The Apprentice: 10.11 The Interviews
The final five have scrapped, bickered and stumbled through so far and would now face their sternest test yet; an examination of their CV, their strengths and character. Excruciating for them but great television for the watching public. Each contestant knew they were close and each handled the pressure in their own way. Roisin looked focused, Daniel appeared confident, Solomon flustered, Bianca seemed poised while Mark was tetchy.
They were stepping into the lions den and it was clear that the interviewers were relishing the chance to press them. There were a couple of familiar faces, most will remember Claude Littner as a bald ballbreaker and the 2012 winner Ricky Martin would now ask the questions. The quartet were completed by media executive Claudine Collins acting as exposer and publishing head Mike Suitor as examiner of CVs.
Of course, it would not be the interview episode without a CV being brutally exposed and first to stumble was Daniel when Mike subtly teased out that he did not in fact win a sales award. No matter, he still maintained he was the #1 seller. Then it was Claude's go to unsettle him when he called his business plan 'ridiculous', the yellow on yellow logo was a lesson he clearly had not learnt along with his figures. He took a less confrontational approach with Claudine and tried to come clean that he had learnt from his mistakes during the process, a well timed turn.
Throughout the series, Roisin had shone with her confident, straightforward approach yet her business plan would prove her unravelling. She knows her numbers yet Ricky and Claudine questioned whether being an accountant meant that she lacked the experience to be a great businesswoman. Claude pressed her further when he speculated that she would be out of cash in the second month. She still had the uniqueness of her product to stand by, until Mike pulled out rival products that she was unaware of.
At least Roisin had taken her business plan seriously, Solomon's was simply ripped apart. Being called an 'excitable puppy' by Claudine was not a good start. Mike centred on the CV; if Solomon was part of the 'ideas generation' then surely he could pitch an idea directly off his phone. This seemed particularly cruel yet it got worse when Claude praised his application form and CV then strenuously declared his proposal as a 'bloody disgrace'. Without being given a chance to defend himself, he looked like a red faced schoolboy when he went the wrong way out. Poor lad.
Mark was as confident as ever yet when pressed the pressure showed. Ricky gave him a chance to impress with his sales patter by re-enacting a speculative phone call to his office, which he failed. Claude then called his plan 'bland' yet he countered his lines of argument with poise. Claudine was even more impressed and she would go on to praise his seriousness.
Yet out of all the business plans Bianca's might have found a niche to exploit; hosiery for various skin tones and shapewear. The first challenge came from Claude who unsettled her when he called the dual aspect of the plan a non-starter yet she showed initiative when she seemed to scrap the shapewear with Mike. With Claudine the mask began to fall when her character was challenged and slipped off when she became teary with Ricky. However, her business plan was sound and that promise saw her through to the final.
First to go was Solomon whose naivety was largely to blame for an immature business plan. Roisin was next to go, largely down to her lack of business acumen. Finally there was Daniel and while his determination had gotten him this far Mark's experience saw him through to the final. Then there were two.