Q&A: FMC’s OTC booth offers more than product design

The Offshore Technology Conference isn’t just a time to meet with customers and vendors. It’s also a great time to recruit new employees.

FMC Technologies has redesigned its 5,000-square-foot booth and is devoting 25 percent of the space to its recruiting efforts. It will feature a giant touchscreen (see below) to allow potential applicants to search job opportunities and will be staffed with recruiters who can answer questions from potential job seekers.

David Williams, manager of talent acquisition, is gearing up for what he hopes will be a great group of candidates. He sat down recently in his Houston area office to discuss immediate opportunities as well as his efforts to build a pipeline of talent. Edited excerpts follow:

FuelFix: Do you have job openings?

Williams: We have jobs in five key areas. In engineering, we typically look for mechanical, electrical and control systems. And like every other company, we’re looking for engineers with five or more years of subsea experience. They are few and far between in the marketplace.

Number two is project management; FMC is a project-based business that manages projects from beginning to end. Three is supply chain, which includes inventory control. Four is operations, which includes welders, assembly manufacturing and other shop personnel. The fifth category is technical-service personnel, which includes installing and maintaining equipment.

FuelFix: About how many jobs in total?

Williams: Between 300 and 500 positions.

FuelFix: Are you also looking for candidates who can fill jobs sometime in the future?

Williams: Yes. We have $4 billion in backlogged work. We need a pipeline of positions. We’re looking to create talent pools. It could be one, two, three or six months from now.

FuelFix: Will you be hiring more at OTC this year than last year?

Williams: It’s about the same. But this is the first time we have designed the booth to incorporate the recruiting function. We believe recruiting and building our own talent pool is so important, we incorporated the recruiting activity into the actual booth design. When we look at our growth projections — we’re looking to double in the next three to five years — we need talent.

Twenty-five percent of FMC Technologies' booth at the Offshore Technology Conference this year will be devoted to recruiting. Visitors will see this giant touch screen to check out job opportunities.

Twenty-five percent of FMC Technologies’ booth at the Offshore Technology Conference this year will be devoted to recruiting. Visitors will see this giant touch screen to check out job opportunities.

FuelFix: Are you doing anything to lure people into your booth who work for other companies? In other words, do you have a poaching strategy?

Williams: We don’t want our recruiters going into other booths to recruit. We don’t think it’s necessary to lure people in from other booths.

We did a study a year and a half ago and learned why people are attracted and stay with us. It’s our market leadership, as cliché as that is. We have some of the best and brightest in the business. There are amazing opportunities here and around the world.

FuelFix: Do you have potential applicants who stop by on the QT because they’re already working somewhere else? Maybe they’re a little nervous about being seen at a competitor’s booth?

Williams: Yes. We can provide them with a card about how to access our career-center portal.

FuelFix: How much did you spend on the new booth?

Williams: It’s a substantial investment.

FuelFix: What is the No. 1 question you get from job seekers who show up at your booth?

Williams: What opportunities do you have? So many people are looking for a job, but we’re trying to provide a career.

FuelFix: What are you looking for when someone comes into your booth?

Williams: We’re always looking for the right fit. Is this person someone who can contribute to the team environment? Is this someone who has good communication skills?

FuelFix: What is a turnoff?

Williams: Someone who is touch and go — throws their resumé on the table and leaves. I’m looking for engagement. Someone who has done some research ahead of time. A viable candidate will be a well-informed candidate.