The Apprentice candidates '“ reviewed by a recruitment expert

Career coach and author Corinne Mills watched last night's episode of The Apprentice to review each candidate. How would they fare in the real world?
In the firing line: Mukai, Oliver and Paul face Lord Sugar in the BoardroomIn the firing line: Mukai, Oliver and Paul face Lord Sugar in the Boardroom
In the firing line: Mukai, Oliver and Paul face Lord Sugar in the Boardroom


Quietly capable – even the eccentric Jessica felt she did a good job this week. However, her lack of confidence in her own abilities does mean that she can come across as flaky and quite needy.

That vulnerability is going to leave her very exposed to the other candidates who will seek to undermine her further or just ignore her.

Oliver and Karthik attempt to make rockOliver and Karthik attempt to make rock
Oliver and Karthik attempt to make rock


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Confident and sassy, Alexsandra says it as she sees it – but perhaps she is not quite the sharp businesswoman she likes to portray, as she struggled to get her sums right, which put a real dent in her business credibility. She was lucky not to have been brought back into the boardroom.


He raised a couple of interesting challenges this week, voicing his unease at Sofiane trying to squeeze additional money out of the corporate customer. It seemed like he felt that this was both unethical and poor judgement – and he was right on both counts. Shame he wasn’t really listened to. I think he is one to watch.

Oliver and Karthik attempt to make rockOliver and Karthik attempt to make rock
Oliver and Karthik attempt to make rock


Stylish but he doesn’t come over as the most soft-skilled or authentic of individuals. His attempts at charming the general public into buying his sweets was cringe-making, sounding more like whiny sarcasm than engaging salesmanship. Needs to work on his charm.


Been pretty much in the background so far. Occasionally pops up with the odd acerbic comment – just making sure that she is on record as saying that things aren’t her fault so there is no comeback on her. It would be good to see her making a more positive contribution.


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Seems like a tough cookie. Direct, pragmatic, takes no prisoners. Has no problem with self-belief and I imagine that if she’s in your sights you better duck or get out of her way. Probably has the ruthless professionalism that will appeal to Lord Sugar.

JD O’Brien

Apart from the comment about his sweat patches, JD showed himself in this episode to be probably one of the more likeable contestants who most of us would be quite happy to work with. He was very supportive of Alana, showed he was happy to do whatever was needed. Came across as a real team player and they are in short supply amongst this crop of candidates.


Jessica’s hyper personality seemed to be an asset when she was selling sweets at the seaside – it almost seemed like it was the perfect job for her. Happily occupied, she could be a more supportive team player than the needy attention-seeking project manager of last week’s episode. She even commented that Alana had been a good project manager – a huge turnaround given the personality clash they had in the first episode.


Like Jessica, his eccentric personality seemed to be an asset this week as he saw the task of selling sweets to the public as a great excuse to perform, show off and be the centre of attention – which is what he likes best. He has now decided that he is not the best salesman in the world – that would be too modest – no – he is the most supreme salesman in the Universe. We’ll see!


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He seems rather enigmatic. We learn this week from Lord Sugar that he has an impressive background – working with leading fashion brands, travelling the world etc. However, unlike most of the other contestants, his face is rather impassive and hard to read. He is very composed and controlled. This is going to be a real asset in the stressful situations that are coming his way, but it is likely that he will find it harder to build rapport with people if they are not sure whether they are getting to see the real Mukai or not.


By far the nicest candidate that we’ve seen on the Apprentice for a while. Pleasant, courteous, consultative, he looked genuinely pained when he had to choose two colleagues to bring back into the Boardroom. Probably not ruthless enough for Lord Sugar – but I would buy his sausages.


Emitting a glowering menace and muttering under his breath, Paul is not someone you would want to get into an argument with. When “soft-nosed businessman” Oliver went to congratulate him on surviving the Boardroom, Paul aggressively rugby shouldered him before realising that all Oliver wanted to do was to give him a congratulatory hug. Quite scary.


Trying to do the right thing, clearly capable, but can look a bit dippy on occasions. She seems bright but inexperienced and probably needs to win a few more battle scars to give her the gravitas and credibility she needs.


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He seemed to enjoy and be competent at selling the sweets but there are some early suggestions that Samuel likes to be his own boss and may not be good at listening or taking instructions. He may not be a team player but maybe that strong sense of autonomy and trusting his own judgement is what will make him a great entrepreneur. Let’s see.


A very sharp commercial operator. Pushy, border-line aggressive, this is a salesman who will chance his arm to get his sale and who probably doesn’t care much about repeat business. If you want to get the best price on a one-off deal he is probably fantastic. But don’t let him loose on your most prized customers as relationship management may not be his strongest suit.


At the moment she seems to be part of the chorus rather than taking a leading role. We’ve seen her grimacing for the camera in response to some of her team members poorly judged suggestions but we haven’t yet seen her actively contribute much herself. She needs to come out from the background and make a bid for centre stage if she wants to be a contender.

The Apprentice is on BBC One on Thursdays at 9pm.

Corinne is a Career Coach at Personal Career Management

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