· 1 min read · Features

Paula Watch: How can Paula Jones use her HR recruitment skills to win The Apprentice?


Anyone who has been watching the drama unfold on the BBC's The Apprentice will have noticed that, among the other mouthy and over-confident wannabe apprentices, Paula Jones has, so far, appeared to be one of the quietest in her bid to persuade Sir Alan Sugar to hire her.

Simon Howard, executive chairman at the Work Group, says: "Sooner or later we hope ‘our Paula' will get the chance to lead a task. Thus far the fiery redhead seems to have the assertiveness and drive to do well, but by her own admission is a ‘bit of a scatterbrain'.

But in her quest to be recruited in what Sir Alan himself described as "the hardest job interview in the world", how can Paula use the recruitment skills she has acquired as an HR professional to win him over?

Matthew Chester, a director at specialist HR recruiter Digby Morgan, explains: "Recruitment is all about being resourceful, about attracting and on-boarding the best talent. Recruiters need to be commercially aware of the competition and know how to entice candidates into their business to create competitive advantage rather than see those same candidates accept a job elsewhere.

"So, although it's a competition, for Paula to win The Apprentice she will have to use those specific recruitment skills to get the full support of her team mates and, ironically, her competitors. If she fails, she will find herself back in the boardroom with Sir Alan's finger pointed at her before she knows it."

Howard adds: "Recruitment is all about being a good ‘picker'. Paula will need to pick people to do specific tasks, which either complement her own strengths or, more importantly, make up for her shortcomings.  So she should be thinking about who is strong in project management, who are the high-completers and who has the task focus to cover her limitations as a scatterbrain.

"And don't forget successful recruitment is all about fit - not just in terms of the skills and experience for the required task, but also the attitude and motivation.  Which is exactly what good pickers always do, and what we hope Paula will shine at."

How did Paula get on in The Apprentice's catering task?

Can Paula Jones go all the way and win the competition? We put the question to the experts.