the-apprenticeWhether you love or hate The Apprentice, it’s been hard to miss its return to our screens over the weekend.  Whilst some contestants proclaim to go into the process without a strategy, others have a clearly defined game plan they wish to follow to success.

Dr Chris Stride, from the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Work Psychology, and Ffion Thomas from the University of Central Lancashire, have conducted an in depth analysis of 159 hopefuls from across the previous ten series to try and figure out what is the best strategy to adopt.

Candidate profiles

Age, for instance, was found to be a crucial indicator of success, with there appearing to be a distinct sweetspot for success.  Each of the winners so far have been between 24 and 31 years old, although few other demographic matters seemed to count too much.

Interestingly, the role of ones academic qualifications has seen a shift as the program has progressed.  In the early series of the show, those with higher academic credentials tended to perform less well.  From series seven onwards however, there has been a distinct shift towards graduate candidates.

Standing out to soon

Whilst in much of life there is much to commend bravery, it appears as far as The Apprentice is concerned, stepping up to be team leader is a recipe for failure.  The odds of the leader being fired in the boardroom were roughly twice that of other team members, whilst repeated leadership during the weekly rounds had no impact upon the success of finalists.

Likewise, frequent appearances in the boardroom were another recipe for disaster, with the chances of being fired increasing by 37 percent if a candidate had previously been in the boardroom.  Similar correlations did not appear when it came to being on the losing side however.

Discussing the best strategy for success, Dr Chris Stride said: “Having been a team leader, even a successful one, on multiple occasions adds nothing to a candidate’s chances of winning if they survive until the interview stage. So I’d advise candidates not to rush into taking on this role unless they possess very specific skills that would make their team the overwhelming favourites to win.”

Five tips for Apprentice success

  1. Don’t volunteer for team leadership if your only motivation is to appear active and enthusiastic.  Even if you win the task, it won’t add to your chances of success
  2. Do your best to shine, even if on the losing side as you want to do your best to stay out of the boardroom at all costs
  3. In the same tone, getting on well with your teammates, and especially the team leader is crucial
  4. Have a good academic foundation, with the highly qualified having a greater chance of success than their less qualified peers
  5. And finally, be the right age, with all previous winners being between 24 and 31