The Apprentice: season 13, episode 11 recap: "Dos and Don'ts"
Interview (noun): a meeting in which someone asks you questions to see if you are suitable for a job. In The Apprentice, this means tearing you a new one. It's my favourite hour of TV.
Do: Pep yourself before you wreck yourself
Interviews start before you've even walked through the door and both Elizabeth and Michaela give themselves little pep-talks in the lifts. Whereas Liz goes for positive affirmations - "Give as good as you get, as good as you get, as good as you get" - Michaela simply warns herself not to puke up as soon as she walks in.
Some good advice is to simply think of something you're looking forward to before you go in, which will put you in a happy state of mind. For example, Claude imagines himself sitting atop a pile of skulls, whilst handmaidens lash him with reeds. It's simple, but puts him in his happy place. But yeah, not being sick is also a good one.
Do: Prepare, prepare, prepare
Most job sites will advise you to learn everything you can about the company before going in. However, if you're interviewing on The Apprentice, this just means remembering every full stop and comma on your CV. On a very basic level though, at least know how many businesses you've started, unlike Michaela.
Mike Soutar: "Since 2010, how many companies have you run or co-owned?"
Michaela: "I don't know. A few!"
Serial entrepreneur or just bored easily? Not even Michaela knows, especially when Soutar starts to pile up box files of her companies between them. I've had bad interviews, but no one tried to build a wall to block me out.
Do: Play up your strengths
A few extra flourishes can really improve your CV. In Elizabeth's case, having three flower shops makes her a "Multi-florist business".
A bit of creative licence never hurt anyone. Spent your gap year working in a bar? "One year's experience as a Beverage Dissemination Officer". Travel agent? Destination Counsellor. Had a paper round? You were a Media Distribution Agent. Boom.
In James's case, I can only assume he gave his business plan a spritz of Lynx Java to give it that personal touch.
Don't: Fall into Claude's trap, metaphorical or literal
Never give yourself enough rope for Claude to hang you with. As Sarah Lynne sits nervously in front of The Inquisitor, Claude reads out her opening statement: "Women are like tea bags: you don't know how strong they are until you put them in hot water and find out." Unfortunately for him, BBC Health and Safety Rules prevent Claude from bringing out the cauldron he keeps for special occasions to test her theory.
Things look like they're looking up for Elizabeth when she meets with Claude: he commends her on her "terrific work ethic" and can-do attitude. Has she managed to tame the beast? Unfortunately for her, Claude is just cleaning his teeth before getting stuck into the meat. "The thing is, you are absolutely impossible to work with. And you are so overbearingly bossy that honestly it's been a trauma to actually watch you throughout every task." So strong was Claude's savage take, he is able to give Elizabeth a dead leg by only looking at her.
Embellishments are one thing: out-and-out bagging is another. Mike thinks it's great that James is an accredited member of a recruitment association, until it becomes clear James has just bunged the logo on his site. If there's irrefutable evidence of how rubbish you are, Soutar is going to find it.
Don't: Be afraid to stand by your principles
As we have learned throughout this series, The Apprentice got fuck all to do with business.
Take Joanna, who *spoiler* is shown the door for not having enough experience. "You don't know what you don't know, because you don't know it," bleats Claude. To someone who has jumped through hoops running a doggy day-care and trying to track down the world's last remaining Amstrad computer, and who has applied to be a on a show called The Apprentice. You can barely wipe the smile from her face when she realises she's finally been set free from this sorry saga.
Likewise, Mike finds that Sarah Lynne's website isn't quite up to scratch. This is all well and good until you take a look at Amstrad.com, which hasn't been updated since 2007. Save yourself some money on Apprentices, Lord Sugar, and spend some money on UX designers.
Joanna is the first to go, on account of her actually being the most Apprentice-like out of all them. How could she have got this far without this being brought up?
Did she thank him?
Sugar is quite complimentary, praising Joanna's intelligence and encouraging her to stick with her dream. Before she bursts out on the street screaming, "I'M FREE! I'M FREE!" she gives a beatific smile and a "Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate it more than you know." Good for you, Jo.
Who got fired next?
Surprisingly, Sugar doesn't take up Elizabeth's offer to "take this a little further". Maybe he's worried she'll take a pair of shears to his bush?
Did she thank him?
Yes, with an added flourish of "Thank you all, it's been an honour and a pleasure." I'm surprised she didn't offer to do the rest of the firings on Sugar's behalf.
Who was the next to get fired?
Despite being impressed with her "big numbers", Michaela's business flakiness means Sugar doubts her commitment to charging 4k for construction companies to look for work, and so BrickedIn (like LinkedIn for builders, I know it's not as funny when you have to explain it) won't be getting the Sugar investment.
Did she thank him?
She skips out with a "No worries" and a cheery "Thanks", before informing Alan there'll be no mates' rates should he want to use her website in the future.
So it's Sarah Lynne and James in the final. WHO ON EARTH WILL WIN??