Friday, 22 July 2011

Can I help make the Olympic Games happen? Please??

Earlier this week, I attended an interview day for a volunteer job for the London 2012 Olympics. I would absolutely love to be involved in the Games - to use a horrible cliche, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially living so close, and as I come through Stratford on the train every day on the way to (and from) work, I've seen the Olympic stadiums built over the last year or so, and they're so impressive. Now we know that we didn't get any tickets in the ballots to go and watch any of the events, being a volunteer will be the only opportunity I have to get inside a venue!

Anyway, very early on in the build-up to the Olympics, I was on the website, and submitted my application to be a volunteer, or a Games Maker, as they're called.  I took time over my application and really tried to sell myself and my skill-set, but with so many applicants didn't really think it would get any further.  However, a couple of months ago, I got an email inviting me to attend an interview session, for a volunteer position with the Event Services team - the people who will be at the venues taking tickets, showing people to their seats, and generally being helpful!  I was very excited, and on Wednesday, took myself along to the Excel centre in London for my 11am timeslot, to see if they would want me!

Each time slot at the event saw 25 people going through a recruitment session of 90 minutes, which consisted of a talk and Q&A session from some of the paid team who are organising the volunteers, a video showing various sporting celebrities telling us how great it would be to volunteer, and then one-on-one interviews of about 30 minutes, followed by the obligitory trip to the London 2012 souvenir shop to get to the exit.  It was all well organised and smoothly managed - the only thing that made me laugh was the frequent reference to McDonalds, who are supporting the process - I really can't connect what is often perceived to be a terribly unhealthy fast food chain with a sporting event involving the fittest people in the world!

My interview was with a lovely Australian guy, about 65, who used to be a rower - I didn't get to the bottom of whether he just did it as an amateur or professional and now I really regret not asking!  He had some standard questions to ask me, which I expected...but I was surprised by how difficult I found it.  I'm usually very good at job interviews, but this was a bit different. We managed to get talking about my running, and rather than telling him all about my customer service experience, my people skills, and what a great volunteer I'd make...I ended up talking about how I had a run a 2:02 half marathon, was hoping for a sub 2hr time at this Sunday's Dartford half, and so I didn't know why I couldn't get a sub 4.30 marathon, but was going to be trying again at my next race in September.  All a bit random and I definitely kept going off on a bit of a tangent!

The only positive I can really take from it is that I would have come across as very enthusiastic and chatty, and I suppose a bit knowledgeable about marathon running, but that's not really going to qualify me for a job in crowd control and answering questions about how to get to the train station!

I'll just have to wait and see - they were very open about the fact that not everyone who was interviewed would be offered a role, so I don't want to get my hopes up.  They're going to start letting successful applicants know in October...fingers crossed!!

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