Looking for a last job from which to retire?

We have an interesting customer demographic: the lion’s share of our customers are in their 40s and 50s. They’ve proven themselves in their careers – med device, biotech, pharma. They want to find a final place to work – ride out the next 10 years or so – have fun, sell something really meaningful – make good coin. They don’t want to be back in the job search mode again every three years – which seems to be the new normal.

So what to do? Best to reverse-engineer the answer – start at the end:  As we look at the year 2018 we see some interesting themes in stories of our candidates that landed the types of roles detailed above. There is enough insight – given a sampling size of approx. 150 – 200 candidates – to warrant a listing of things you can do now to reach the promised land: a great place for older workers to hang out and retire.

  • Seriously consider downgrading from a senior sales role (Director, manager) – herding cats was fun at one time when you were younger. Think about switching to a solo contributor role. Something where you are the product/subject expert and you are responsible for your own performance – not others.
  • Talk to someone who is working at a company you heard good things about re: corporate culture. Industry awards and accolades are nice, Glassdoor is nice, but nothing beats speaking to a senior-level sales person who works there. Ask them key questions, like: what is your competitive advantage? Who are your main competitors and what are you doing to close the gap on business vs them? What’s in the product pipeline and when do key products go off patent/license? Ask them about how the company invests in its older workers.
  • Linkedin is a brilliant tool for determining the age of a companies work force and tenure worked there. It takes some digging – but you’ll quickly identify those companies open to hiring older professionals. Look at the older sales professionals on their staff, see when they started working there. Give preference to those companies where older sales professionals were hired in the last 2-3 years – that’s an indicator to the corporate culture.

If you are in your later years of your career, guess what – you are in your prime years – you have so much to offer – you should be finishing off your career somewhere you love, having fun and minimizing your stress levels. 

If this is your goal, put down that Metamucil and call us; we’d like to help you find a home. And when we do, we’d like you to be one of our several hundred “trust agents” (previous customers, now part of employee referral programs) who can open doors at your new employer. Yes, this is “Pay it Forward” time. 

Job Search Stories You Can Relate to: “JC”

This is the story of a healthcare sales rep who sells a service-based product who wants to change to device or equipment-based sales. The words are from the client themselves, in this case “JC”.

“The industry I am in is going to be particularly hard-hit next year with cuts of up to 50%. I decided change is needed. Not being afraid of change but one who rather welcomes change as an opportunity and adventure, I’ve set about the task of looking for a new position. Medical device or equipment sales seems like a challenging and rewarding opportunity, given my current position has me dealing with all floors of the hospital from the ED department, to neurosurgery, oncology, BMT and selling to all levels for the hospital from C Level executive, Floor RN’s Case manages and surgeons. I thought this change would be a challenging yet achievable.

“I’ve been in sales or Business development my entire career. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been in the position to sell to people, from all walks of life, regionally, nationally, internationally. People are people ~ the cultures differ from country to country, so we must be aware of oneself situational surroundings and cultural differences. I have worked in a few different industries. Be it telecoms helping build country to country multi-million dollar to selling exotic and high-end cars at the retail level, e.g. Aston Martin, Ferrari. To survive and prosper in this industry one needs to be adept at the “Art of the Deal” especially when the sale cycle can be so long: the typical exotic cars custom-built with the delivery date of up to a year. Keeping a potential custom motivated and excited such a long time is no easy task.

“Now I find myself in the healthcare sales arena. Over the years I have found got Selling is selling I few basic components. Work Hard, Live with integrity, be honest even and especially when delivering news that nobody wants to hear. Holding yourself accountable and taking responsibility (eating humble pie in never pleasant) if you do all these things and Have a good understanding of the sales process you will become trusted. I pride myself on a level of trust I have built with various customers over the years. Trust and integrity of things we should not be taken lightly I never gambled with.

“Now it’s time to get to work. I’ve been networking reaching out to people asking for help and advice to try to uncover any unadvertised opportunities along with applying for positions from Company websites, MedReps, indeed.com etc. talking with recruiters. I have had success engaging employers but the only comments I’ve been given by employers is “We only employed people with device experience.” It’s like the chicken and egg! Nobody was born out of the womb as a medical sales professional – someone somewhere gave them a chance to prove themselves. Which is exactly where I am now – I’m looking for relationships that can open doors and provide me with a chance to prove myself.

