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As Lord Sugar’s search for a business partner continues...

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...in the 10th series of The Apprentice, what can recruiters learn from the process?

Not only is it the most supercharged and entertaining of all recruitment processes – it is unmissable television that recruiters love. 

But while The Apprentice is a lot more radical than the real-life recruitment process, there are some lessons recruiters could take from the show to ensure they put the right candidates forward for the right roles.

PM the recruitment process

The most successful tasks on The Apprentice are led by a project manager (PM) who listens to the brief and delegates tasks to team members with the most relevant skills and experience.

While larger than life, the process in many way mirrors the challenge recruiters face in getting under the skin of the brief and supplying candidates that match it. Developing this level of understanding will involve conversations not just about the role and desired experience, but about culture, outlook and personality.

If recruiters think of themselves as a PM and get as much information as possible about the brief and the candidate, it will lead to a quick, successful placement and improved client trust when you put candidates forward in future.

Be wise to white lies

Back in 2008, The Apprentice winner – and recruiter – Lee McQueen brought the subject of ‘creatively enhanced’ CVs to the attention of the media when it was discovered he’d told a white lie about the length of time he spent at Thames University.

When you receive a CV, don’t hesitate to do a bit of digging. Many clients will go straight onto social media sites to check out the candidates you are putting forward to them. So don’t get caught out. Check this out yourself first. Facebook and LinkedIn can reveal some real home truths if you ever need to learn more about a candidate or contractor.

Help display their CV

Just as Lord Sugar is sure to read out the most outrageous claims from the CVs of candidates proclaiming themselves to be a ‘Lothario of business’, your clients will also be on the lookout for CV clangers with candidates you put forward.

As the individual tasked with finding the right person for the role, you know what experience you are looking for when you see it on a CV – but that doesn’t always mean it’s written or presented compellingly. Always feel free to advise candidates on how to present their credentials with more impact. After all, nobody has seen more CVs than you – and you know how to make them resonate further with prospective employers.

Narrowing down the odds

The first screening stages for The Apprentice see around 40,000 potential candidates each given 30 seconds to impress. Granted, this would never be witnessed in any normal recruitment process, but it can definitely be used in real life to an advantage.

Recruiters should always give themselves as many candidates to choose between as possible to increase their chances of making a successful placement. Once they have a pool of strong individuals to choose from they should go beyond simply reading CVs and asking the typical interview questions, they should ask questions that put candidates on the spot, demonstrate their quick thinking and reveal more of their personality.

Call them back when they’re not expecting it, ask them to send something over and see how quickly they do it. The more efficient they are, the more likely they are to be suitable for the job.

The right candidates with the right skills

Seldom on The Apprentice do we ever see the perfect candidate project manage the perfect task with perfect execution.

And indeed finding the best talent is becoming ever more of a challenge for recruiters as the economy recovers and employment levels continue to rise.

This means that recruiters are having to work harder to attract talent by building strong personal relationships as well as considering graduates, those with transferrable skills and those for example that have had breaks in their careers.

I would therefore advise recruiters to prioritise candidates that can demonstrate that they’ve been proactive and take extra-curricular and personal achievements into account. In difficult cases, these measures increase the chances of a successful placement.