“Recruiting should be viewed as a business partner, someone who is critical to the success of the business.”

Matthew Caldwell


Check Out These Highlights:

As I look back over my corporate career, hiring the right people was a necessity for the success of the sales division I managed. Even though I have my own business now, partnering with other business owners where we can partner to help each other’s business grow is the exact same principle I used in creating thriving working partnerships during my corporate career.

So think about the importance of finding, hiring, and partnering with the right people for business success?


Improving Business Success Through Recruiting Quality Talent With Yvan Demosthenes (EP. 82)

As always, thanks so much for joining us. I know when we talk about sales, everybody gets that pit in their stomach and they think, “Ick. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to have a sales conversation. Can I hire someone to do it for me?” All of the above. I want you to change that frame of reference. I’m truly on a mission to change the word sales from that icky sleazy manipulation to coming from a place of love, care, and respect.

To help you on your journey on that little mindset shift, I have a free communication style assessment, my gift to you. Go to my website, WhitmanAssoc.com/CSA. You will get two reports. One, it will spotlight your natural communication superpowers, and you’ll get the flip side, your lowest score, which is usually our blind spots. You’ll get a report to spotlight that.

My motivational quote to set the mood for this episode is by Mathew Caldwell. Mathew says, “Recruiting should be viewed as a business partner, someone who is critical to the success of the business.” As I look back over my corporate career which was eons ago, hiring the right people was a necessity to the success of the sales division I managed. Even though I have my own business now, partnering with other business owners where we can partner and help each other grow our business, share our lists, and all those kinds of things. All of the principles, I used in creating a thriving working partnership while in corporate. I’m using those same skills now. Think about the importance of finding, hiring, and partnering with the right people for your business.

In this episode, my guest is Yvan Demosthenes. Yvan is a sales professional with more than 20 years of experience, 16 years within talent acquisition and recruiting, which I’m so excited about. During his career, he has attained several awards from GE, CareerBuilders, Monster.com, and others. Yvan has helped companies of all sizes with their online advertising, technology integration, diversity recruiting efforts, and overall recruiting strategies.

He received his MBA from Thomas More University. He received his leadership training from Harvard Business School and has his D&I Certification from Cornell. Yvan lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three kids and is a parishioner at Guardian Angels Church in the community of Anderson. Yvan, thank you so much for being on and sharing your zone of genius with my audience.


About Yvan Demosthenes:

CSG 82 | Recruiting Quality TalentYvan is a sales professional with more than 20 years of experience, and 16 years in talent acquisition and recruiting. During his career, he has attained several awards from GE, CareerBuilder, Monster.com, and others.

Yvan has helped companies of all sizes with their online advertising, technology integration, diversity recruiting efforts, and overall recruiting strategies. He received his MBA from Thomas More University, received his Leadership Training from Harvard Business School, and has his D&I Certification from eCornell.


How to Get in Touch with Yvan Demosthenes:


Connie, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for the wonderful introduction. I will add that I am a proud University of Cincinnati Bearcat alum. Go Bearcats.

We could take the adults, we could never take the kid or our college alma mater out of us. Rutgers grad at New Jersey. You’re a Cincinnati dude. I’m a Jersey girl.

That’s a beautiful campus as well, Rutgers. I had the good fortune to spend some time at Johnson & Johnson headquarters. That was amazing. I almost moved my family there after spending so much time there. My alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, is in my heart. We’ve had a pretty good run with football. We’re getting ready to go to the basketball tournament. Actually, we tip off at 1:00 for the conference basketball championship. Again, go University of Cincinnati Bearcats.


CSG 82 | Recruiting Quality Talent


Getting Into The Sales World

You’re so cute. I love it. Shout out to the alma mater. First question. Can you tell me a little bit more about how you got first into the sales world?

If you don’t mind, let me start from the beginning. I love to start there so people understand who I am and who’s communicating the message. I think it’ll resonates a little bit more. I was born in Haiti. At six months old, my parents came to America via New York. I lived out in Long Island until I was ten years old. One day, my father who’s a physician came home and said that he no longer wanted to live in New York. Two to three months later, we were living in, of all places, Lima, Ohio. For those of you that don’t know or have never heard of Lima, Ohio, the world revolves around Lima, Ohio. It is truly the center of the universe. More to talk about that on a different day.

