The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den never were about pitching and a recent YouGov poll, reported in  the Sunday Times today puts their ‘value’ to business practice in doubt.

It suggests 88% of small-business leaders believe contestants’ behaviour on The Apprentice puts off aspiring entrepreneurs.

“The programme’s producers seem to be deliberately portraying young entrepreneurs as greedy, self-regarding and frankly a bit dim-witted” said Luke Johnson of the Centre for Entrepreneurs.

Unsurprisingly those surveyed thought candidates on The Apprentice were selected for entertainment purposes rather than because they had a credible business idea

dragon's den“On Dragons’ Den they are treated like lambs to the slaughter. How is this helping the UK economy?” asks Johnson “There is a narcissism and neediness in them which I find distasteful.”. He cited examples of people who avoided job interviews because they thought the interview panel would laugh at them.

While there may be some who take  the programmes as serious business, the majority (surely ?) see them for what they are, like X-Factor  where the participants are selected to make Simon Cowell look clever and all-knowing, vehicles for the ‘glorification’ of Sugar or the dragons.

For those who need it, they can take reassurance that in the real word things are different. The judges on panels assessing pitches or interviews are not interested in being seen as heroes or villains. Nor for the most part are they hostile and they allow for nervousness. The decision they face is important to them so they want  to see you at your best.