This was the final destructive testing of the candidates to see who would be paired up for the final showdown. All were put through the wringer. Jamie wilted under Margaret’s stone faced unwillingness to be charmed. He also got his metaphors mixed up, the wrong thing to do with a pin sharp classicist like Margaret. She had returned specially to grill candidates having just popped out to do a PhD for in papyrology for fun. If you know that about someone try not to overdo the familiarity treating her like an old aunty rather than a formidable interviewer as Stuart did. Chris fared better with Margaret who was clearly impressed by his intellect. Almost as much as he himself was. That said Chris is sharp and capable and has flair. I have spotted him riding up on the rails in the last few weeks.
Jamie’s overseas property record was demolished like many buy to let flats in Andalucía soon will be. His attempt to blame his partner and to blame his parents didn’t go down well. That said anything can happen in the pressure cooker of these serial interviews. Claude unsmiling, and gruff seeing right through everyone had genuine warmth for Joanna, who it turned out was generally thought to be a bit too raw and was advised to make her mark in cleaning. Her lack of preparation and basic knowledge allowed her to be separated out and put nicely out of "the process".
Claude had contempt though for Stuart. "You think you are a big fish? You’re not a big fish. You are not even a fish." He retorted crushingly to Stuart's waffle about being a "big fish in a small pond". Stella faced the question which many capable women without standard degrees or in my view posh accents often get asked." Yes you have been promoted but aren’t your really just a PA?" She was able for that not milking her back-story but ensuring they know made it the hard way, and that she has a prestige role where she was already delivering.
Stuart had been given a bit of latitude last week. Or maybe enough rope? Anyway he was burned in the interview process. Of course lying on your CV is not an automatic barrier to employment as Alan Sugar’s apprentice. In fact in 2008’s Lee McQueen, called a couple of months at college a degree. He was was hired and is probably stil there. Lord Sugar also allowed himself to be swayed by Stuart’s fabulous boardroom salvation speech. That meant he fired the very capable Liz. but this was the crucial thing. If you have puffed yourself up to be a telecoms operator with a proper licence your are a different article form someone who buys a standard ISP licence. Expect to be found out when Lord Sugar puts his fsct checkers on your trail, and expect him to be disappointed and angry. Stuarts embroidery of his business career, his admission that he once lied about a colleague going bankrupt, and his general cockiness, infuriated Lord Sugar who suffered some "buyers remorse" big style. I love the line in Pulp Fiction where Jules the drug gang enforcer and devout Christian played by Samuel L. Jackson loses it. He cites words form Ezekiel 25:17 as he prepares to terminate some hapless preppies who have got in over their heads with a deal.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you!
That’s when Lord Sugar finally lost it with "the Brand." My money is still on Stella though Chris could look like the favorite now. these are tough times and you need a tested reliable candidate.
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