The six principles of the Commonwealth Games recruitment strategy

To successfully recruit over 40,000 staff for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC), in partnership with SEEK developed a bespoke in-house recruitment strategy that focused on six key principles.

Chances are, if you meet one of the 40,000 officials at GC2018, you won’t be able to distinguish whether they are a contractor, volunteer or paid member of staff. This is because they are all ‘Games Shapers’, enlisted to roll out an event that will see over 6,600 athletes from 70 nations compete in 25 sports held at 18 competition venues. 

It was never going to be an easy feat recruiting such a volume of staff and it took Anthea O’Loughlin, former HR Operations Manager at GOLDOC nearly three years to refine what she describes as an in-house recruitment model that “was leveraged off the unique opportunities and challenges presented by the Games.”

Underpinned by a strong partnership with SEEK, the bespoke model focused on six key principles:

Attract

Inspired by the 2012 London Olympic Games, GOLDOC and SEEK designed a dedicated GC2018 website that covered everything relating to working at the Games. This website, and subsequent advertising, ensured the messaging showcased the breadth and depth of roles required for the Games.

“Everyone wanted to work at the pool or on the track, so we targeted advertising to draw people into areas they traditionally didn’t want to work in,” O’Loughlin said.

Stand out

Such diverse roles meant that it was important to have “super standout job ads” with job descriptions that were unique and attractive to candidates, particularly in areas not in high demand.

“We had really unusual job titles,” O’Loughlin said. “We had roles such as ‘C3 Readiness Coordinator’, and I thought ‘where on earth do I put that on SEEK?’ so there were lots of conversations about where was the best place to put these ads because they weren’t recognisable to anyone.

“It was really about creating a balance to ensure that the obscure roles were highlighted, and that people understood what that job was.”

Case study videos of workers and volunteers from previous games were also created to connect with prospective candidates.

 

Engage

The majority of roles were no longer than twelve weeks, so GOLDOC ensured that people understood all the challenges, expectations and opportunities of being part of a temporary workforce. This was largely achieved through information and articles posted on the SEEK website.

To engage a diverse workforce that reflected the egalitarian values of the Games, GOLDOC also partnered with job network agencies, recruited a Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator and convened an intern program. 

Educate & excite

To build anticipation, GOLDOC also set up a Games Recruitment Centre for volunteers and paid staff that shared snippets of life at the Games, “but to also let staff know what a huge achievement it was getting to the final stage of the process,” O’Loughlin added.

Manage

To streamline processes, GOLDOC used SEEK Video Screen to get a snapshot of prospective employees and their motivation for working at the Games and applicant tracking system Job Adder to track their progress. 

Knowing that there would be natural attrition given recruitment started in early 2017, GOLDOC also worked hard to keep the “silver medallists” (those who missed out on initial roles) warm and engaged throughout the process.

Outplacement

GOLDOC and SEEK developed support structures for all the staff, including a series of educational tools to help candidates harness their Games experience to build their SEEK profile and a Virtual Career Fair that facilitated people to connect with potential employers and put their resumes online.

“This really helped to alleviate some of the fear that people were facing and offered support around next steps,” O’Loughlin said.