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The Apprentice 3: Why Craig Lostby David Bloomberg -- 05/06/2005
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Craig made it to the final three, but then had to face the interviews – it was a challenge he could not overcome. Was the reason for Craig’s quick firing simply bad interviews, or did it go deeper than that? Why did Craig lose?
Even though Craig only was on his final episode for a few minutes, we can still use our normal route of looking back at What ‘Apprentice 3’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see what happened. So let’s take a look.
The first rule is to show leadership. When Craig was the Project Manager, his team won both times. Both times, it was largely due to his leadership – the Home Depot challenge, when he insisted on doing “the box,” and the Staples challenge, when he came up with the final anti-clutter idea – an idea so good that Staples can’t keep them in stock!
However, there were problems with Craig’s leadership style. In many of the challenges – both those he led and those he didn’t – he was unable to communicate his ideas to his teammates. The ideas were there, but he just could not explain them well.
This becomes a problem when it’s time for an interview. Craig needed to be able to explain certain things – most importantly, his leadership ability. He needed to talk about how he has started and run a business. He needed to answer the questions thrown at him in a way that made the interviewer feel comfortable. He needed to convey to them that he was the best choice. He failed at all of this, leaving the interviewers with the feeling that he did not have the skills to work for Donald Trump. It was unanimous – there wasn’t even any hesitation. The fact is that to be a good leader, you have to be able to communicate with your employees, coworkers, and superiors.
Moving on to the second rule, did Craig stay cool under fire? During the challenges, yes. For example, when he team essentially abandoned him during the Home Depot challenge, Craig didn’t give up or break down. He talked to Alex and Bren and told them he needed their support. He got it and they moved on.
However, it may be that part of Craig’s communication problem stems from nervousness. During the interviews, we saw Craig being asked questions and he stumbled over the answers, in some cases unable to even get a full sentence out. Again, it goes back to communication, but it’s also part of handling your nerves in a tense situation.
The third rule is an area where Craig definitely had no problem – having a backbone. Once again, all we need to do is look at the Home Depot challenge to see that. His entire team mocked him because he wanted to do a presentation on “the box.” But he stood up for himself. If he was going down, he was going down because of his own ideas. But instead, it turned out to be a great idea! Similar things happened throughout his time on the show, including the Staples challenge.
Craig also had no problem standing up to people – though sometimes he went a bit too far. For example, he and Kendra definitely had the tensest relationship of anybody. He did not hesitate to take a stand against her, but crossed the line when he started talking to her as if she were a child. He really had no reason to do that and it certainly didn’t help his cause. Again, communication comes up.
The fourth rule, which advises against scheming and plotting, had no bearing at this point. But the fifth rule goes to playing well with others, which takes us back to Kendra again. While I don’t think it really had any effect, some of the questions that were asked of the candidates were about the others. Kendra had plenty of ammunition to use against Craig, and we saw her talk about it in the interview clips. If he had made more of an effort to get along with her, she might not have had much to say. Again, it doesn’t seem he was the interview loser because of that, but it certainly didn’t help any.
The sixth rule says to focus on the long-term. It’s difficult to really judge how Craig did here, but we can definitely look back to – you guessed it – communication again. Craig should have known that he needed to get along with his teammates, and that meant being able to talk to them. As we’ve discussed, he had a serious issue with Kendra, and it could have been a problem as the teams became smaller and smaller. They kept winning, so it wasn’t an issue.
But then he had to look at the long-term from a different direction in the interviews. When he was asked questions about how he would fit in the Trump organization, one of the interviewers felt Craig would try to change the company rather than changing himself. I didn’t really see that in the clips, but that’s what he believed and passed on to Trump. That is definitely not long-term thinking. If Craig wanted to work for Trump (and we have to presume he did, since he was on the show), he needed to think ahead of time about how he might answer these questions. It’s not like they were a surprise.
Seventh is to think outside the box. As we discussed earlier, Craig’s successes as Project Manager came from his creative side. While it seemed to his team that making “the box” was not “outside the box” thinking, it turned out that Craig was absolutely correct. Similarly, when he took the stackables and turned them into the Staples clutter-fighter, he was thinking outside the box (though, again, it was box-shaped). Frankly, I think Craig should be snapped up by a company out there looking for a good creative person, because I believe he’s shown his abilities in those areas.
Unfortunately, that’s really about where the abilities he showed end, leaving him as one-dimensional in violation of the eighth rule. As we’ve discussed, Craig did not have the necessary skills to be a true leader with the ability to do many different things. Perhaps it’s something he can learn, but he was not at that point right now.
Finally we arrive at the rule that says to use common sense. Common sense should have told Craig that the interviews were coming, and he needed to prepare. While these interviews had some questions you wouldn’t normally get when applying for a job – such as comparing yourself to the other candidates – some of them were very basic. Craig should have been ready for them and able to answer. From what we saw, he wasn’t.
Let’s be honest – very few people believed that Craig would make it to the Final Two. We saw that he had communication problems even before the interviews, and figured he would have difficulty in that regard. While Craig had other issues, as we’ve discussed, in the end it came down to a problem that had been nagging at him throughout his time on The Apprentice: The inability to effectively and clearly communicate his thoughts and ideas. That is why Craig lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Apprentice 3 Episode 15 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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