Career Management

When contestants enter The Apprentice, they should be prepared to face a grilling of a lifetime from Lord Sugar. It’s all part and parcel of entering the show after all. Known for his brutally honest approach, he doesn’t exactly hold back from speaking his thoughts, no matter how harsh and if you fail to live up to his expectations he’ll fire you quicker than

So knowing full well that they’re not going to be given an easy ride, entering the board room after a task can feel much like they’re entering a court room ready for sentencing.

Obviously the only certain way to avoid getting fired by Alan Sugar is to not enter the Apprentice, but where’s the fun in that?! If you ever find yourself as a contestant on the show, or in a similar kind of candidate showdown, here’s how not get fired!

1) Keep your ego at bay

It’s a bit of an ongoing trend among Apprentice contestants, that there will be some pretty huge egos among the group! In fact, I think it’s part of the criteria that producers look for when recruiting people for the show. Although a level of confidence and trust in your own abilities is essential to succeed in such a dog-eat-dog competition, arrogance is not regarded favourably by Lord Sugar, so reel it in!

2) Listen to your team leader

The role of the team leader is to assign each member of the group a role according to their strengths and to coordinate the task so that everything runs smoothly. If someone goes against the team leader or fails to adhere to their assigned role in the group, things are going to go pear shape! As the series goes on, tensions build among contestants and rifts are bound to occur, but for your sake as much of the team be cooperative, or you’ll be taking a trip to the board room!

3) Speak up

If you spot a flaw in the plan for a group task, or have an idea for how it could be improved speak up early so that there is opportunity to take your thoughts on board. Sitting back and waiting for things to fall apart before bringing up is just plain pointless and makes you a bit of an ‘idiot’ as Lord Sugar would say.

Sure, there’s the chance that you’ll get shot down (a pretty high chance actually, seeing as this is the Apprentice we’re talking about), but at least you’ll have the ground to stand on that you made the suggestion.

4) Don’t argue in the board room

No one wants to get fired, so there’s not surprise that people get on the defensive when they’re called back into the board room to face their fate. So if another contestant or member of the panel make a comment that rattles your cage, try to keep your cool. Fly off the handle in front of Lord Sugar and he’s probably going to send you packing.

5) Use some common sense

Lord Sugar has no time for silly mistakes and a lack of common sense. If he thinks that the team’s failure is down to an individual behaving in a foolish or daft manner, he’ll make no hesitation to get rid of them.

6) Be creative

A lot of the tasks given to the contestants require them to think outside the box a bit and come up with a product/event that will really stand out in the market and sell. There is no room for boring ideas that have been done time and time again.

7) Sell your product for a profit

This might sound a bit like it’s stating the obvious, seeing as it is the sole purpose of the tasks, but you’d be surprised how often contestants fail to do this. If you have zero sales ability, then the Apprentice probably isn’t the show for you.

8) Have a good professional manner about you

The aim of the Apprentice is for Lord Sugar to find himself a business partner, so if he doesn’t feel that you are capable of presenting yourself in a professional manner, then he’s going to have some pretty big concerns about going into business with you. This encompasses everything from the way you speak and interact with others in professional situations, to the way you dress.

9) Don’t take a back seat

If you’re not pulling your weight in the team you’ll just come across as lazy or downright useless. It’s important throw yourself in there, so that you can demonstrate your strengths and prove to Lord Sugar that you are worth keeping.

10) Don’t annoy Sugar!

You’re fired!


About Sophie Deering

You can follow Sophie at @SophieDeering.

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