It’s a wonderful community, but diversity stuck out to me moving to Lima because, in my neighborhood and the schools that I went to, we’re literally like a United Nations of people. Our next-door neighbor was from Japan. The person who lived across the street was from somewhere else. The other next-door neighbor was from Jamaica. One of my friends was from Greece. Every other house had a story.

Come to Lima, Ohio, and then I stick out like a sore thumb. There weren’t a lot of people that looked like me. As a matter of fact, the next closest Haitian was 100 miles away. With that, I started school at the University of Cincinnati. There was some thought of maybe going into the family business after my father wanted me to be a physician.

I had the good fortune of helping my friend with one of his businesses. He was a couple of years older than me. Both of his grandparents of both sides were furniture retailers. They both had businesses around furniture and their own stories about that. His father had a furniture store in Dayton, Ohio. People from all over as far as Pittsburgh and Chicago would all come because he had exclusivity to a lot of these different types of furniture that only this select or privileged few could get. He wanted to start his own empire, so to speak. He asked me to come on board and help. It didn’t take me long to realize what an amazing thing sales was.

I had the good fortune of helping my friend with one of his businesses. He wanted to start his own empire and asked me to come on board and help. It didn't take me long to realize what an amazing thing sales was. Click To Tweet

I should share with you that my father is a psychiatrist, so I became fascinated with human behavior. People came in saying that they were just looking and that they would come in off the street to just be looking and ended up spending thousands of dollars on furniture. You could tell by their body language too. Sometimes, if they said they weren’t looking, they were doing more than just looking. If they were just looking and they didn’t want you coming around, based on the way that you approach them, they would literally chase you around asking for questions and end up signing big tickets. That was my entry into sales. It was on the retail end, and being fascinated with human behavior and the sales process.

You’re making me laugh because when my kids started school, I got my undergraduate at Rutgers, and then I went for my MBA a few years later at night working full-time, and I got my MBA. I always said to my husband when we had kids. Life takes on its own dynamic. I always said, “I want to go back for my PhD.” My husband would say, “What do you want to do?”

I had a thriving career and everything. I said, “I want to do psychology because sales is just human behavior and understanding how to connect human to human, nothing more and nothing less.” I feel like, ”Am I missing anything?” It’s natural. You’re natural too. We connect. We feel each other. Immediately, we got on. We were giggling within three seconds. It’s that human connection and it’s a natural gift. I think you have that same natural gift.

Thank you.

Sales Is About Human Behavior

I mean that sincerely, but at the core, sales is about human behavior. Well said.

Connie, I didn’t ask you this. Is our conversation on video? Will our audience get to see the video?

Yes, they’re going to see us. For those of you that are on Apple Podcasts, you’re losing that you don’t get to see my beautiful face.

True story, by the way.

I do have a YouTube, so some are watching YouTube, and some just like to listen. Whatever your jam is. I have audiences from different venues, but yes.

I’ll share with you when I learned so many things that I use now. Being in retail and seeing these things, I use them in my interpersonal relationships as well as professional. As you can see here, I try to be authentic and try to give a little bit of myself. Hence being in the middle of my home with my daughter’s picture. People are actually seeing what they get. I learned that when they walked into the store and I watched, and a lot of what I did, I’d watch and ask questions, I would see what was going on, but couldn’t articulate. You could be authentic and professional at the same time.

You could be authentic and professional at the same time. Click To Tweet

You can learn to connect with strangers. You may only have 30 seconds or 1 minute to connect with someone, but simple things such as mirroring, which some people may not understand or buy into it. If someone is shy and quiet, you don’t want to run up to them and start being gregarious, loud, and screaming at them. You want to respect that. You see an identity, and so you learn how to approach them. On the other side, if these guys are walking into the showroom after being at a tailgate, you don’t want to approach them being meek either. You need to learn how to find the balance and assess the situation.

