After 10 weeks of shopping task pitfalls, pitching blunders and boardroom chaos, the time has come for the final five candidates in The Apprentice 2024 to face the most dreaded stage of the process: the interviews.


That's right – Claude Littner, Linda Plant, Claudine Collins and Mike Soutar are back to grill the candidates and their business plans to really decide who is deserving of Lord Sugar's £250,000 investment.

This year, Tre Lowe, Paul Midha, Rachel Woolford, Phil Turner and Flo Edwards will have their business proposals picked apart by Lord Sugar's most trusted advisors, and only two can proceed to the final.

Ahead of this, Littner has revealed one common mistake candidates make when it comes to the final interview stage – something this year's line-up could very well have fallen victim to.

Littner explained: "Not taking account of the flaws in their business plans. Numbers not adding up! Overambitious projects, not knowing the market well enough, failure to appreciate the costs/overheads/risks of starting a new business or growing one existing one."

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The interviewers do not go easy on the candidates and Littner accepts that those who reach the interview stage are "typically exhausted" from the process and there is a knack to finding a balance of being tough and critical with the candidates.

"My objective, having spent a considerable period in the week leading up to the interview analysing their plans, is to challenge their business plans," he explained.

"Are they realistic, are they achievable, are they sensible, do the numbers add up, does their chosen industry have growth potential, where will they expand, have they considered the competitive landscape? Have they got the knowledge and ability to make a go of the plan?"

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Claude Littner was again noticeably missing from this year's Apprentice season, with the business executive previously serving as an aide to Lord Sugar throughout the process, but that role is now filled by Tim Campbell.

In 2022, Littner was forced to drop out of the show after a serious bike accident, so Campbell joined forces with Karren Brady as aides to the business magnate.
Since then, Littner has been a part of the show in a reduced capacity, having returned for the interview stage last year also, with Lord Sugar putting this scaled-back role down to "medical issues".
The Apprentice continues on BBC One and BBC iPlayer Thursdays at 9pm.

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