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The Apprentice – Series 12, Week One – Antiques

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Each episode of The Apprentice will be scrutinised by Chloe Harrold, a senior employment lawyer with the progressive business services group, Outset, and she will pull out the HR blunders for your entertainment and education. Based in Maidstone TV Studios, watching out in case Lord Sugar lands on the helipad, Chloe has experience of advising employers and senior executives in all areas of employment law. She deals with contentious and non-contentious matters, including exit strategy, settlement 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. Having spent several years working in the City she joined Outset in 2016.

Out with the Old…

Last year I wrote this blog as a light-hearted, alternative approach to examining HR and employment law issues. A few people were kind enough to read it, and even found it interesting, so here I am again. Each week I’ll provide my thoughts on The Apprentice episode, especially focusing on HR/employment.

Series 12 begins and 18 candidates start their journey towards a £250k investment and partnership with Lord Sugar. I told myself earlier in the day that I would watch the episode and, for a change, focus on the positive – see what good examples of HR practices there are, and definitely not talk about discrimination.

That didn’t go so well…

Week one saw the candidates tasked with selling antiques. Before the teams even got around to choosing team names, K – I’m going to be Prime Minister one day but a billionaire first – Karthik asked the boys “what do you think about the chicks?” and claimed that the boys are bound to do better as girls “get emotional”. Meanwhile the girls were just as guilty: “the boys will be fighting about who wants to be alpha male” – although, to be fair, K suggested the team name “Alpha”, talk about living up to a stereotype.

Of course men and women are different, but is the workplace the right setting for these sorts of stereotypical, degrading comments? Things like this are often said as a throw away remark. Most people enjoy a bit of banter, but these candidates are supposed to be in a professional setting: how we talk to our friends at the pub isn’t necessarily how we should conduct ourselves at work.

The task was filled with the usual mix of cringe-worthy moments and shocking business decisions. Trishna tried her best to sell items somewhere close to where the expert suggested, but over-eager Jessica couldn’t help herself, swooping in and selling antique vases at a fraction of their value. Team Nebular basically ignored the expert’s advice – so it was little surprise that they lost the task, even with the boy’s sub-team selling nothing on their trade exercise.

It’s still early to highlight real stars (or failures) but thank you Lord Sugar for pointing that finger at Michelle. Sending home Rebecca would have been like kicking a puppy – did you see her sad eyes?!

See you next week for what looks like an emotional episode about jeans (there’s nothing quite like finding that perfect pair).

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