A Blackpool businessman was used as a guinea pig in a pioneering experiment for TV where staff were given the chance to vote for their new boss.
Vito Cinardi, 49, was one of three people interviewed for the role of business development manager at a top Lancashire chocolatiers.
Every worker at Beech’s Fine Chocolates, from the tea lady to the owner, were the selection panel as three candidates battled it out for the job.
“We all had one vote each – it was completely democratic,” revealed chairman Andrew Whiting. “Everyone placed a ballot paper in the ballot box and the winner was declared.”
The whole selection process was filmed by a fly-on-the-wall camera crew for a series of three films called Who’s The Boss?
Beech’s was selected to feature along with a Scottish craft beer brewery and a fruit and veg business from Hertfordshire.
But, while the power to hire was in the hands of the 50-strong workforce, no-one told the candidates, including Vito, from Argyll Road, North Shore.
Vito, who described the experience as “fantastic”, was up against Karen Todd and William Oldfield with all three thinking they only had to impress the chairman to get the job.
“None of them seemed to latch on,” said Andrew. “They were all playing up to me and trying to emphasise their skills to me.
“But unknown to them it wasn’t just down to me, they were being judged by every member of the staff.”
The BBC filmed how all three performed in interviews and in various tasks set to test their skills.
Secretly all the footage was shown to the workforce and the programme follows the debate – heated at times – about who was the right person for the job.
“I said I would go along with the result, no matter how I voted,” said the chairman. “Fortunately I totally agreed with the decision.
“The BBC were allowed everywhere. Everyone was miked up. There was nothing that we did which wasn’t captured on camera.
“You get used to it after a while and, although it was bit daunting - especially for the candidates - I was surprised how well everyone adapted to the situation.
“The staff were quite excited when I first presented the idea to them in the canteen. They felt it was a big responsibility and I think the programme shows how seriously they took it.
“Would we do it again when selecting for another senior position in the future?
“Maybe not completely, although I think it would be good to get a group of individuals together to help with it.”
Vito was not giving the game away when it came to revealing who won the race for the job.
Who’s The Boss? will be aired on BBC2 starting at the end of the month.