So the latest series of The Apprentice on BBC1 is heading into the last few weeks with Lord Sugar edging closer to his latest “business partner”. But what if you could pick your next employee through a similar process? Just how effective might that be?
The first problem is how would you select your pool of candidates. Obviously the BBC has an army of researchers who can sift through all the applications but you don’t have that time. However, you will have fewer to deal with and you are going to have to sift through those CVs anyway so, rather than selecting one, you can pick the best half dozen. You are also at an advantage over the BBC in that you don’t need to ensure that they are going to look good on TV and there is no need to have the obligatory clown and someone who is obviously going to rub people up the wrong way from day one. That’s not to say you won’t end up employing one though…
So you have got your applicants whittled down to a manageable number, say six, what tasks could you set them that would make sense for your business and would allow you to assess them fairly? Most businesses want someone who is going to specialise in one area rather than have the smorgasbord of skills which seem to be required by Lord Sugar. Although for obvious reasons, their tasks are often about selling.
One negative of The Apprentice approach is that it strongly encourages self centred, selfish individuals who often don’t play well in a team. It is highly unlikely that is going to work well with your organisation, unless of course you have a role that uniquely requires such traits. So group tasks where it is about true collaboration and sharing would be a must for me.
And then there is the firing process. The need to fire someone each week has led to some odd decisions in my opinion. But if we are following the same process for our six how would you decide? I’m not sure that I would want to be dealing with all the bickering that goes on in the boardroom and so would want to find some more objective, individual, measures on which to base my firings.
While all this has all been purely theoretical there is a way that you can try out people before having them join your organisation and that’s by giving students work experience. Which I wrote about recently.
And who do I think will win this year? Well my money’s on Roshin or possibly Bianca. So the women have it.

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