EP. 4 In Conversation With Scarlett Allen-Horton, The Apprentice’s Finalist

Griselda Togobo from Novi sits down with The Apprentice’s finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton to discuss her business journey. 

Women put themselves at a disadvantage during job interviews by focusing on what they can’t do.

Instead of putting themselves down, they should talk about what they can do, what they’ve achieved and where they want to pitch themselves. The advice came from Scarlett Allen-Horton, The Apprentice finalist and founder of executive search firm Harper Fox Search Partners. In conversation with Novi CEO Griselda Togobo earlier this year, Scarlett highlighted a pattern which women can fall into when they’re being interviewed for leadership roles. The business partner to Lord Sugar said that it was important for women to learn how to pitch themselves. Male candidates often spoke confidently about the 80 or 90 per cent of a job specification that they could do.

Scarlett said: “Often the female maybe won’t have done 10 per cent of that job specification and she’ll often talk about that and say, ‘Oh, I haven’t done that 10 per cent, I have done this but the 10 per cent I haven’t done’. If you were to listen to that as an interviewer, you would go with the male candidate.”

Scarlett also had advice for women struggling with imposter syndrome, or feelings of inadequacy, despite being well qualified and experienced. She told Griselda and the Novi audience that she overcomes imposter syndrome by putting her own life in perspective.

“When you’re having that moment and you’re thinking about imposter syndrome or you’re doubting yourself, the reality is we really do only have a short time here, so I think try and let it go. “People are more interested in themselves than what other people are doing half of the time anyway. If it feels right for you and it feels good for you, try to push yourself that bit further and go for it.”

Scarlett, whose own company experienced setbacks at the beginning of the pandemic, losing 90 per cent of its business overnight, said that when faced with bad news, it was important to keep moving forward.

“You have to absorb it, take it in but then you have to keep it moving. What are you going to do, how are you going to overcome it?”

The pandemic had brought daily problems but over-thinking without action would only drain us of energy, she added. Scarlett is an advocate for gender equality and the promotion of women and ethnic minority talent into senior roles. But she said just talking about the gender pay gap or a lack of ethnic minorities in leadership positions wouldn’t bring about change. Instead, we needed to take responsibility.

“Actually, some of that is on us and we need to empower ourselves to be able to make that change. I’m very passionate about that. We have to take some responsibility as well.”

Scarlett has experienced personal and business knockbacks. She spoke about raising two daughters alone after their father was jailed and how she wanted her children to learn about resilience.

“I think a lot of people have had a lot of knockbacks. Now, coming from probably a better place, I think it develops you as a character doesn’t it? “If I’m honest you need some resilience in life actually to just do well, you need some knockbacks and you need those sort of things to happen. I think that with my own daughters now and I think actually, I don’t want things necessarily to be completely easy, you need that to give you a bit of grit. It’s not been easy at all.”

Listen to hear what else Scarlett had to say on hot business topics…

[6:19] How she made the leap from being too shy to add her own picture to her LinkedIn profile, to starring on The Apprentice – and what gave her the final push. [9:55] Why she decided to be honest about her personal circumstances and how she believes our back stories shouldn’t stop us doing the things we want to do. [17:50] How to negotiate a pay rise and talk about our value in a business world that’s been affected by the pandemic. [21:16] How she found the courage to leave her job to go it alone with three weeks’ worth of money in the bank. [34:15] How to accept your business is a work in progress and why it’s not possible to run the perfect business or be the perfect woman. [37:26] Tips if you want to quit your job for a new role.

What the full interview:

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About Scarlett Allen-Horton:

Scarlett Allen-Horton is an International Executive Search Recruiter, Finalist of BBC The Apprentice, Business Partner to Lord Sugar and Founder of Harper Fox Search Partners. Scarlett is a devoted advocate of gender equality and passionate about the elevation of senior female and ethnic minority talent.

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About the host – Griselda Togobo

Griselda Togobo MPhil, ACA, is CEO of Novi, an international corporate consultant, trainer, keynote speaker, and expert on inclusive leadership, women’s leadership, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who initially trained as an electrical engineer and chartered accountant.