TALKING SALES 195: "Hire people with the right purpose - over skills"

Portrait of businesswoman

       "How do we hire salespeople that fit our culture? " - interview by John Smibert.

Ian LoweIn my last discussion with  Ian Lowe he told us "How sales teams win by embracing a culture of purpose".

This lead me to the thinking that we need to hire the right people in the first place - people who are willing and able to embrace our culture of purpose.  So I asked Ian how we need to go about recruiting the right people.

He pointed out that the "one thing that really isn't being looked at, isn't being matched, is what are the purpose drivers of the individual we are recruiting. How do we hire people that have the types of purpose drivers that will align with the purpose of this organisation so that we get a great melding of purpose, so that one amplifies the other?"

Ian went on to say that "organisations are constantly making hires of people that actually don't stick and turnover is quite high".

So how do we address this problem.  Ian suggested that we need disrution in the recruitment process and went on to recommend way that sales leaders can hire salespeopl who will align to the corporate culture of purpose..

Read or view the full discussion below to learn more about how to achieve these positive outcomes that will help you achieve a purpose driven organisation. I recommend it for CEO's, COO's HR, Sales leaders, as well as professional salespeople.


Ian is the CEO of (formally Go-Givers Australia). He is an expert in sales transformation and a specialist in why people sell.


John: Welcome back all my viewers, from Strategic Selling Group and beyond! I've got Ian Lowe with me again, and I want to extend on from our last discussion, Ian, and that was we were talking about a culture of purpose in an organisation, and you used a good case study which was an interior design company. At the end we started talking about you do need people that will fit that culture, the culture of purpose and that will buy into that purpose, so I want to talk about recruitment a little bit and how we go about recruiting people that will buy in and work with us in our culture of purpose.

Ian: I think it's a really, really interesting area that we're spending a bit of time in at the moment. If you think about it, John, there's been a lot of disruption over recent years. Uber has changed how we ride...

John: It sure has.

Ian: Airbnb has changed how we stay, and Netflix has changed how we watch. There's been dramatic disruption over recent years, entire industries have been transformed!

John: And destroyed...

Recruiting 01Ian: And destroyed. There's one sector though that hasn't really evolved much over the past 10-20 years, and I think that sector is recruitment.

John: Recruitment has changed though, hasn't it? Contributors like LinkedIn has changed the way a lot of people go through the process of recruitment.

Ian: Yes, there's certainly more players now. In Australia there's about 7,000 recruitment organisations, believe it or not - 7,000!

John: So they must all be making an income, they must be achieving the end result to some extent.

Ian: There were certainly lots of placements, there were lots of job boards like SEEK and CareerOne and LinkedIn and indeed there's lots of activity in that space. But if we think about the actual process of recruitment, it's pretty much about matching skills on a CV with the skills in the job. If I'm looking for a BDM for example, typically recruiters, whether they're doing it themselves via a job board or whether they're using an agency, are looking to match skills on a CV with the skills in the job.

John: Right - yes, I understand that. But isn't that right, we've got to have the right skills on board? And I think we've got to test behaviour a little bit.

Ian: Yes, skills are certainly important, but people can learn skills, certainly we need to have a certain level of competency in a given role. But one thing that really isn't being looked at, isn't being matched is what are the purpose drivers of that individual. How do we match, how do we hire people that have the types of purpose drivers that will align with the purpose of this organisation so that we get a great melding of purpose, so that one amplifies the other? But it's not something that's really being looked at, and you see organisations constantly making hires of people that actually don't stick and turnover is quite high.

Recruitment 04John: And you're fine, you go through the onboarding process, and even by the end of the onboarding process there's something not clicking here between the individual and the organisation.

Ian: Yes, yes. So it doesn't work for the candidate, it doesn't work for the employer and it doesn't work for the end client, because then the productivity and the results that employee was hired to produce don't get produced because they're not engaged in their work.

John: And typically because of that lack of engagement the employer won't be happy, and they get the turnover of staff, that you don't get the retention levels you really need to build the culture in the organisation that everybody embraces.

