Job Search Lessons from Celebrity Apprentice

I realize I should have been writing about ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ a vehicle for learning about job hunting. After all, it is supposed to be a show where “B” and “C” level celebrities are competing for contributions to their respective charities while auditioning for a position as an apprentice to Trump in his businesses.

There are often great lessons that can be learned from each week’s shows. Here are a few from a recent show.

1. Be careful of your reputation. Star Jones has a reputation for doing graphic arts on various projects. Ask a question and Star has the answer. Donald Trump, Jr. points out that it is great that she has the answers but it leaves her vulnerable should her team fail on a task

2. Be careful of your relationship with team members. Gary Busey is seen as being “on another planet.” His teammates are frustrated by him. He survived a number of visits to the boardroom but his team is prepared to fail in order to get rid of him. Busey does not disappoint them and they go out of their way to express their disdain for his leadership. He is, of course, fired.

3. Watch your time. Busey’s team has no time to rehearse because Busey has managed the time for the project poorly. When you are on an interview, you will have a finite amount of time to get your message across. Don’t waste it!

4. Practice. Practice. Practice. Meatloaf (if you don’t know him, he was a rock star at one time and that was his stage name) is asked to cook a meal live and his used to rehearsing. He is frustrated and says something to the effect of, “I have never walked out on stage to perform or delivered a line in a movie without knowing exactly what I was going to say and practicing it.” These are words to live by as a job hunter.

5. Watch your language. Busey infuriates a team member by calling him, “Boy” (at least it was a white team member). It is hard to recover from bad behavior; be careful what you say.

From my own experience, I once had someone interview for a senior position with a consumer products firm. His firm interview was at 8 AM; his last with the head of the function was at 5 PM. I received a call at 4 PM with feedback that heaped enormous praise upon his candidacy. The division head asked him about the people he worked with. “A bunch of slobs and Indians.” Obviously, he was not hired.

© 2011 All rights reserved Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter