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How to Interview for a Sales Management Job

1. Gain the right mentality. When interviewing for an executive level business development job, our sales management recruiters suggest that you should expect to win and embrace the rewards that go with the victory.


Job interviewing is no different than any other thing in business: you should go into challenges always planning to come out on top. Leave everything on the field and don’t let yourself hold back.


Regardless of level of job seeker, many times the thing that prevents us from successful job search results is our own thought process and lack of self-confidence brought on by a few job interviewing rejections.



Additionally, when you envision success prior to an interview, your mentality during that meeting is going to be more positive than if you focus on failed aspects. Take a moment to meditate and, instead of dreading a poor outcome, the headhunters at our Chicago sales and marketing headhunting team suggest you focus only the upside that you’re going to see once you execute.


Thinking about failure is more counter-productive than you can imagine. Many times, interviewees will envision not getting the job to mitigate any disappointments that they will have once they are declined a job offer. The best career advice blogs know this as well.


When Henry Kissinger was asked about what he learned from the presidents he had worked with-starting w/ JFK, he replied, “Presidents don’t do great things by dwelling on their limitations, but by focusing on the possibilities.”


2. When you find yourself in the running for an executive level sales job, the interviewer is going to look for a few things, among these are:


a. Direction.  Whether you have a clear idea of what you want to do both personally and professionally as well as their going to gauge your strength to persist in the face of setbacks. When leading a business development team, resiliency is a trait that is not a luxury, rather it is a necessity that the sales manager possess.




b. Passion – they’re going to look for whether you have a passion for what you do. Does your job excite you? Do you enjoy mentoring younger sales representatives. Can you pass this positive mood on to the team.  Do you have the desire and ambition for a better career.


c. Integrity – When companies look to recruit leadership roles, trust becomes a big factor, thus putting more emphasis on the individual’s integrity. When defined, one can argue that there are 3 main components to integrity: self-knowledge, candor and maturity.


– Self-knowledge: You know what you want to do and why you want to do it.


– Candor: Integrity means candor. You don’t trim your principals or even ideas to please. You are straight-forward with your speech and it comes from knowledge rather than an outside force.


– Maturity: Integrity means maturity which means dedicated, capable of working with.


d. Leadership acumen. When interviewing for a sales management job, the hiring company is going to put much emphasis on this. Leadership begins with confidence in oneself and without confidence in yourself, you’re not going to fare well in higher level sales interviews. Though, know that leadership is not something that is cultivated overnight. Rather, it takes a lot of work and mental discipline to train yourself to be able to take on the responsibility of a group of sales members.


Pre-Interviewing Exercises:


Sydney Pollack said the best way to codify one’s thinking is through writing and speaking. Owning an executive recruiting firm, I always suggest to my higher level sales job applicants that they do a few writing exercises prior to going into the meeting. Writing out thoughts makes for more cohesive speech. Specifically, there are four I recommend:


1. List 5 Successes You’ve Had As a Sales Manager? This will get you in the positive frame of mind and allow you to see the successes you’ve had as too often we focus only on the mishaps regardless of how many positive achievements we’ve accomplished.


2. List Your #1 Failure, How It Made Have it Hurt, but What Did You Learn and Did It Make You Stronger in the End? The best leaders can admit to their failures and learn from them. You can’t sweep failure under the rug. Rather you must come to terms with it and, once you begin to analyze what you perceive to be a failure may not be all that serious in the long-run.


3. Take 2 Minutes and Think about how much work you’ve done in your career to be able to do this job.


4. List 5 Skills That You Have that warrant you being paid to this job.


Coming to Terms with Imperfection


Understand that if you were perfect, you wouldn’t be human. Prior to going into a sales management interview know that you will never have a perfect performance. Though, dwelling on small imperfections as well as what we don’t have dilutes all the positive things that we do possess.



5 Necessities to Quit Your Job and Open a Company

Want to live the American dream of entrepreneurship? Well, eventually you’re going to have to quit your job. Though, there are right and wrong ways to make that initial stride and ensure success following resignation, here are just 5 necessities you need to quit your job and effectively open a company:


1. Gaining the entrepreneurial mentality. You must have a true desire to become a successful entrepreneur or you won’t make it. Don’t kid yourself, by all means entrepreneurship is tougher than being an employee and, thus you must become tougher both mentally and, to an extent physically as long hours can hurt your health and stress can be a killer.


Owing a management recruiting agency in New York is very difficult and to be successful is much more difficult than people perceive it to be. If you’re quitting your job to become an entrepreneur, your mentality must be stubborn. Once you become an entrepreneur, looking back on the good ‘ol days when you had a paycheck becomes counterproductive as whatever is in the past must be left in the past and you now have control over your future success or….failure.