“As you may guess from reading my story I am a little older than some entering the world of device sales. I have the “Grit” common to all top sales persons – and I do not want to believe that my age is a factor. Employers are telling me that not moving into management (by my age) in my career it seems negative. I’m passionate I enjoy selling and very good at it, so, is it so wrong to still be a Rep?

“In closing my story – I have a strong pedigree, good understanding of many disease states, knowledge of the healthcare market not seen by all because of my level of exposure to various departments within a hospital. I also have good business acumen, given my unique background. If your company values experience and appreciates 20 years’ experience and the wisdom associated with that experience, I’d love to talk with you.”


Note from Mark Bartz: if you would like to speak to JC, please e-mail me: mark@medicalsalesmentors.com so I can arrange your introduction. Note: we’re not recruiters – we are a specialized service: we help experienced sales professionals land their desired role in medical – biotech – pharma sales. Check us out at: MedicalSalesMentors.com

10 New Stats Vital to Your Job Search Success

I love Jobvite.com – each year they come out with a report regarding the job search “numbers” you need to know. And I like how granular they are with the details – right down to the sampling size: From their latest report: 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study: “As a rule, we do not rely on the validity of very small subsets of the data, especially sets smaller than 50-75 respondents.” For this year their sampling size was 1509 recruiters.

Here’s 10 takeaways:

82% – the percentage of job seekers open to new job opportunities.

35% – the percentage of married people who negotiated their compensation.

26% – the percentage of single people who negotiated their compensation.

19% – the percentage of people listing “Compensation” as the #1 factor for leaving a role.

25% – the percentage who applied to their current role via LinkedIN

30% – the percentage of job seekers who left a new job in 1st 90 days.

85% – the percentage of job seekers who received higher pay by negotiating their compensation.

44% – of those that negotiated their compensation, received 5-10% increase.

21% – of those that negotiated their compensation, received 11-20% increase.

22% – rejected a potential employer due to reviews on Glassdoor or other public company reviews.

By the way, it’s not your imagination: to find the “right” role, where you have fun, make good coin, and potentially hang out for 7+ years is not an easy task. You can achieve that goal – it takes preparation. If you’d like to know how we prepare and package you for success, call us. We work with experienced sales candidates seeking a role in Med Devices, Biotech or Pharma. We promise to be the shortest easiest path to the role you love – that’s what we do here. With 21 years’ experience we’re really really good at it.

The Nation’s Elite “Un-Recruiters”

I suspect we may be the world’s most specialized service: we only work with job seekers who:

  • Have 15+ years professional sales experience.
  • Are seeking a Sales or Business Development role – so senior sales, sales manager, sales director, C-suite.
  • Strictly aiming for these industries: Medical Devices, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical.

We help these folks land great roles. We do this with a myriad of tools – and on that note, we’ve just added one more tool to our tool box: we are partnering with the nation’s finest recruiting professionals: “Un-Recruiters”. We cherry picked them based upon feedback from our customers. When asked, “Do you have a recruiting professional you particularly like?” and the crème came to the top and select names appeared. Short of knighting these folks for their accolades, we decided on a fitting moniker: “Un-Recruiters” – meaning different from the traditional. Elite.

I’d like to introduce you to one of our “Un-Recruiters”. His name is Michael Rapp. His company is Rapp Executive Recruiting. His contact info: michael@rappcareers.com Before I get into my interview with him, a clarification of our relationship to recruiters. We are not recruiters. We work with a handful of the nation’s best recruiters where we see fit. Those recruiters do not compensate us financially if you should land a role via their services. And here’s my conversation with Michael, conducted about a week ago. MB – Mark Bartz, MR – Michael Rapp.


MB: You are somewhat new to the recruiting world?

MR: While I am reluctant to call myself a recruiter, I suppose you could say I have been recruiting talent as a hiring manager for over 25 years.  I call myself the “Un-Recruiter” because I am a business partner first and recruiter second.  Formally, I was most recently the VP of Recruiting Operations for a small Seattle-based firm for the last two years and left to start my own practice a few months ago.

