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The Apprentice Episode Four – Lawyer’s summary

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Each episode of The Apprentice will be scrutinised by Chloe Harrold, a solicitor with leading UK employment law firm Doyle Clayton and she will pull out the HR blunders for you entertainment and education. Based in Canary Wharf, just a few floors below where Lord Sugar grills the candidates to be his next apprentice, Chloe has experience of advising senior executives as well as employers in all areas of employment law. She deals with contentious and non-contentious matters, including exit strategy, compromise agreements, discrimination, reorganisation and TUPE.

Chloe is also a qualified New York lawyer who qualified as a UK solicitor in 2009 whilst specialising in employment law at a City firm. She joined Doyle Clayton in 2012.

The Apprentice – Series 11, Episode 4

29 October – Hare today, dog tomorrow

This week we saw the candidates at the London Pet Show.  If only I had gone this year I would have been able to see their selling skills in action first hand! As it happens I didn’t miss much and it’s safe to say that I probably would have bought a cat tower just to stop Ruth Whiteley talking.

Lord Sugar set a simple task: “pick the right products and sell them”. We were told that almost half of all UK homes have a pet and it’s a £4billion+ market. Scott Saunders was voted PM on the strength of his dog ownership and sales skills and experience.  Confident that he wouldn’t be “losing this task”, sadly it went downhill for Saunders and his team.  As PM, Saunders couldn’t make a decision on which product to select, didn’t secure the balloons because of a lack of enthusiasm (but let’s be honest, who is more enthusiastic than David Stevenson?) and ultimately his team lost the task.

Concentrating on the big ticket cat tower items Selina Waterman-Smith made one sale but had to ask Saunders to work out the pricing for her.  Saunders made three sales and Whiteley failed to secure a single one.  This would have come as no surprise to anyone who watched the excruciating process of Whiteley trying to sell. Cue more wise words from Lord Sugar who described Whiteley’s sales technique as: “talk, talk, talk, talk, talk”.

As a sales trainer by profession, this should have been Whiteley’s chance to shine and based on that performance, her exit was entirely deserved.  Putting aside the many reasons why The Apprentice can’t be directly compared to an employment situation (they’re not employees of Lord Sugar, yet, and they certainly don’t have two years service) if it was, I’m confident that would have been a fair dismissal.

An employee who is performing poorly needs to be set targets, given time to improve, provided with guidance and perhaps even additional support but, a sales person who can’t make sales? That’s serious underperformance.

Waterman-Smith also received strong criticism and found herself back in the boardroom.  Lord Sugar has given her a final chance though and, if we compare this to a final written warning, she could be gone next week if she finds herself on the losing team. Watch this space.

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