Former The Apprentice adviser Nick Hewer has reportedly suggested that the fate of contestants on the show is influenced by the way they look.
In interview with The Sun newspaper, Hewer, who worked with Lord Sugar on the BBC show for 10 years before leaving in 2014, said: "There was a time when all the young ladies who came on wore black pencil skirts and very high heels, with their hair done up in a chignon.
"You've got to be able to differentiate the candidates.
"I suspect that the producers go for different looks or people that can be differentiated visually."
The presenter and public relations expert, 72, also suggested that the brightest people with the best prospects are not always selected.
"If you really got the brightest kids the danger is that no-one would understand what they're doing," he said.
"It's all about the viewers. If you don't deliver the numbers, you're out. Which is why it's been running now for 12 years."
Sugar is now flanked by Baroness Brady and Claude Littner in the Apprentice board room, as they narrow down the selection of entrepreneurial hopefuls eager to win the billionaire's backing.
According to the newspaper, he also revealed that there is a reason why every candidate who gets fired appears to wear a coat and scarf as they leave the building - because their "exit shots" are filmed in advance.
"It's a question of time," Hewer told the newspaper. "They have a series of things to do ... They also have the 'exit shots', they're called.
"They always wear the coat and scarf, so you don't know what they're wearing underneath."
Hewer assured readers he is still a big fan of the show and that Lord Sugar insists on axing contestants when he feels it is their time to go.