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Octopus puts job candidates in the swim: Investment company pioneers Apprentice‐style recruitment

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 19 July 2011




Describes a competition based on the hit television series The Apprentice that UK firm Octopus Investments used to recruit new members of its sales team.


Explains what gave rise to the assessment day, the form it took and the results it has achieved.


Details how candidates took part in speed interviews (like speed‐dating), telephone‐call role plays and pitching sessions to give them a feeling of realistic everyday working scenarios. After each stage candidates moved through to the next task or were given feedback on what they did well and what they could improve.

Practical implications

Reveals that the assessment day helped the company to cut the amount of time spent interviewing candidates while giving them more time to demonstrate the skills the company is looking for.

Social implications

Highlights how the assessment day offered candidates the chance to learn first‐hand about working for Octopus by mixing informally with current employees.


Describes a range of HR policies that have helped Octopus twice to be named among the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For.



(2011), "Octopus puts job candidates in the swim: Investment company pioneers Apprentice‐style recruitment", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 30-32.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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