An entrepreneur must have the mentality that they will do what it takes to succeed whether it be grueling hours or eating pasta for months on end to save money. You have to learn to become self-reliant and need to be fully prepared to do so.


Leadership comes from within and leadership is only spawned from an entrepreneurial mentality.


2. You must open the right business. Owning an executive search firm, I can tell you that if you’re looking around for people to tell you which business to open, then you should remain an employee as you are not ready yet. Entrepreneurs don’t crave direction from others, rather they rely on their instincts and take calculated risks.


Sometimes, entrepreneurs wish they had a boss as being told what to do is a lot easier than figuring it out yourself. When choosing a business be realistic about your competition. Don’t compete with the best and brightest in the world; that’s not logical thinking. Rather pick a field that pays well, has competition, but not in the overwhelming sense and make sure that you enjoy the field and find if personally fulfilling.


Upon quitting a job, when choosing a business take some time to think about it, but don’t take forever, it’s half gut, half intellect. Rely too heavily on one or the other and you won’t do well.


3. Try to save expenses at every corner. For many aspiring entrepreneurs, the thought of having to learn all aspects of business prompts them to run to expensive vendors that produce little and charge a lot. As I stressed above, your self-reliance will prove to be your best friend or your worst enemy.


Saving money means having to learn things that you never wanted to learn nor never thought you would have to. For instance, when I started my recruiting firm, I thought that I would never have to learn how to program and never thought I could.

Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim

Also, know how much money you want to make prior to quitting your job. The best companies have fiscal goals that are clear-cut. Your approach should be no different. Once you have that number, relentlessly pursue it.

4. Start building the business for success while you’re working. Many entrepreneurs just quit their job only to learn that their predictions about the business they were going to open were wrong and they find themselves unemployed and often depressed as to their failure which often is not their fault.


Going from 0 to 60 is not recommended. Before you go pro, try it out by spending your free time opening the company. Not only should this tell you whether or not you would like to be an entrepreneur, it will also tell you if the business you’re opening has potential or whether you should look into other options.


Alison Ringo KAS Placement

Quitting your job to open a business is a big thing and big decisions should not be made on the fly.


5. A positive attitude. Upon becoming an entrepreneur, you must have a positive attitude about you being successful. When we are overly negative, it hurts our performance and pessimistic behavior also drains energy.


If we don’t think we can do something, we are not going to work as hard as we could on the task, thus making the anticipation of failure the main reason something doesn’t work out rather than natural talent or intelligence.


Being an entrepreneur is competitive. There are other firms that will not like you doing business in their space once you become successful. People will always want to take your head out of the game, therefore keeping a healthy attitude means a much better chance for survival.



Handling Rejection During Job Interviews

Handling rejection during job interviews is a crucial facet to any job search. Learn how to handle these rejections via recruiters advice from KAS Placement.

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Answering the Interview Question: “Why Do You Want to Leave Your Job”

When answering the question, “Why do you want to leave your job” our executive recruitment team of tens see a disconnect between what the job seeker says and what the interviewer wants to hear. Therefore, I’ve have compiled a few answers which ought to help you better answer the frequently asked interview question:

Answer 1:

Our balance sheet is hurting, cash flow is hurting, the expenses are too high and that stresses people out and when people are stressed, they don’t perform well. This is not changing b/c the company keeps spending on aspects that are not generating revenue.


– There is always money to be had if you look in the right places and you do have to get to some of the wrong places to get there, but once you hit a “wrong place” you have to look at it as one step closer to a solution rather than a stagnation. There is no substitute for profit.


The best companies encourage team work and candor. Many times, the culture is just individualized, thus no good ideas are thrown around and there’s no feedback on how everyone’s doing.


There’s no substitute for hard work; it solves problems and achieves goals. Right now, I need profit driven company to work at which realizes this. Doing so would result in a job that greatly invigorate me.


The best companies look at setbacks as temporary and challenges to be overcome; this is no longer the case at the organization. When resilience is not present neither is success.


Our selling style has been too aggressive lately and this is based on our cash flow shortage which is hurting management of the sales cycle and thinking about what the clients want rather than what we need as a company which is feeding our balance sheet asap.


Sales is about customer service and meeting needs and that’s what closes deals. Right now, my current company is unable to do so.


We no longer segment our customers into 3 lists which are most effective such as rating them:


“A” – customers who take up the most time, but pay the most bills for the organization. They’re strategically and financially critical to the business, however we are no longer paying as much attention to them.

"ken sundheim kas placement"

“B” – customers who pay their bill on time, we don’t hear from much, but we don’t demand too much. Part of our cash-flow shortage is derived from these individuals not being up-sold.


