6 Things We Can Learn from BBC’s The Apprentice Interviews

Posted by: Tom Post Date: 18th December 2015

Episode eleven of The Apprentice may have had you thinking: what if I were in their shoes? Hopefully, your interview won’t be quite as gruelling as those on the programme, but there are plenty of things to learn from how the candidates fared.

Here’s some advice to keep in mind when you have an upcoming interview, inspired by this episode:

1. Prepare properly

You can plan for an interview by looking up some of the most common apprenticeship interview questions. This will help you to consider your answers before you’ve even been asked.

Rehearse in front of a mirror, or get a friend to ask you some common interview questions at random. Practising your responses will help prepare you for unexpected questions, getting you to think on your feet.

This week, Richard prepared poorly with his business plan, using his current business as a template for his ‘new’ idea. Similarly, don’t lie or over exaggerate on your CV – as you may have to back everything up in the interview room.

2. Reinforce positivity

There are plenty of ways to relax yourself before an interview. The interviewees on The Apprentice did well both in and out of the interview in staying optimistic, and speaking highly and confidently of their qualities.

Before the interview, concentrate on your breathing, making sure to take slow, measured breaths. Studies have shown a variety of benefits of ‘focused breathing’ to alleviate stress and anxiety.

It may sound ridiculous, but I’ve also found advantages in practising my smile in the mirror before an interview. The simple act of a forced smile has been proven to reinforce and promote positivity and happiness, and decrease stress.

3. Consider your body language

A classic study by Dr. Albert Mehabrian showed that 55% of all human communication is delivered through body language – so it’s unsurprising that it’s one of the most important aspects of your interview.

As posture affects your breathing, you will benefit from sitting up straight in your chair, and occasionally leaning in and nodding to show your interest in the conversation.

It’s always great to use your hands while explaining things, and refrain from nervous habits like touching your hair. This will give that all-important air of confidence. If you don’t consider yourself a ‘confident’ person, fake it until you become it!

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4. Work on your story

At some point, you may be asked about what motivates you, inspires you, or to elaborate on a time where you displayed your skills. It’s best to keep your motivation in mind, and think of a couple of stories before your interview in which you showed strong work ethic.

Charleine expressed that she wanted her children to have ‘absolutely everything’, which gave a great explanation of what motivates her to succeed.

Remember to keep it short and sweet. Talking too much is a sure sign of nervousness. Just be polite, listen carefully, and take time to think of your answers. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you need to.

5. Look the part

Joseph was told that his braces and tash made him look like a used car salesman. His fresh, simple, and smart new look for his interviews gave him the air of a motivated professional with a high potential.

Always dress smart and professional for an interview. Shine your shoes, and wear a neatly ironed suit or blouse. Wearing smart clothing is a sign of respect for your interviewer and the company, and gives you an added aspect of professionalism.

6. Be yourself

Lastly, we’ll leave you with some key advice from Charleine Wain, who unfortunately left the show this week, on staying true to who you are:

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