I recall one instance in particular, for whatever reason, we were shorthanded in the store. We had families looking for this for their homes. We had another family who had their parents there who wanted to buy stuff because they were new. I got enough courage to ask them to all follow me. I did a brief presentation on what was available because that showroom had a lot of customization that was possible. I realized if I were to go to each one, there might be an opportunity to miss out on all this enthusiasm. You know how sometimes customers feel cheated or slighted if they were there first and you approach somebody else after they’ve been waiting?

I ask them all to come by and then I give them a brief presentation. To my amazement, they each came up to me and commended me. I think it was 4 or 5 groups of customers, and they all ended up buying from me that afternoon. That taught me something as well. If you respect people and you’re honest, they all knew we were short, I was the only one in the store. They got it and they all listened. I shared my knowledge and I was able to answer their questions. It’s not quite the approach that they had expected when they walked in, but my sense of respect and making sure that they were able to attain the information that they needed to make a knowledgeable decision helped them all. I learned a great lesson that day.

That word respect is so important. It’s in my intro, sales has that ick factor and I get it. The shows on TV and the history of sales is the win-lose, “I’ve got you. Cha-ching. I beat you.” That’s where that all comes from. Here, you were short-staffed. It is what it is. All these people are walking in, and that level of respect. That’s why people pause and think, “This guy is a little different. He’s trying to be mindful because he’s got all these people and they’re short-staffed.” What was the solution? You came up with a solution for that specific situation to help them, but it was always about helping them. That’s respect. I love that story.

I’ll even add that I’m fortunate enough, Thomas More University where I received my MBA invited me to be an adjunct for professional selling. It’s an accelerated course in their class. There are a lot of marketing students in there. Most are taking it because they need credits. They’re not super enthusiastic about being salespeople necessarily. Just one or two. That’s one of the things I make sure to tell them and make sure they realize salespeople for whatever people think that ick factor, which I think is more in a consumer or client’s mind than reality, the world revolves because of salespeople like you and I.

Without salespeople, who is going to bring new products and services to the marketplace? Who’s going to go and share the latest, greatest, and best practices with individuals and companies? They’ll be left behind. Only those that have resources to go out, explore, and discover new ways are going to be able to thrive in the marketplace without us. I’ll even say, even the big companies like GE, Honeywell, and Amazon rely and they need salespeople to come and share with them what’s available and how they can do things better.

CSG 82 | Recruiting Quality Talent
Recruiting Quality Talent: Without salespeople, who is going to bring new products and services to the marketplace? Who’s going to share the latest, greatest, and best practices with individuals and companies?


I love what I do and I try to share with people, “You can’t control everybody. All you can do is control yourself. There are all these sayings, “No doesn’t mean no, it just means not right now. Never take no for an answer,” and all of these things. If I had a nickel for every time a client blew me off or told me they didn’t need me, or they were just looking, and then they ended up buying for me, that would be a great commission stream as well. How many of them come around and say, “I remember. Some guy came to me months ago talking about the same thing. I need to find who he is.” I’m happy to provide that service to my clients.

The Biggest Career Challenge

What would you say is the biggest challenge you faced during your career?

I don’t think my challenges are any different than anyone else’s. You try to perfect your craft and you try to overcome barriers, whether they’re gatekeepers, distance, or any lack of resources that you may have. Things arise. I will say that I came from a place where all this was new to me. I remember being in my MBA class. My undergrad was in Natural Science, concentration in Biology. I had no grasp of the business world. My mind just exploded. I’m reflecting back on my past because I got my MBA when I was in my early 30s. All these things started making sense and they click.

One says, “I wish I would’ve known what I didn’t know or been able to seek out mentorship.” I tell people, you saw me on the phone with one of my candidates. Coaching is unbelievable. The concept of coaching wasn’t even in my mind. I couldn’t even have asked for it because I didn’t understand. A lot of the things that have made me successful, I had to figure out on my own. Luckily, I was able to, but I had some good managers and some bad ones. The good ones that were able to assist and guide me helped. Bad managers I have to discover. It’s not that they were bad people.

They’re just bad managers.

Maybe they got a role because they knew the boss.

They were there the longest.

They were there the longest or they were good at selling, but that didn’t make them a good manager. It’s all these different things. One of the realizations in my career was realizing the impact of relationship selling. It was a huge turning point for me.

