As one of Lord Sugar’s most trusted confidantes, Claudine Collins was the obvious choice to act as a judge in The Apprentice.
Miss Collins, the managing director of advertising agency MediaCom, appeared in the semi-final of the BBC reality show this week to quiz the remaining five candidates hoping to make it through to the last round.
“I interview people on a regular basis at work,” said Ms Collins. “Lord Sugar needed four business advisers for the show and asked if I would do it. Why not? If Lord Sugar trusts me enough to interview them, then I’ll do it.”
She explained that she looked for passion, credibility, and a good work ethic in a successful contestant. Such personal qualities were vital. “Generally, I think people buy people,” she said.
“My job on the Apprentice was to get to the bottom of the candidate’s personality and see if they were the right fit for Alan in terms of character compatibility.”
My job on the Apprentice was to get to the bottom of the candidate’s personality and see if they were the right fit for Alan - Claudine Collins
So what is it like to work with Lord Sugar?
“I’ve now been dealing with him on a work basis for a couple of years. He’s very straight down the line,” Ms Collins said.
Lord Sugar himself was forced to deny speculation this week that he would quit The Apprentice to focus on his commercial interests.
Nick Hewer, his right-hand man, was quoted in a Radio Times interview that the peer would leave after he reached 10 years on show.
Lord Sugar responded: “Media reports of me quitting The Apprentice are rubbish. If BBC decide to do more after next year, I’ll do it for them.”
Ms Collins said she had ““no idea what [Lord Sugar] will do with The Apprentice in the future, but from conversations I’ve had with him, it’s certainly something he’s very passionate about.”
Contestants Luisa Zissman and Leah Totton survived their interview with Ms Collins to make it through to the final and are in the running to win the £250,000 investment and business partnership with Lord Sugar.
The show will be broadcast next Thursday.