“C” – the clients doesn’t have the most money, but needs the most attention and doesn’t pay on time. Unfortunately, the firm has too much time on these clients and, thus not giving the employees the tools to make the right decisions which lead to success.


Answer 2:


Some good things that used to be at the company were…


We used to think that we were the best and somewhere along the line that thought process changed. If we don’t think we’re great, how are clients supposed to? There was vision at the company; there was hope and this showed in the way people spoke and the way they interacted with clients.


There’s no authenticity and passion at the company. The managers and bosses are not very resilient and they are not ambitious enough to create an environment with great leadership.


There are expectation gaps in our product / service. Management wants us to promise x to get a quick cash infusion, then they can only deliver y which is not conducive to long-term relationships with clients and cross-selling, up-selling opportunities.


There is little optimism at the company and the team tends to fold every time any hurdle arises, thus not creating an atmosphere of resiliency and persistence which is paramount to success in any business. A bad event happens and management thinks the problem will last forever when defeat should be looked at as a temporary failure.

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4 Ways to Better Your Salary Negotiation Methods

The theory is quite simplistic: the more salary you can negotiate, the more money you make. As executive sales recruiters, we often know that for many job applicants, at least the majority of (especially those who haven’t interviewed for a job recently) can have immense trouble with this aspect of the job search more than any other part of application process including the resume writing or even interviewing process.


However, despite the above stated, most job seekers do end up negotiating salary after the job offer is made. Throughout the years, our headhunters have seen some job seekers come out big winners as well as our recruiters have seen applicants have job offers pulled from the table.


For this reason, the executive search professionals at KAS Placement have included some salary negotiation tips that ought to make any job seeker more comfortable upon going into that final meeting where money is discussed.


1. Always approach the salary negotiation process in a very professional manner – If you want to come across as a true business professional who is worth the money you’re about to negotiate for, you must remain composed, calm and collected. During any salary negotiation, never let emotions or ego become a factor because once they do, you are much more apt to be declined for the extra pay.


If the negotiation is not going to be via a final face to face, you ought to write a very nice, non-pushy note as to your thought process for asking for the additional compensation and you, again are much more likely to come out a winner.


2. Prior to #1 (and maybe this should have gone first, but…), think about the risk vs the reward in negotiating your job offer. For instance, if it’s the perfect job and you are only planning on trying to get an $5,000 more, it may be worth putting off until you really produce, then you’re more apt to get a raise much higher.  The headhunters at KAS always say that if you’re afraid about losing a job, don’t do it, but this is typically not the case.


Name this movie character and movie played by Welsey Snipes in the 1990's and win a free resume consultation.

Name this movie character and movie played by Welsey Snipes in the 1990’s and win a free resume consultation.


3. Always be honest with the interviewer / future employer, but just as importantly, be honest with yourself. Do you really think that the number you have in your head is going to be given to you in the compensation package or is it a hail-mary hoping the prospective employer will capitulate?


Many times, human beings tend to overvalue their worth on the job market; it’s just our nature. As a recruiter, I see it all the time. Therefore, if you have the inclination that you may get declined, chances are you are not going to be given the higher salary and may create some sort of personal disdain with HR because nobody likes to feel like they are being taken for a ride.


4. Never pull the number you’re about to ask for from your you know what. Using ambiguous metrics to base your requests off of will, more likely than not get you shot down. Instead, do your research as to what other people in similar positions are getting paid and you now have a market price to base salary negotiations off of.




Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement executive recruiting, a sales and marketing recruitment agency specializing in staffing business development professionals throughout the United States.  Among others, Ken Sundheim has been featured in the Wall St. Journal, Fox Business News, AOL, BusinessInsider and many more.  We want to hear what you think, join our recruiters at our Google+ page

LinkedIn vs the Recruiting Industry

As were many recruiters, when LinkedIn came out with their cutting edge social media platform, some headhunters thought that it would eat up market share.


Hailed amongst Wall St. as the great marriage between job boards and social media, the platform seemed that they would aim to do what Monster tried about a decade earlier…to put the recruiting industry in the same corner Expedia was able to with the travel industry….a crushing blow taking out yet another brick and mortar with the business of internet.


Many analysts followed the social media stock carefully as when the new platform came out, the expectation was that it would be a cash-cow and, at first it was! LNKD (LinkedIn’s stock symbol) jumped day after day. Initially, Monster and the other job boards, were preparing for a huge hit, but the expected tsunami turned out to be a lighter hurricane than expected….though, they were hit.

"Alison Ringo"

Running an executive search firm, I remember the first two weeks of the product launch. It would not be an exaggeration that our clients nearly vanished no longer answering emails nor would they pretend to have signed with us.



