be happy to take me on board as a lemonade taster, and would be able to give me some vague and impressive-sounding job title like ‘FMCG Analyst’. Tre stuttered and ummed and aahed and could come back with nothing when asked if the five worldwide businesses he operated from were actually bedrooms. The interview became a post mortem, and Tre’s days were numbered. When asked, as a self-styled ‘computer-expert’ why he hadn’t done any research, even googled Sugar’s business, he blankly stared ahead and muttered weird little nothings.

Lohit, who appeared very little (both in terms of stature and screentime), was effectively told by the same interviewer that he was a nice guy, but not what was needed. Better to be honest, rather than waste someone’s time with a needless grilling I suppose. He didn’t manage to claim any points back with the other interviewers, and it all fell apart. Still, when he was eventually fired, he was given a nice send off. ‘You’re a good, fine fellow’, Sugar said, as he departed.

Katie scared the shit out of me. With the cold, hard stare of a genocidal maniac, she claimed that, out of ten, her CV displayed an eight on the ‘ruthlessness scale’. Considering she’d written (on her fucking CV) that she’d stolen a married man from his wife because she ‘wanted him’, I’d say she warrants a ten. What sort of mental freak would put that in a CV? And why, when it came to the boardroom, did they all say she had something special? Thankfully the Mark Heap lookalike chipped in with some negative comments but she was defended to the hilt by the sleazy sod, who clearly fancied her. Her interview with him was like the split beaver scene in Basic Instinct. He even looked a little bit like Newman out of Seinfeld.

Simon, having taken the mantle of comic contestant from Tre some time ago, teetered on the brink of triumph and disaster constantly, providing the show’s real entertainment. Without entering the room, his CV had already insulted the bald interviewer on age discrimination grounds. ‘I’ve achieved more than people double my age’ it asserted. ‘I’m more than double your age, and I’ve done more than you’, he countered, to silence and a little chuckle from the boy Ambrose. It came to light that Simon’s only real enterprise was as the landlord of a house. It was a piece of genius to bring out the testimonial of one of his tenants, who complained of television ariels being replaced by coat hangers and horrible blocked bogs. Again, Simon chuckled his endearing chuckle and took the flak, to his credit. Better to admit your failing than do a Tre and get bolshy (as such). On the positive side, he knew everything there was to know about Amstrad, thus fulfilling a very important criteria. If you know nothing about the company you’re looking to work for, it’s very unlikely you’ll fit in. Simon could identify areas where he’d excel, so he’s readymade for working there. Smart thinking.

But not as smart as Kristina. We’ve all known, since those sausages started sizzling in the week they went to France, that Kristina would be in the final. And she sailed through the interviews as though she were applying for a job in Tescos. No question rattled her, and the interviewers struggled to find fault.

The boardroom went weird. Tre and Lohit were easily disposed of. But then, against the wishes of every viewer and the basics of common sense, Katie was pronounced to be ‘in’. Despite the fact she was a body language car crash with the face of the Joker, she had wormed her way in, probably using some abrasive hypnosis. Which meant it was between Simon and Kristina. One had to go. Shocking, you would think, but then a twist. Sugar questioned Katie’s suitability for the role in terms of outside commitments. And she backed down. Whether it was Sugar’s lack of faith in her or her own priorities, she backed down and the final two were then decided. Very strange. I’m not sure what I make of the whole palaver, but I thoroughly bloody enjoyed it.

It’s between Kristina and Simon, and unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong for Kristina (ie, she chooses Katie and Tre to work with her), she should run away with it.