"It is unlike any job interview that you will ever have"

German Born Chinese Gisela Lee applied for this year’s ‘The Apprentice’ and shares her gruelling experience with Resonate.

Gisela was born in Germany and lived there for 10 years before moving to the UK. She has lived here ever since. She comes from a background of restauranteurs and is “passionate about entrepreneurship and everything to do with creating a business and sustaining it”.

Gisela is currently working for a marketing agency and has been involved in a few start-ups in the past. She is looking to revisit some of her start-ups as well and also has other new ideas lined up too.


What made you want to apply?

“I am inspired by a lot of entrepreneurs, one of them includes Lord Sugar. I thought it would been a good opportunity to challenge myself and test my business acumens. As well I like working within film sets and tv studios, so it will be the best of both world. Having watched some of the series before, I thought it would be a great idea to join and see what it is actually like to be put under pressure and to perform well on the given tasks.”

What happens first?

“Application starts around January where you first you fill out the online form which contains questions such as “Why should you be Lord Sugar’s business partner?”, “What makes you different from everyone else applying?” and “What’s the most interesting thing about you?””

What happens next?

“In February, the candidates who get through the first round will be asked to take part in a second interview, remember to bring your polished CV with a photo of yourself in your best business attire.”

“For the regional interviews, about 75 candidates are called back for a second round in London usually taken place at Talkback Thames office. Then you get invited for the interview of two producers with less than 30 seconds to getting fired and within those seconds give good reasons why you should be selected to appear on the show.”

“Only two to three candidate out of the each of the many groups of 20 will be selected from this stage for the next researcher round. Researchers will test you with a few mathematical questions and deeper questions regarding your personality and to see the extent of it, with that especially on how you would deal with extreme situations.”

“They do like long term business experiences and some sales skills is desired, you get asked the ‘Sell me this pen’ question, which is a quite common job interview question.”

“If you passed that you get to be assessed in groups, and asked to do various exercises to test out team works and various skills. Around 30 candidates are then chosen to be assessed by a psychotherapist to evaluate how suitable they are for this TV shows. The final line up will be chosen from these final 30 candidates.”

What was the most enjoyable part?

“The interview part with the researcher puts you in the grill, you will be surprised by the questions they ask you because you wouldn’t know what they will ask you and you tend to think a lot about how they want you to answer those questions. Seeing the candidates performance during the test is interesting because this will help you see what the producers wants during the elimination process.”

“It is unlike any job interview that you will ever have”

What was the most difficult aspect of the process?

“The uncertainty of the whole process and the secrecy behind it all, you will mostly not know what to do or what is to yet to come after passing each stage. It feels a bit like an escape room games, basically you are in the unknown and nobody tells you what is going to happen to you.”


Why do you think you were not selected this year?

“They are looking for people with marketable TV personalities and good drama antics. Remarkable news cutting personalities sells a lot more than a plain sailing one even if you own a company or is a top dog in the career ladder. I figured out the audition process once I tried it so was more prepared each year regarding what to expect and I think that helps with passing the audition stages but there are still much more to learn. I think I need to have more business experiences to back up and have a stronger personality.” What advice would you give to those who want to apply?

What advice would you give to those who want to apply?

“Bring out your personality a lot and be a great conversationalist. You are better off with a personal motto that rings a bell and create a brand image of yourself that can be presented on TV. Try to stand out and be different to all the other applicants, give yourself a unique talent and quirk to wear on the sleeve. Answer the questions during the audition in a way that you wouldn’t normally do, be more exaggerated and different.”

All images by Gisela Lee