It’s all about the relationship. I’m laughing because life is a great teacher. In the intro, my communication style assessment, we all have blind spots. If no one shines a light on our blind spots, we don’t even know they’re there. That’s why they’re called blind spots. It’s the same thing in life. Life is a great teacher, sometimes a harsh teacher, but a great teacher. I just want to comment. All managers should not be managers. I paraphrased, but I agree with that. They’re great at whatever that skill is, but that doesn’t translate them to being great mentors, coaches, or bosses.

I have found that in my 20 years in corporate, before I opened my business 20 years ago, I probably had two good managers. The rest were horrifying. Here’s the thing though, as a business owner now, as a coach now, as a sales leader teaching people sales, what I learned from the bad managers has served me well because you know what doesn’t work. It is horrifying that you could never do or it was wrong to treat another human that way.

What Things Companies Are Lacking

Life is life. It teaches you, but also even in those bad experiences, you walked away with some nugget or some learning piece or a change within yourself that now makes us better at coaching or whatever it is. I want to shift for a minute. You help people. Just before we started recording, one of your clients, you were coaching, interviewing, and all of those things. Looking at the overall recruitment strategies, what are some things that you see a lot of companies are lacking? I have a lot of executives and people who work in corporate, as well as business owners like ourselves. What should we be looking for so that we don’t make those mistakes?

I don’t know if I can necessarily speak to that because I think from where I sit, although there are some commonalities, things are unique to every organization as well.

I agree with that.

I will say that overall, the attraction of talent is changing so much that our companies or corporate America is missing the mark. Unfortunately, those that are doing a good job are the ones that we all hear about. They’re the ones that are spreading distance or making distance from the others. They’re getting the best talent. They’re being able to choose who they want, and then everybody else is left to fight and try to get on board somewhere else where they’re not as well equipped to even bring you in.

We can talk about so many things. Automation for one, diversity, recruiting. I’ve been sharing with people, “If you don’t have a diversity strategy, you’re starting off short-handed.” What you’re telling yourself and your company is that you don’t need to attract a portion of the population. You’re right off the bat working from the short end of the stick.

CSG 82 | Recruiting Quality Talent
Recruiting Quality Talent: If you don’t have a diversity strategy, you’re starting off shorthanded.


Blind spots.

Yeah, because people have different experiences. For instance, if you are a national or global company and you focus your efforts whether it’s on purpose or not, but you focus your efforts one way and you’re getting 98% men, you’re missing out on half the population. If you have a strategy that does not attract military veterans or their family members, you’re leaving out a huge part of the demographic that brings some phenomenal skillsets to your company.

Absolutely, and disciplines.

Let me also say that we’re in an age where our population is growing at 55 and older at a phenomenal rate. There’s a potential there to have someone who can be a game changer in your organization based on their knowledge and experience, and have some truly huge impact on your organization. If you’re not paying attention to that, you’re going to miss out on that workforce. That’s a growing workforce. With every passing day, week, month, and year, you’re shrinking the pool of candidates that you can have.

Truly, if you’re a smaller company, maybe it’s not as painful, but I tell people this too. Just because you’re looking for an accountant, you’re not just competing with the banks and the IRS or any firms. You’re competing with everybody because everybody needs accountants. You can use that thought process with just about any role in any position. You have to have a good approach to expanding and widening that pool for yourself.

It’s blind spots when you don’t have different perspectives. Two comments on that. Gary Vee is from Jersey. He’s a Jersey guy. He’s all over the internet. He is a philanthropist, but he’s also an Angel investor. One of my kids follows him too. He’s very diverse, which I like. He curses and stuff, so that resonates with the kids. A lot of his stuff doesn’t resonate with me, but one day I remember I was listening to his podcast or an interview that he did. He said that kids are not afraid to come to him and say, “I have this great idea, Gary. Can you give me some money for it?” They have it all planned out with their ideas. There are so many missing pieces because they’re young. They don’t have a lot of life and a lot of experience.

He says, “You, 55, 60, 65, 70-year-olds, why aren’t you calling me?” It’s because you have all of this life experience, but the chances of you being able to translate that into real and successful money. Not necessarily that money measures success, but that you could create a thriving and successful business just because of exactly what you just said. You have so much experience and you’ve seen so much that you’re not going to make mistakes that the kids are making. He said, “I’m waiting to give you people money. Where are you?” I giggled because I was maybe 56 when I saw that interview.

