Belfast Telegraph

Apprentice Ricky Martin is back

Former Apprentice winner Ricky Martin has admitted it was a "surreal" experience returning to the show on the other side of the boardroom.

The former wrestler won the BBC show in 2012 and went into business with Lord Sugar, who invested £250,000 in his science recruitment consultancy Hyper Recruitment Solutions.

Ricky replaces Margaret Mountford in the penultimate episode of the show this year, joining Claude Littner, Claudine Collins and Mike Soutar to grill the candidates in the interview round.

He confessed: "It was surreal, because I had spent my time on the side of the desk of the people I'm interviewing. I knew what it's like to be a candidate, I knew how pressured you felt, how stressful it was, and I knew that mindset.

"But at the same time I am a recruitment consultant, so it was great to use my skills on The Apprentice for once."

When Ricky competed on the show back in 2012, Claude Littner said his personal statement was "the most crass, obnoxious, infantile personal statement that I have had the opportunity of reading... The problem is you're an arrogant fool".

But Ricky revealed they have buried the hatchet.

He said: "Claude and I get on incredibly well. He gave me a tough time in my interview, but he was always firm and fair and since The Apprentice, he's asked me to do him a few business favours over the last two years, as he's done some for me."

But Ricky insisted having been humiliated on the programme himself didn't make him any easier on this year's candidates.

He revealed: "I had empathy for them. The first person I sat down and looked at I thought I'm going to tear this person apart, and then when I saw the look in the person's eyes I thought, 'Wow, what a journey they've been on'. And I remembered what it was like for me.

"Everything that Claude raised in my interview he was absolutely right to raise. I deserved exactly what I got, but nothing was unfair.

"And that's exactly how my interviews were. I certainly was not unfair, but some people I gave them a tough time."

Having been in business with Lord Sugar for two years, Ricky revealed the best thing about working with him is that he tells you exactly what he thinks.

Ricky said: "He's brilliant to work with. One thing you get with Lord Sugar is you get somebody who tells you exactly what he's thinking.

"You don't get the politics, where businesses get political. People tell you things are great because they don't want to upset you, but they don't genuinely believe it. Or they tell you one thing to your face and behind your back they tell somebody else something different.

"Lord Sugar is very black and white. And that in itself makes him a fantastic business partner, because I know where I stand."

Ricky will appear in the penultimate round of The Apprentice which will air on BBC One on Wednesday December 17, 2014.

The final will air on Sunday December 21 at 8pm.

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