The next time you’re scared about going into a job interview, take a minute to be thankful it’s not being broadcast on national television. This is the prospect Tim Campbell MBE faced when he participated in the first series of The Apprentice in 2005. He held his nerve, impressed Sir Alan and walked away with the top prize – so who better to talk to about interview feedback than the man who has braved the toughest interview of them all?
Fight for Feedback
Back in August Tim appeared on Sky News to discuss Debut’s Fight For Feedback campaign – we’re lobbying the government to make it compulsory for companies to provide feedback to candidates after a face-to-face interview. Debut CEO and founder, Charlie Taylor, interviewed Tim live on the app to find out more about what he thinks good feedback looks like, and how candidates can use that feedback to improve.
Following his success on The Apprentice, Tim has gone on to have a lucrative career. He is currently working to expand his charity Bright Ideas Trust, established to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get involved in enterprise, and continues to run his social media business, Marketing Runners.
He knows how important feedback has been in getting him where he is now: “Most people are looking one way, they’re just looking outwardly, and I think it’s important to get an independent view, from someone you trust and like, who is going to give you a fair reflection on how you performed in any given situation.” It’s important you get feedback from everyone you can. Not just potential employers but also your university tutors, friends and family.
Obstacles to feedback
So why is it so hard to receive feedback? If candidates benefit from the knowledge on how they can improve, and businesses benefit from more prepared candidates, what’s holding us back? “I think what we’re seeing from both employers and individuals is a fear of feedback.
“I think that can come from the employer as they don’t want to be held responsible for any negative damage or confrontation from the feedback […] and there’s a fear from the individual about finding out about something they may not be ready to accept.”
Tim’s main piece of advice was to not get defensive over feedback even if it feels difficult to accept. We all have our weaknesses, and we can improve ourselves for next time if we’re prepared to listen and take a critical look at ourselves.
Overcoming a lack of experience
Tim also gave some advice on the question we’ve heard time and again here at Debut: How do you impress in an interview if you don’t have a huge amount of previous experience? Have a watch here:
Challenges facing business
Tim answered a whole range of questions from Debutants who tuned in live. When asked about what he would ask Elon Musk, his response demonstrated his passion for merging business with social enterprise: “I would ask ‘If he was going to tackle a social development goal, which one would he pick and how would he accelerate it?’ If you’ve got some of the business brains attacking some of those social concerns and issues, we could actually solve them a lot faster.”
He was also asked about whether he feels he has ever been rejected from a job on the basis of race. This is something he acknowledged is a major issue facing businesses at the moment as they face increasing pressure to diversify following Sir John Parker’s report that has recommended all FTSE 100 Boards have at least one director from an ethnic minority background by 2021.
“I personally don’t think I’ve been rejected for anything on the basis of anything aside from my ability or my aptitude, or lack of. But do I believe racism exists in organisations and institutions? 100 per cent”
There’s a lot of positive actions being taken to promote diversity in business, such as The Black British Business Awards co-founded by Tim’s friend Melanie Eusebe and Michael Eboda’s Power List, but as the report identifies, much more needs to be done within major companies.
The interview provided users with a fascinating insight into Tim’s life, his current projects and how he approaches opportunities in order to achieve success, so make sure to head to the app to check it out. Some final words of advice on how to ace an interview?
“Do the research and don’t wear white socks.” Words to live by ✌️
You can watch the livestream in full on the DebutLive tab of the app, where you’ll also be able to watch exclusive insights with companies including EY, Dyson, Rolls-Royce and WPP. You can also register for our upcoming livestreams where you’ll be able to ask questions live to employers via the app.