I remember I was starting another podcast. I was changing my business. I created another division. As I was talking to colleagues and friends who did not have their own business, they were like, “Why are you doing that? Aren’t you looking to retire?” It was funny the first time I was asked, I paused and I said, “Huh? Retire? I’m too young. What are you talking about?” To me, it was, “No, I have more to do. What do you mean slow down?” I feel like I’m amping up because I have all of this knowledge now that I know what to do with it.

Doesn’t retirement mean that you get to do what you want?

I get to do what I want now.

If you wanted to climb Mount Everest, or if you wanted to hang out at Starbucks, Burger King, or start your own business. We talked about my daughter, I can’t wait for the day when I buy her an animal hospital. I sit and greet everybody that comes in the front door to this animal. I’m looking forward to retirement. I’m going to be a phenomenal animal greeter.

That’s what I’m saying. Slowing down, there’s nothing wrong with retiring or looking forward to that, but I would giggle when people would ask me that. It’s like, “Have you met me? Do you see my energy level? Could you imagine me not having something to do or a purpose every day? I’d shrivel up and die.” It’s so polar opposite of how my brain thinks. The other thing I wanted to comment on was diversity, and this will be my last comment. We’re almost out of time, but it’s important.

I’m here all day, Connie.

I know. You’re so cute. The attention span of the audience including myself, we have a low attention span. Here’s the other important thing that you said about diversity that we forget about what’s important. Every one of us and, every human that walks this earth, we all have a different life experience. We now are finding or transmitting biases, perspectives, and beliefs from fourteen generations that it’s actually traveling and handed down through our DNA. It’s not even just the experiential piece that you learn between the age of 1 and 5. You have men and women. I love how you said that. We do think differently.

I’m Italian. I grew up with a very big Italian family and I always use the story, Christmas Eve. I remember the first time I took it over, my aunts, my mom, and everybody was getting older. My generation took over the holidays. I remember the first one, I was having 40 people. I remember talking to a friend and she’s like, “You’re doing Christmas Eve?” I’m like, “Yeah, my first one.” How many people? I go, “40, it’s going to be so much fun.” The reaction was hilarious. She goes, “Wait, what?” I said, “How many people are you having?” She goes, “Six.” I go, “6, 40, what’s the difference?”

Tapping Into Diversity

Here’s the thing. I grew up with 70 people around the table and that was normal for me, where her perspective was like, “40 people, you’re not going to be able to sleep for a week planning that.” It’s perspective. We have these biases through generations, through how we were raised, male/female, and where we grew up. You were saying Long Island. I’m a Jersey girl. It impacts how we see the world. Here’s the most important thing, and I know you believe this too. It’s not good or bad, right or wrong. Why aren’t we tapping into that diversity of our human individualness to create even a better experience for anybody who enters our orbit?” For sales, I think that’s important.

Connie, I couldn’t agree with you more. Very well said. I love to experience people’s homes and families. When I can go in there, smell the food, and hear the stories, although all those things, there are differences. We’re much more alike than we are different. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home with a recipe or come home and shared a story that resonates with the family or others. More importantly, how many times have we got into businesses and we’re like, “We should take that back and talk about it?” Bring best practices in what we see too. Same thing.

We're much more alike than we are different. Click To Tweet

I have a client recently who we place HVAC, of all things. HVAC is huge in this region. I don’t know if it is where you are, but good HVAC people are hard to find. I was able to find somebody and bring them over to this company. They’re a construction company, but they provide HVAC service to their clients because they do clean work. The president told me that his mind was blown by the candidate because he’s bringing all these different things that they never had. He couldn’t stop talking about it.

I’m like, “You know what? My job is done.” That individual doesn’t even realize what he’s doing for me because every time that they need somebody now, they’re going to think of him and how impactful he is to their organization. More importantly, it’s not going to hurt when they write the check to me. They’ll smile when they sign the check.