MB: A little bit more on your background. Prior to your most recent VP of Recruiting role, you held roles as Vice President GM for Essilor Laboratories of America the optical business, Managing Director- North America for a new division at LSG Sky Chefs, VP Sales for Petmate, Division General Manager at Nestle Waters, VP Sales at Balfour, Zone Manager launching Brita Water Filters for The Clorox Company, National Manager Sales Training at Frito-Lay.  Did I miss anything?

MR No, other than a few Board Positions at Essilor and a brief stint as a Vistage Chair.

MB: The big question. . . why do you like this recruiting role? I always ask my clients the “why” question – sort of ‘what makes you tick’ – as that reveals a lot about a person – namely who they are today.

MR: I have a model that I use with myself and others that forces you to look at your root passions in addition to the “Knowledge and Skills” focus we are all so familiar with.  It’s easy to identify your tangible passions.  For instance, I like guitars and wine and my vintage Honda 750 motorcycle.  If you were to hear me play, you know that I can’t make a living with a guitar, but maybe someone who has that passion could have a career in the industry – making guitars, booking events for performers, working for Guitar Center – whatever. 

Over time, I was able to identify that my root passion: the thing that I always gravitate to is assembling things.  I am a mechanic…an assembler.  Doesn’t matter if it was a start-up at Clorox called Brita or literally wrenching my 750.  I am most happy when I am given the box of parts and I can put something together that works, often finding or creating the missing or defective pieces.  Where Knowledge, Skills and Root Passion intersect is the sweet spot for your career.  So often we focus on the Knowledge and Skills parts and wonder why we aren’t happy in the new role which is just like the unhappy one we just left or were asked to leave.  If we don’t find our Root Passion, we are likely to repeat career roles that may not be your true and authentic fit.

MB: You’d mentioned something rather rare – at least for me – in role as a recruiting professional – that unlike many of your peers you’re actually sourcing talent for roles you yourself often held yourself and performed.

MR: Yes. I didn’t realize that it was so unique, but I now suspect it is. I can speak to specific roles which I’ve held, as you noted earlier: Managing Director, VP of Sales, Division Manager, Vice President of Sales, Zone Manager, National Manager Sales Training. I have been on the ground level in those roles – so I don’t operate off theories of what works within those roles – I know firsthand.  In many cases, I have either been in the role, been the hiring manager for the role or led the role that my clients are looking to fill.

MB: So you set yourself apart by personal experience within a wide set of roles – but you have a philosophy that has to do with the client – the employer.

MR: It’s about a true business partnership. You see that on many recruiter’s websites.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many fine, smart recruiters out there, but how can you understand the role and the client if you have spent your entire career in talent acquisition as a recruiter?  When I launched Brita – I called on every retailer who would listen.  I remember when I sat down with my new buyer at a little account called Wal-Mart.  Rather than walk in with a sales presentation showing all the features and benefits of the Brita product and my dead-net pricing, etc.  I walked in with a blank yellow legal pad and asked the buyer what was important to her.  How did she personally earn her bonus?  What were her KPIs?  Guess what?  Every time I came in, I would bring her something that addressed those things! It was so obvious, yet magical.  That year I won a Vendor Partner of the Quarter Award by becoming a resource to the buyer, not a salesperson.  It was a lesson early in my career that I hadn’t forgotten.

MB: Your sweet spot for candidates?

MR: Senior Manager or Director to C-Suite.  Functionally … Sales and Business Development as well as Operations, Finance, Marketing and HR.

MB: You made an interesting comment about your approach to clients: “Look at the situation, determine what may be missing, find the right parts, put the parts together”

MR: Yes, in all areas of life. I was a coach of a little league baseball team. We worked closely with these great kids to figure out what each of them was best at, then encouraged their focus on those areas. As a recruiting professional, I like to do the same: size up the situation and see what’s really needed. To build relationships with my clients and candidates. I’m happiest when I put things together – it’s not just the people, it’s the process that leads to great success – I pioneered a missing sales process for Essilor. We would all sit at the national sales meeting each January where we were told to grow this product 15% or whatever.  I sat there and thought, well, how are we supposed to do that? I was able to take that missing Sales Operations and Planning piece and develop a process around it, which identified where the opportunities to grow were and build a specific business plan by account leveraging the tools we had.  Leadership started to notice the process once sales performance increased dramatically. Salespeople were less stressed because they had a plan of how to sell to each of their customers, based on the customer’s needs.  Sound familiar?

