Networking tip: Score an invitation to a private reception

You won’t find the information on posters. Or through email blasts. The details go to only a select few.

But if you work at it, you might score one of the coveted invitation-only get-togethers for serious job candidates.

Many companies have secured a nearby suite or other private space, hired caterers and will put out the word to a few select candidates about the opportunity to mingle with hiring managers about job opportunities. It’s all very hush-hush for the candidates who have been screened in advance.

The key? Don’t ask for an invitation when you show up at a booth. It’s one of those things that if you have to ask, you’re not going to get.

So how do you get invited to the special gatherings?

Be an informed candidate, suggests David Williams, manager of talent acquisition for FMC Technologies. Be confident. Talk to the recruiting managers on site about the company, the projects, the challenges and the opportunities.

Don’t stop there in getting an insider’s insight into the company. Follow the company on Twitter and Facebook, watch the company’s presentations on YouTube and sit in on some technical sessions the company is hosting during OTC, he recommends.

“We have a very limited number of tickets to the suite,” he said. So be the kind of candidate who gets one of those invitations.

Check FuelFix daily during OTC for more networking tips from L. M. Sixel, whose weekly Working column appears in the Houston Chronicle.