The Apprentice winners: interview with James White

As you may have heard if you live in the UK or are mad enough to stream the programme from abroad, both IT recruiter James White and confectionery store-owner Sarah Lynn won Lord Sugar‘s BBC investment last year, so The Apprentice eventually got two winners for the first time in history.

But I have to be honest: at first sight, there were other candidates and business ideas I liked more. Winner Sarah Lynn, who runs a confectionery repacking company, made me suspicious at first because she compared Lord Sugar to a lemon sherbet, but – as the weeks passed by in the series – I had the chance to appreciate her amazing personality. She’s clever, calm and focussed. She’s just the kind of person I would aspire to be if I were not my start sign. I will definitely host Sarah with great pleasure for a Frank Interview as soon as her sweets business gets launched.

James White The BBC Apprentice 2017 Final Lord Sugar BBC One

Stressed-out recruiters…

As for James White, who is now the director of Right Time Recruitment in Birmingham, he scored a perfect 0/10 in the player’s ratings I used to do.

You know what – I might have amended the score after he won like any blogger would – thankfully I’m not a blogger – but I actually wanted to punish him for his Apprentice audition, where he stated that he’s a very good-looking guy and would rate himself 9 out of 10.

And you don’t make bold statements like that without receiving a yellow card, man. 😛

However, at the end of the day, I had to admit that – exactly like Sarah – James is an amazing team player and salesperson; I liked the way he always performed his job well without bitching around nor accusing the other contestants. And these are crucial skills in business, so bravo James.

Hey James, congratulations on winning.

Oh, thank you very much.

How are you?

Good. Thanks. How are you?

Good. So, how does it feel to win The Apprentice along with another candidate?

I guess… well, obviously it feels fantastic ’cause obviously I wanted to win and it’s also nice to win along with someone I have a lot of respect for as well… and you know, it’s up to him [Ed. Note: Lord Sugar] to evaluate, and we’ve got two completely different businesses, so yeah, I’m happy.

What was your dream job as a child?

As a… child?!?

Ye-ah. Did you want to be a recruiter?

Haha, absolutely not! I didn’t even know what recruitment was until I was 21. So… emh.. dream job as a child… so what did I like to do as a child… um…

Maybe you wanted to be a football player…?

Haha – you know what, I couldn’t really think of anything – I just wanted to do what led to money – so anything related to money was fine.

How did you realise you didn’t want to be just a regular employee – that you wanted to work for yourself?

Because of… the money.

Always the money!?!

Well, yeah. I think money was what would drive me a lot of times. I didn’t want to work for someone else’s money and not for myself, so I decided that the right thing to do was to work for myself.

What tips can you give to someone struggling to find their way between regular employment and self-employment or business?

My tip would be: know your industry, get your contacts there first. Like, you know, I worked in recruitment for four-and-a-half years before I started my own business, and that gave me the basics to have solid skills in the industry: if you’ve got no experience, it becomes ten times harder. So, even if it’s going to take a bit longer to get your business going, go and get the experience you need first.

If you were not a recruiter, what would you be doing right now? What was your plan B?


Actor? Model?

Being on a beach somewhere. Hahaha.

Hahaha. So… not working?

Yeah… well, working… emh… you know what – this didn’t even really cross my mind… and yeah… I mean… I would try to make it in a different industry that I know and then…. emh…

Always as a salesman?

Well, mostly: that’s my natural skill… so I’d say yeah, I would still be some kind of salesman.

Thank you for the interview, Mr Money.

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