MB: You are looking for candidates and clients?

MR: Yes. For those of you who are candidates – I’m limited bandwidth so can’t field phone calls, but please reach out to me at michael@rappcareers – and be sure in your subject line to state: “Referred by Mark Bartz” as that helps prioritize you as a Key Candidate!  Likewise, if you are an employer seeking a true business partner, I’d love to speak with you and get a feel for the unique challenges your company is facing. My commitment is very clear: “You simply will not be presented with candidates that I would not hire myself”.

MB: Well said, sir. Thank you for the interview. And thank you for being one of our “Un-Recruiters”. I think people will quickly realize why we selected you.

MR: Thanks Mark. I appreciate the relationship and the many years we have known each other!  I look forward to helping!




Feeling Old? Read this Job Search Success Story

This is an actual interview with a customer of ours – we’ll call him “WM” – conducted today. We interview our customers as we help them land new roles – this helps us figure out what we did right – what we can improve on. Here’s part of the interview. MB = me!

MB: Your goal was to land a role you love, making a good income and finding a place to call “home” perhaps up to when you retire?

WM: Yes.

MB: And you landed that role. Congrats!

WM: Thank you.

MB: I’d asked you about the value of Gallup Strengths Finders – that companies really do use that in their assessment of you. What was your experience?

WM: It’s true. Nearly all the larger companies knew what that is and use it; only about half of the smaller companies were familiar with Gallup.

MB: You and I discovered a revelation about “trust agents” (inside “real” contacts that open doors for you). Let’s talk about that.

WM: Well, two things come to mind that are very surprising. The 1st: I figured the trust agents would be motivated primarily by the employee referral commission, which is $2K – $3K. But it turns out that is not their main motivator; their main motivator was simply to help me. People are altruistic – you don’t see that in the news do you? The 2nd thing that surprised me: I thought if I reached out to someone from, as an example, Boston Scientific, that if I asked for their help that trust agent would only help me get into Boston Scientific. What I discovered – and this is a great surprise – is that people would look beyond their company for opportunities for me – they would – after speaking with me – reach out to their colleagues at other companies. I was floored to see that happen on a regular basis.

MB: Discouragement. Let’s talk about that.

WM: It’s very real. You can’t help but to get down on yourself and lose some self confidence in this process. I think the key to overcoming that – and I could have done a better job of this – is consistently staying focused on a few select targets where you have several trust agents – that gets you the fastest results. Your resume and your LinkedIN profile are great for showing your credentials – but to get those credentials in front of the right people takes trust agents.

MB: Your resume was used as the outline for your interviews?

WM: Yes. Almost always.

MB: What was a hurdle in your job search – something you would change today if you were in a job search?

WM: Really believing in the value of connections. In the past it was about qualifications. Now qualifications just get you to the starting line. I didn’t 100% buy into the notion I needed to work my connections – but in a wise way – the way you taught me.

MB: Once you found this job online everything moved very quickly?

WM: Yes – I suddenly was into a phone screen and interview and then done. It’s amazing how things change so fast overnight.

MB: You met with several of my trust agents?

WM: Yes. They were very warm, very helpful (lol) – one told me “You don’t want to work here” – which is exactly the candor I needed to hear!

MB: You mentioned some technology issues in your job search?

WM: Yes, I was scheduled for some online video interviews – those didn’t exactly go as planned. But, it was funny, we just went back to old school: talking on the phone, then getting referred to a face-to-face.

MB: Your advice to older job seekers today – and you are somewhat old – you’re, what, 104?

WM: I feel like that some days. My advice to us “older” folks. Realize that the whole job search game has changed. And that you, as an experienced sales leader, offer invaluable wisdom to a company. So don’t give up on yourself. Above all, keep laser focused on your goal – and get help where you need help. AS in anything in life that is important, it is always wise to get help vs trying to do things on your own and hoping for the best.

MB: Would you like to be one of our new trust agents.

WM: Will you stop the old man jokes if I do?

MB: Yes.

WM: Sure.