It’s a gift to be able to coordinate and put the right candidate with the right organization. The other thing I’ll say about the president that you just mentioned is that he was so grateful for all the new ideas that the new person brought to the table. I give him credit because sometimes what happens is the president or the lead person, whether it’s the boss or not, they say, “We don’t do it that way.” He was saying, “I love that idea. Tell me more.” I give him a lot of credit for being open-minded. That’s another takeaway for anybody. Business or work in corporate, it doesn’t matter. If you’re a leader, you want to hear people’s ideas because inevitably, they can make you better.

We have to be open-minded. I don’t know, but as a society, we always think our way is the right way. On this last note, I’ll share it with you. As I age, and with COVID, I pivoted because who knew small business owners could use my service? I had always had corporate clients whom I helped build corporate cultures, sales service, and the client journey perspective. With small business owners, I’d be networking or they hear me speak and say, “Can you help me?” Sure.

Open Your Mind To What’s Possible

I remember learning because I didn’t know a lot about the technology, the platforms, and how to offer things through this digital framework. I remember learning during COVID, taking all these classes, learning, meeting, networking, and asking a million questions. Every night my husband would go, “How was it?” I’d go, “I don’t know anything.” I felt I had so many darn blind spots. For the first time, I had the opportunity, because of COVID, to ask and explore in a venue that I had never ever been to before because everything was live for me. I met live, I spoke live, and I trained live. For people hearing Yvan’s story and his background and our conversation, you have to be open-minded. That’s not always an easy thing, but you learn so much when you open your mind to what is possible.

Yeah, 100%. Thank you for acknowledging that because when you can do it right and you can make that perfect match. My skillset, being a salesperson at heart, I’ve been able to identify within the organizations what makes them great and find people that are good matches for them, whether they’re old, young, or whatever. I think it’s essential as often as possible to sell the company in an exciting way. I think that’s one thing that’s missing from a lot of Corporate America. It’s starting to go down the list and just check the boxes. Insurance, check. PTO, check.

CSG 82 | Recruiting Quality Talent
Recruiting Quality Talent: It’s essential, as often as possible, to sell the company in an exciting way.


They forget to tell about all the great things or what makes them a wonderful place to work. Truly, sometimes the candidates forget that too. They’re looking for those things so they forget to circle back and say, “We’ve got all those things. Now, let me tell you why you need to come to work here. Why we want you. Why you’re going to be a great fit.” I’m happy to chat with you about that more often. I’ve learned so much from you today, Connie.

Thank you so much. Back at you. It’s funny because what you just described to me is sales. You are a solution provider. Your solution is to pull the corporation and the candidate and do that perfect marriage that makes the win-win, like the president of that company. I’m learning so much from him. I can’t thank you enough that you brought him to me. It’s knowing who the president of the organization is and finding the right person.

It’s relationships.

That sales relationships and providing solutions are at the core. I believe that’s the job of a salesperson. Everyone, I think you need more Yvan in your life. Here’s the deal. Go to his website, which is HamiltonDemo.com. If you’d like to reach out to Yvan directly, it’s Yvan@HamiltonDemo.com. Yvan, thank you again for being on. It’s such a great conversation. Here’s the deal. I love the show. I hope people tune in and hear our conversation. It’s nothing more than a conversation, but I hope they go, “I never thought of that.” It’s that expansion of perspective that makes us better. Thank you so much for sharing your zone of genius. I appreciate it.

My pleasure, Connie. I had a great time. Thank you so much.

Back at you. I hope you will join me weekly as we question, build, and discover together sales, building relationships, and careers. Wherever you are in your career or business, I hope my guests and I provide some tips, strategies, and ideas for you. Here’s the deal. Information is a wonderful thing. Applying that information is where we create the change and the magic on the back end. Create magic. Apply some of the ideas that Yvan and I talked about, and just see what crazy amazing things happen.

Thank you again, Yvan. Thank you all for joining me. You’ve been tuning in to Changing The Sales Game on WebTalkRadio.net with me, your host, Connie Whitman. I truly wish you a wonderful week, full of inspiration, full of change, and full of new relationships, and building those relationships so that you could create even more in the world. We need to be generous. We need to love each other and I hope you bring that to the world too. Thanks and have a great week, everybody. See you next time.


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