Ian: Absolutely right. And especially in sales, if you're in a sales role and you think your job is to get out there and sell more of the stuff that your employer has, then it's going to be a pretty tough life. Getting out of bed to sell more of that stuff, that's really not working on purpose.

Recruitment 03John: Okay. So obviously the solution is to ensure that when we talk to individuals, when we look at recruiting individuals, we're focused on whether their innate purpose in life can be gelled with the purpose of our organisation. Is that what you're saying? How do we go about that?

Ian: There are a range of great tools out there now, which I think is one of the great developments over recent times, this shift to greater awareness of what purpose is and how it all works, and there are some fantastic tools out there. One tool is a tool called Imperative, it was founded by a chap called Aaron Hurst who is the author of a book called The Purpose Economy, which we've spoken about; it's a fantastic assessment that really helps people to understand and connect with their own purpose, and helps employers to find people whose purpose matches their own.

John: Okay, it makes a lot of sense. So what you're saying is whatever recruitment process we go through, you're not going to disrupt it that much, you're just going to make that sure aside from the skills and competencies we really need to focus on the cultural fit of this person around our organisation, particularly alignment of purpose. Is that what you're saying?

Ian: Yes.

John: Is that disruption? You used the word "disruption" earlier.

Ian: I think there are a number of elements that are going to disrupt recruitment more generally. I think the addition of these purpose drivers is an evolution in the hiring process, rather than maybe disruption, but there are other factors out there that are disrupting recruitment on a larger scale.

John: Okay, so this message is for organisations hiring people. They need to understand their own purpose as an organisation and ensure their people are embracing that, and then when they hire they need to test people for their own purpose and whether their purpose is going to align and fit with them as an organisation.

Ian: Absolutely. And it might not, and that's okay too, right? Because the worst thing you could do is to get someone who comes in and they don't have the right purpose driver.

Recruitment 06John: They've got all the skills and competencies we need to do a great job, but if they haven't got the right alignment of purpose to our organisation, they're going to be unhappy, it's going to be seen by customers, it's really going to be a disruption to our organisation that we don't need.

Ian: Yes.

John: Okay. Great point, and hopefully that's a great message out there for all those recruiters, and for the sales managers and sales leaders in our business who are hiring salespeople, and across the organisation. It's not just salespeople, it's the consultants and anybody else.

Ian: Purpose is universal, right?

John: Yes, absolutely. Ian, that's great message - from the audience, thank you very much. Look forward to our next discussion!

Ian: Pleasure, looking forward to it as well, John - see you soon!


More short interviews with Ian Lowe:



Your Invitation: I invite you to join the Sales Leader Forum group on LinkedIn where you can experience informative discussions with your peers and sales thought leaders on subjects like the one we have discussed here. I also invite you to subscribe to the

   - Sales Leader Resource Centre here

   - Sales Leader YouTube channel here (300+ sales leadership videos)

Please Share: If you valued this article, please share via your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook social media platforms. I encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions. So feel free to add a comment on this post - I promise to respond. If inclined please follow my LinkedIn post page here.

Want to touch base? If you have questions please feel free to contact me - email: john.smibert(at), Phone: +61 404857893 or Skype: john.smibert

Your B2B Sales Library

Need resources to help you sell or manage more effectively?

Ever wished you could find a wide range of B2B sales Resources in one library?

Check out the library here

It's packed with articles, videos, keynote speeches, Tools, templates, training materials, eBooks and eGuides.​

Subscribe to the Library Here


European Peer Group Chair Wanted

We have a number of new enquiries from sales leaders based in the UK, Europe and South Africa who are looking to join a peer group.

We need a Chair to facilitate this new on-line group. This is a valuable role that will be rewarded.

If interested read "Is a Forum Role for you?" and if the answer is "yes" please Contact Us


A Sales Leader Forum provides you with the opportunity to connect with your peers and create a support network of like-minded individuals to learn how they have dealt with the same challenges, issues and problems that you’re facing.



1000's of sales articles, videos and sales tools.  Sales leaders and their teams can access most of it free - simply subscribe.

This site brings you some of the latest expert thought leadership content on business to business (B2B) sales from specialists, sales leaders and sales professionals.