Thank You

Thank You.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped make our company a success; we’re now going on 22 years.

I can’t imagine the amount of change we’ve seen in job searching since then: Microsoft bought LinkedIN, online interviews are a norm and employee referral programs are the go-to way to hire talent. Everything has changed yet some things remain the same: the issue of trust has never changed and I’m guessing it never will.

Trust remains the common denominator in all job search success. Without it you can be the best qualified candidate and never land the role you love. With it, you get the breaks you need to land the role you love. Our whole business model is based on that premise: we’re strictly using our own trust agents (previous customers) to open doors for our new customers – this is a landmark business model – and we continue to separate ourselves from all other services who don’t have these “real” relationships.

It’s a whole new job search game.

It’s now about branding, Gallup Assessments, employee referral programs, getting into unadvertised opportunities via real relationships and clever tactics that create perfect timing. Imagine sitting down with someone to play some childhood game: say Monopoly. And the game starts – and your opponent says, “Oh, there are 137 new rules, which we didn’t go over, but you’ll learn those as we go.” That’s job searching today. You don’t have time to make mistakes. Time = money.

Its been an interesting 22 years. We (Mark, Matt, Brian and Bonnie) realize no matter how good we get at helping you land a great role, we will never stop learning. Not a week goes by don’t think, “Wow, OK, that’s new.”

So thank you for teaching us so much. In many ways we, the teacher/mentor, are forever the student.  

Who is Your Favorite Recruiter?

We need your help!

If you are an experienced sales professional within our wheelhouse: Medical Devices, Biotech or Pharmaceutical – please share with us the name(s) of recruiting professionals you really like. We’re looking to pair with America’s elite recruiting professionals – as our services are a complement to their services and a win/win for all parties. For those who help me on this project, I will share with you the names of the suggested recruiters. We’re not looking for an army of recruiters – just 12.

Please send me their information: mark@medicalsalesmentors.com

Ready To Job Search? Find out with 3 Easy Questions.

I like numbers because they tell a more accurate story. When it comes to asking people “Are you ready to job search?” their answer is typically devoid of numbers – we find most answer: “Yes” and as we start working with them on their job search we discover they are not ready; they are akin the middle-aged person who believes they are in good physical shape and could go five rounds in a boxing match. Which is a great analogy for a job search.

Yes, you need to be ready to step into the ring. But how do you know if you are ready? Can we “measure” your readiness, take the guess work out of our answer? Turns out we can. The following three questions relate to your LinkedIN. We know the proper answers to these three questions based on the success stories of our candidates; probably a good place to mention we help experienced sales professionals land great roles in medical sales. We interview the candidates as they land their roles – we review numbers that are part of their success.

The Three Questions:

1.) Your college alumni. Open LinkedIN. Go into your Network. Plug in the industry you would be targeting in a job search: medical devices, biotech or pharmaceutical. Look up the number of your 1st level connections in LinkedIN within those industries. Next: take that list and find out how many of those folks are your college alumni. The “college alumni” connection is very powerful. Chances are your current total of alumni within the industries you target is weak. If you have less than 30, it’s time to beef up.

2.) Your endorsements FOR other folks. Make a list of the 10 companies you’d most want to work for. Now look at the number of endorsements you’ve given for folks at those companies. Your endorsements are read by employers and recruiters seeking talent – they know birds of a feather flock together. What’s a good number? I’d suggest at least 3. Now’s the time to reach out to old colleagues who are working at companies you want to target – ask them, “I’d like to endorse you – what would you like me to say?” You’ll find door-opening folks you haven’t chatted with in eons – and you’ll get clever exposure at the very companies you are targeting.

3.) Your Profile Views in Last 90 days: When we review the analytics of our success stories, one of the initial stats we often see is about 200 viewers in 90 days. After we take over their project that number commonly hits 1000 folks viewing their profile over 90 days. What’s your score? And when you look at the viewers, who are they? Are they the quality of viewer you want? Hint: your LinkedIN profile is not “If you build it, they will come” – we do a lot of work for you to get volume of your quality viewers. 

So how do you increase the volume of your quality viewers? We’ll talk about that in our next blog article!

