The Apprentice: The hardest grilling yet

Claude Littner The Apprentice

If the candidates thought a regular job interview was difficult to handle, then they were nothing compared to facing the likes of Claude Littner as shown this week.

This is by far my favourite part of the series and what I had been waiting for, for weeks! It’s a chance to see how the candidates react under true pressure and also allows us as viewers to discover more about the candidates and their personal passions.

A mixture of makeup, novelty gifts, cake manufacturing and clothing were themes presented within the remaining candidates’ business plans, which was quite refreshing knowing they were all taking a different path.

If you saw this week’s episode, you will have seen that Claude Littner, Linda Plant, Claudine Collins and Mike Soutar all sat and truly grilled into the business plans in which were put forward to them. The episode consisted of an interweave of all the interviews carried out, with many humorous moments for viewers to watch.

As the candidates declared this for being Claude’s favourite time of year, almost like his Christmas, they couldn’t be more correct as you could tell he was absolutely loving being in his element of control and intimidation.

Claude went straight ahead with getting his views across to Frances, disregarding the question of how harsh he may sound, he openly stated that her 8/10 task losses were no excuse and there must be a reason why she’d stacked up so many losing tasks.

Not just Frances received a gruelling, Alana was faced with Claude’s view that she may not be tough enough to grow her cake manufacturing business, but with her promising profits so far, she must be doing something right?

Jessica’s interview clip with Mike was quite humorous as he’d clearly been doing his research. She literally found out in that moment that her business partner from one of her other businesses had resigned, but her reaction was, maybe worryingly, chilled.

Whilst Grainne was told that she was maybe being a bit too ambitious in her aspirations in the way that she wanted to do so much rather than smart small, Courtney was slightly receiving opposite feedback. His lack of passion and charisma was something that was nagging at pretty much all of the interviewers. “You haven’t got that killer drive” Claude proclaimed, but after a little encouragement, Courtney began to sell himself as best as he could.

One of the best parts of the interview stage is when interviewers reflect on the candidates CV and Mike’s find on Courtney’s CV is a prime example of how you can be caught out on exaggerations. He’d put on his CV that he was the ‘head designer’ at one of his previous companies in which he had worked for, but Mike’s research found that Courtney was in fact the only designer the company had. Fair play to Courtney for trying to big himself up a little though!

Of course, when Claude asked Jessica to briefly share her background, there was nothing ‘brief’ about it at all! He found that her business was not very sustainable in that the risks and money loss are potentially too high in able for it to be a stable profitable business.

So many times during the interviews Frances said that she would have changed the faults in which they picked at if she had the chance, but did she not realise – this was her chance! Being fairly open about her lack of knowledge with the financial side of business and managing the figures was probably a wrong move as all interviewers identified this as a problematic weakness.

When returning to the presence of Lord Sugar, the interviewers shared their general views. Courtney, although being quite a dull person, has actually achieved many great things in a short space of time and that his novelty gift business could have potential to grow. “I wouldn’t write him off” Claude advised.

Worries were risen regarding the amount of money loss Jessica’s business had previously suffered and whether Frances’ business would actually be scale-able. Grainne’s proposal of a business was also questioned for maybe “shooting too high”.

Despite this, Alana’s business left the interviewers fairly impressed considering her promising profits that had already been reflected from it.

Once Lord Sugar brought back the candidates to reveal their fates it was pretty clear that he was unsure on Grainne’s makeup brand, academy and recruitment agency – especially as she was not yet qualified to carry out the training. Unfortunately, Grainne got fired and I was extremely shocked.

After Lord Sugar apparently accidentally revealed the winner of this series through a following on Twitter, after some research, I was under the impression that Grainne was going to win, but clearly not! I guess I now don’t know the true winner after all.

After much discussion, Jessica and Frances were fired and despite Alana’s lack of confidence and Courtney’s lack of energy, they had made it to the final. “And then there were two” Courtney rightfully grinned.

Next week is only a short time away until we find out the true winner of this year’s The Apprentice.