Over half of HR directors value ‘The Apprentice’ style candidate

New research from Robert Half shows that over half employers would hire a candidate whose profile is similar to the contestants on 'The Apprentice'.

  • ‘Intelligence’ is the primary reason for hiring a profile similar to contestants, say 34% of HRDs
  • Nearly half (45%) of HRDs would not hire a candidate who is overly driven or competitive

London, 13 October 2014 – As the UK prepares to welcome the 10th series of ‘The Apprentice’ this week, new research from specialist recruiter Robert Half UK shows that over half (52%) of 200 HR directors would highly likely (12%) or somewhat likely (41%) hire a candidate whose profile is similar to that of the contestants appearing on the television show.

When asked what top trait they would look for in a contestant-style hiring process, a third (34%) said intelligence; over a quarter (27%) said good work ethic, and the same number (27%) said drive/competitiveness. Surprisingly, a ‘good personality’ is viewed as the least valued trait when looking to hire an Apprentice candidate, according to only 2% of HR directors. 

Looking at the primary reasons for not hiring an Apprentice contestant, being overly driven/competitive is viewed as the least acceptable trait (45%); followed by poor teamwork skills (18%); poor personality (14%); unintelligent (12%) and finally, poorly skilled (11%). This suggests that HR directors will hire for attitude and ability but will be prepared to train for skills once an employee is hired.

The Apprentice is leading the charge on ‘favourite workplace/office setting TV show of all time’ amongst a quarter (26%) of HR directors, beating ‘The IT Crowd’ (21%) and David Brent’s ‘The Office’, which came in at third place with 20% of the votes.   

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “While the television show may not be a completely accurate description of the real world of work, many of the challenges and obstacles the contestants face can mirror scenarios professionals will encounter throughout their careers. Developing oneself professionally, through work experience, education and maintaining a positive can-do attitude will set anyone up for career success.”

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

1 The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 HR Directors across the UK, and is stratified by geography, company size and company type. The research was conducted in July 2014.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.