Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
What ‘Apprentice 3’ Applicants Should Have Learnedby David Bloomberg -- 01/20/2005
View Printable version of this article
The Apprentice does not just look for a winner, like on most reality shows, but for somebody to actually get a job. It is, as Donald Trump is fond of saying, a long job interview. As with any interview, there are some things applicants should know going in.
Regular readers of RealityNewsOnline are familiar with my weekly columns on why people from various shows lost. As we did last season, this article will serve as the blueprint for evaluating Apprentice 3 candidates as they are fired. With a second season under our belts, this article has been modified to better reflect what we know about how Trump fires (and hires) people.
But The Apprentice is very different from Survivor and Big Brother in an important way: Fellow contestants don’t decide who is going. Sure, one person picks two (or three) others to take into the Boardroom, but only Trump picks who doesn’t return to the suite. That means the rules for succeeding on The Apprentice are quite different from those for succeeding on shows driven by strategy and alliances – which is something that several contestants on The Apprentice 2 learned the hard way.
So what should Apprentice 3 contestants have learned from the first two series? Let’s take a look.
1) Show Leadership
Trump is looking for an apprentice – but he is looking for an apprentice who can lead, not follow. That is what makes this the #1 rule to remember.
On several occasions in the first season, people were taken to task because they had not volunteered to be Project Manager as many times as somebody else who was with them in the Boardroom. By not being Project Manager, it could look to Trump like you’re trying to hide. Indeed, Trump told Nick flat-out that he wanted Nick to be the next Project Manager (which Nick did, and won, thus impressing Trump). In the second series, it seemed almost everybody (save perhaps finalist Jen) understood this and competition for leadership positions was so great that they were forced to pick names at random. In the third series, players need to find ways to get around random draws and push themselves as the best choice. Doing so will be rewarded – presuming, of course, that they are good leaders.
Sure, the Project Manager can end up getting more than his or her fair share of blame. After all, only the Project Manager is guaranteed to go to the Boardroom if the team loses. But the rewards are well worth it. Trump will notice if your team wins when you’re in command – especially if it happens more than once. Look at the Final Two from the second season – Kelly was praised for taking on leadership roles, while one of the strikes against Jen was that she seemed to be shirking that role.
One of the new rules instituted last season only bolsters this notion, because the winning Project Manager one week is immune from firing the following week. Besides, we know that Trump doesn’t usually fire people based on one bad performance – he keeps a mental tally. You want to add up all the pluses you can to keep you going when you eventually hit a minus.
This could even be the case as early as the very first challenge. In the second series, Pamela volunteered to leave the women and lead the men – and nobody else fought with her for it. Even though her team lost and an argument could have been made that Pamela should have been fired on the spot, Trump gave her another chance, in large part probably because she had stepped up sight unseen into a leadership position.
When you are the Project Manager, by all means be the manager. Don’t let other strong personalities overwhelm you. If you’re going to be blamed for a loss, make sure it’s a loss that you created and that you took a stand! Kwame showed leadership in the art challenge when he picked Meghan, the weird artist. Yes, it cost them the challenge, but he took a risk that could have paid off. When he got into the Boardroom, he didn’t make excuses or blame somebody else – he explained his reasons and came across as strong and decisive, even though he was wrong.
Elizabeth from the second series, however, was a perfect good example of how to be a horrible leader. Her inability to control her team or push her own idea, not to mention constantly changing her mind, almost brought about the first Apprentice mutiny. When she got to the Boardroom, Trump didn’t even bother to ask her who she would bring with her – he fired her without a final session.
What is worse than walking into the Boardroom after having lost? Walking into the Boardroom and saying, “Yes, we lost, but it wasn’t my fault because I had no control over my team” or making some other similar excuse. Yes, this portion of the rule was here before Elizabeth appeared on Apprentice 2, she simply had not learned it.
2) Stay Cool Under Fire
This rule cannot be stressed enough – and you, as a player, are going to be stressed plenty. Let’s face it, this is a bizarre situation. You are competing as teams, but within those teams you are also competing to stick around. Pressure will be placed on you by other team members while working on tasks. Then, if you lose, pressure will be placed on you in the Boardroom – possibly by team members, possibly by Trump and his cohorts.
The key is that you can’t let the pressure get to you. Trump told Newsweek, “You have to remain cool under fire and let criticism roll off you. Good leaders handle conflict easily and bad ones are eaten up by it.” This is not to say you should ignore criticism – especially if it comes from Trump, George, or Carolyn – but rather that you can’t let it consume you.
If somebody fires on you in the Boardroom, you’d better be prepared to fire back. Explain why the other person is wrong. Or, if they’re right, then say so in a way that shows you understand what happened and you are willing to accept your mistakes. One mistake probably won’t get you fired. But one mistake and then losing your cool about it could.1 2 3 4 5 Next-->
View Printable version of this article