The Apprentice’s Claude Littner returns to interview stages and details key to success during gruelling process

Virgin Radio

2 Apr 2024, 08:52

Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, Claude Littner on The Apprentice

Credit: BBC

We’re nearing the end of the latest series of The Apprentice, and the intense interview stages beckon for the remaining candidates. 

As series 18 heads towards the big finale, the candidates must first face the formidable panel of Lord Sugar’s long-serving business colleague, as well as MediaCom Chief Client Officer Claudine Collins, Shortlist Media co-founder Mike Soutar and award-winning business woman Linda Plant. 

Speaking ahead of the infamous interviews, where the candidates put forward their business plans to be (usually) ripped to shreds by the experts, Littner revealed the key to winning over the hardened panel.

“Bright eyes, intelligence, a good business plan, honest and full answers to my questions,” Claude revealed. “Insight and knowledge of the business/industry they are proposing. An ability and desire to succeed and 100% focus.”

Admitting that by the time they make the interviews, the candidates are “exhausted” from the process, the business expert revealed his “objective” is to still challenge the hopeful winners. 

On the main answer’s he’s looking for, Claude elaborated: “Are [the plans] realistic, are they achievable, are they sensible, do the numbers add up, does their chosen industry have growth potential, where will they expand, have they considered the competitive landscape? Have they got the knowledge and ability to make a go of the plan?”

Fans have seen plenty of candidates struggle in the harsh interview stages, with Lord Sugar himself believing they need to be “toned down”, but there are also plenty of mistakes that get made too often for Claude’s liking. 

When asked what’s the most common thing candidates trip up over, Lord Sugar’s former right-hand-man in the boardroom shared: “Not taking account of the flaws in their business plans. Numbers not adding up! 

“Overambitious projections, not knowing the market well enough, failure to appreciate the costs/overheads/ risks of starting a new business or growing an existing one.”

Viewers will see who makes the final five this week, with Raj Chohan and Maura Rath both being sent home in a double firing last Thursday (28th March). 

The Apprentice airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer Thursdays at 9pm. The Interviews Episode will air on Thursday 11th April.