Featured Article article listing  »

Outsourcing the Olympics: Why You Can, Too

Posted on August 24, 2016

Paul Modley was asked to hire 9,000 paid staff for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in behalf of the London Organizing Committee. Paul Modley emphasized that they needed people who were vigorous enough to deal with external pressures. Aside from the big number of staff to be hired and the short period of time, additional requirements of the Olympics like local hiring quotas and diversity goals added to the challenges.

Here are some tips on how to improve recruiting efforts in a short period of time.


Develop a plan earlier, says Modley who have worked in the Olympics since January 2007 – five years before the torch was lit.

Just like any other business, the Olympic staff must be composed of the right people. Modley customized a recruiting program to attract graduates, students, and local candidates. Aside from recruiting people who are new to the event world, it was also important to look for people who had a similar event experience.

Modley and his team worked with third-party suppliers that can provide everything – from job seekers to administrative hiring to talent management processes. Olympics worked with a third-party recruitment process outsourcing specialist that managed recruitment under an agreement. Because of this, Modley and his team were able to deliver favorable results.


Although Olympics is a world-renowned brand, there are still negative comments about the association. This was another challenge for Medley to face early on.

The employer value proposition must be an evident proof why your company is a great place to work. However, employers must also present both the negatives and the positives since it is important in building the workforce.


Modley had to explain to the candidates that the Olympic job was only temporary. This was another challenge since people are looking for stable jobs. Modley had to emphasize that the job duration has its limitation, and ensure that the candidates were comfortable with that temporariness.

Being honest about the stresses of the work is also necessary. Modley was transparent to the candidates about the truth that many positions did not provide any access to actual competitions, and candidates may face some backlash for their involvement in the Olympics.


Assessing the potential candidates for the senior, specialist, and middle management roles are made through competency-based interviews. These interviews revealed technical experience, if the candidate is fit in the organization’s culture, and the candidate’s passion in getting involved in the Olympics.

For lower-level positions, the assessment focused on the behaviors rather than the prior technical experience. Some assessment centers were also relocated for the ease of access and convenience of the candidates.


Additional support for employees is also important. Modley and his team help employees transition into more permanent work, and also retained staff during the duration of the Olympics. Before, when there was only little support for employees, employees have gradually left the association even before the end of the event – this could be disastrous.

An outplacement support was given to the employees such as coaching around resume writing, interview preparation, and how to look for new job after the Games ended. This support helped employees feel safe about having a job after the Games, and felt more comfortable staying during the event.

Due to this, the attrition level was significantly low, and the London Olympics staff were recommended to sponsors and future Games Organizing Committees.


Hiring Lessons From The Guy Who Recruited 9000 Paid Staffers For The Olympics,