Please note: we have everything you need to land the job you love in medical sales. We help professionals with 15+ years experience find a new “home” where they can be happy, make a good living, and perhaps even retire from. Here’s our website: www.MedicalSalesMentors.com


3 Horrible Ways to Screw Up Your Career. Learn From These Mistakes

There’s a wonderful title for a book of years ago: “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat”.

Truer words were never spoken when it comes to making a career change. It is easy to “stay in the boat” as you feel you have control over things there. But that’s a false security. The boat may be leaking, the boat may be going somewhere you don’t want to go. You feel it in your bones when something isn’t right. 

Thinking of leaving the boat: finding work elsewhere? Do yourself a favor and learn from the three biggest mistakes job seekers make. Now bear in mind we’re limited in our scope: we’re strictly talking about folks with 15+ years experience in the medical – healthcare sales markets. Yes, we’re specialized:

1.) Don’t apply for an online position without an inside contact / employee referral. Your qualifications are not enough to get an interview anymore. Of the 200 clients we worked with in the last 12 months, only 1 got an interview and a job without an inside contact / employee referral. We have a nickname for her: Wonder Woman (you know who you are, “Wonder Woman”).

2.) Don’t submit a resume that does not properly brand you. Yup – sounds a bit cold, but we need to make a product out of you. If we don’t? We’ve only written an obituary of where you were and what you did. You are not the same person you were 5-10 years ago. What’s the first thing people do when they join a dating service – do they go on a date? Nope. They fill out a profile = they brand themselves. How in the world will you find the right match if you don’t know yourself intimately? This is branding. You must have it on the resume. You must have it on your LinkedIN profile.

3.) Don’t wait too long. You know that boat you’re in? Think about who you were when you got in that boat – now consider who you are today. You’ve changed haven’t you. Are you happy? Do you enjoy what you are doing? It’s scary to admit it’s time for a change – you have a family to provide for, you don’t want to risk anything. But you know you can do better than this boat. . .and those feelings in your bones whisper: You are not getting younger. 

We’re experts in helping you get on the right boat. A boat going where you want to go. . . no walking on water, no risks. We’ll help you get on the right boat where you can have fun, maximize your income and perhaps even find a boat to retire from. It’s what we do – but note we are strictly for folks who haven’t conducted a job search in a while and want or need expert help.

Services like ours? None. We’re unique ~ just like you. See: MedicalSalesMentors.com 

Think you know the “Unadvertised Job Market”?

It isn’t your imagination – a lot of your colleagues are landing roles in the unadvertised job market. Although the stats of exactly what percentage of jobs go unadvertised are hard to come by, we can at least give you solid data to answer the question “Why” so many unadvertised jobs?

Some stats from the Jobvite 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study. Note this was a survey of 1509 recruiters.

1.) 82% of employees are open to new job opportunities.

2.) 51% of individuals change jobs every 1-5 years; this is up from 42% last year.

3.) 30% of job seekers have left a job within the first 90 days of starting.

4.) Why did they leave in the first 90 days? 43% cite their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected and 32% call company culture a reason for leaving during this period.

Some stats from the Glassdoor report “65 HR and Recruiting Stats for 2018. Note this was a survey of 750 hiring decision makers.

5.) 19% – the average annual overall turnover rates.

6.) 5.2% – the average pay raise for a new role.

Here’s some stats we (Medical Sales Mentors)  found over the last year – bear in mind our sampling is about 200 candidates a year – so we’re a smaller sampling than those above:

7.) 50% – About 50% of our candidates landed a role that was never advertised.

8.) 60 Days – vacated roles are all over the place; companies are not in a hurry to fill them and wait on average 60 days to post the opportunity to the public. And a side-note: a lot of times when our candidates landed a new role that was initially unadvertised, the company then posted the job as (what we are guessing) corporate policy to advertise all opportunities to the public. So don’t be disheartened if you land a job offer and then see your job advertised online.

If you’d like help in your job search, check us out, we’ve been doing this for 21 years, and we’re pretty darn good at it. Our focus? The “lost generation” – those folks with 15+ years sales experience who read the “writing on the wall” that they need to be proactive NOW in their job searches. We are experts at helping you find a role you love, where you have fun, make what you’re worth and perhaps even retire from. Also contact me directly at: mark@medicalsalesmentors.com