Last week, The Apprentice 2013 reached interview stage, which was actually filmed in our office lobby in one of London’s iconic buildings: New Broad Street House. Extremely tough questions were asked by experts in the field, which often makes for everyone’s favourite episode of the series, but might be enough to put anyone off an interview. In fact, candidate Luisa said that she would rather give birth again than repeat the interview experience!
So, what can be learnt from this for your next interview, and how can you avoid making similar mistakes to those candidates who were fired?
1. Don’t be intimidated. Whilst I hope your interview experience will not be as daunting as in The Apprentice, you need to be prepared for difficult questions. Often, interviewers may be putting on an act, perhaps playing ‘bad cop’ in order to see how you respond under pressure. In this situation, you need to have self-belief, and be confident that you’re right for the job, without buckling under the pressure of a tough interviewer.
2. Be prepared. In order to have this self-belief, it’s important that you have researched the company and have a few questions to ask to show your interest. You also need to know your CV inside out and be able to expand on previous experiences.
3. Be honest. Expanding on your CV is much easier if you’ve been truthful on it in the first place! We saw candidates come unstuck on The Apprentice for lying in their business plans, and if you too ‘exaggerate’ in your application, there’s a good chance you’ll get found out and will not get the role.
4. Don’t criticise former employees. Luisa, for instance, referred to her previous boss as a ‘total idiot’, which is extremely unprofessional. If you also do this, it only presents you in a negative light, regardless of whether it’s true or not. The interviewer only has your word to go on this.
5. Highlight your personality. An interview is your chance to show a prospective employer that you would fit in with their team and be an asset. As such, if you come across as being too over-confident, this may put you at a disadvantage. It’s important that you’re able to sell yourself, whilst at the same time not appear too pushy or aggressive.
At the end of the day, The Apprentice is designed for entertainment value, and viewers like to watch candidates be interrogated and have their business plans ripped to shreds! But, in order for you to further your career, it’s important that you’re able to learn from their mistakes to survive the interview stage and ultimately get hired.
You can see the contestants in our office lobby here.