It was scary as LinkedIn went right after the recruiting industry, but deep-down I knew that history would repeat itself (or was confident about my hypothesis that it could take market share, but not kill the business being correct) and while the giant turned out to be a major player, my thesis came true as the total death blow that they had wished didn’t go 100% to plan….or at least for now.


As of 1/1/13, the stock is trading near its 52 week high, though is down from the 125 mark to the 112 mark which is below analysts’ gangbuster predictions. However, LinkedIn is still in favor with my of Wall St.’s top analysts this is despite Barclays downgrading the stock from overweight to equal weight.



While the recruiting industry survived, in LinkedIn’s defense, it had some job boards have to make their services free (ex: The Ladders job board now does not charge applicants nor recruiters to post) which means that these competitors will have to see a bigger decline from LinkedIn until they can charge again…though, that may be a long time and who knows if the cash flow issue will not become a problem.


Final Thesis


Based in Mountainview, CA, LinkedIn has gotten some marketshare going against the recruiting industry, though will the same thing happen to them as did the internet postings of years ago, or do you feel that they will eventually put a strangle on an industry that has been popular since WWII? Personally, I think it’s the latter, but am open to any thoughts.




Ken Sundheim started KAS Placement, an executive search firm specializing in sales and marketing recruitment for companies of all sizes. For KAS Placement’s ability to execute complex recruiting situations, Ken and his team have been featured by, among many others Fox Business News, MTV, WSJ and many more.


On his free time, Ken speaks to students about entrepreneurship and his experience running the recruiting firm.

I am Hating my Job!! What Should I Do?

First, there is a right and wrong way to quit. If you hate your job and need to quit, do it the right way. Quitting work in an unprofessional manner burning bridges along the way can come back to bite you 10 to 15 years down the road. My recruiting company has seen it happen to people before.


If found in the above situation, try these 4 steps; implement properly through self-discipline and the outcome will be 100x better for you.


1. If you’re hating your job and are about to scream, never make any important decisions, let alone make a career decision. The smartest people make decisions based on impartial evidence rather than off-the-cuff emotion.


The worst type of business people let their emotions control them, not the other way around. Make a pact with yourself that you will not make a decision to let that sudden hate for your employer get the best of you when frazzled. Take a breather so you can think straight before telling your boss how much you hate your job and that you are leaving.

"ken sundheim, executive recruiters"

KAS Placement finds jobs for applicants of all levels at some of the best companies in the world.


2. Determine to what extent you mean by “hating.” As the term is somewhat ambiguous full of varying degrees. For example, there is petty stuff such as “my boss ignores me,” then there the polar opposite which is my boss harasses me. If it’s the latter, then the applicant should leave right away. If this is not the case, one must determine whether their financial situation is conducive to unemployment and “resume dings”, by which I mean:


• Financial Stability – Can you afford to be out of work for over 4 – 5 months? I’d rather have a job that I dislike or even hate than to be broke.


• While you’ll probably find a job a lot quicker, stress breeds poor interviewing performance and you want to be calm and collected when finding a job – a task stressful enough on its own.


Employment Stability – Picture yourself in the next interviewers’ shoes. Will they look at your resume and consider you to be a flight risk? If you’ve had a lot of jobs in a short period of time, and you’re not being harassed, I would suggest that you think twice about letting that contempt make you quit. Employers want employees who are stable and your past experiences hold more weight than your spoken word…that I promise you. Also, never tell an interviewer that you were hating your last job…fyi.


3.Start looking around to find a new job on your free time, never quit on the fly (give your two weeks) and try to stick it out until you have another job. Easier said than done, however use your free hours to begin writing a resume and searching.


Treat the new job search like a side job. Plus, you get better employment offers when you’re still working. Employers may lower your salary offer thinking you’ll accept less and, eventually you may be forced to do so. Current employment is a great leverage in salary negotiations because it gives you another “out” and the employer will pay more to mitigate the chances of you staying at your current job.


4. Better Relationships. While this is happening, improve your current work relationships and do so even if you have to bite your tongue. First, never assume that the people are going to be better at your new job, rather focus on becoming better with people.


Interpersonal relationships, when it comes to a solid career may even be more important than intelligence and drive combined b/c nobody can be successful in a vacuum. Even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had to learn how to manage and deal with employees to reach their goals.


In the End


Just because your employer lost his or her professionalism, doesn’t mean that you act at their level. Don’t show that you are hating your job, rather be above it, be professional and realize that you can’t control others, you can only control what actions you take.


Ken Sundheim Google + runs a highly respected executive search firm by the name of KAS Placement Sales Recruiters a sales and marketing recruiting firm and, among other things, his organization was a finalist to be on Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Company’s list, is currently pitching a career show to a major production house for a TV series on job search and, on his spare time, he enjoys teaching classes at NYU.


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