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Attracting High-Level Applicants & Hiring Top Talent with Nicole Jackson Miller

March 10, 2020

Hi friends! I’m so excited about this latest episode of the Joy To Lead Podcast because my friend Nicole Jackson Miller is here to talk about hiring top talent!

This episode is packed FULL of actionable hiring advice to help you find top talent that you can trust with your business. Forgive me if I just dive right in! 

Nicole Jackson Miller helps done-for-you-service-providers to grow and scale their businesses so they can have the three things they need most: time, money, and impact. She’s managed multimillion-dollar TV projects, grown a multi-six figure agency, and supports dozens of clients in growing their businesses. She brings such a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience to this topic. 

Listen to the full episode where we talk about how to find and attract top talent, how to craft the best job posts, and what to do if you make a hiring mistake. Here are some highlights from our talk. 

Start listening to the episode now!

How does organizational structure impact hiring?  

When business owners prepare to make their first few hires, I think they must examine their organizational structure. I asked Nicole to share her thoughts on that.

She said the number one thing she recommends is for business owners to consider everything that is on their plate right now. Pay particular attention to the things you don’t like to do, that seem hard, that frustrate you. What tasks feel like they are holding you back from being able to move forward in your business? These are the things you should hire for. 

Naturally, business owners are inclined to look for someone similar to themselves. But what you need is someone who can handle those tasks that you don’t want to do or can’t handle yourself. 

Maybe it’s copywriting or tech support or project management. Hire someone who is skilled in those areas and can free up your time. They don’t necessarily have to behave like you, but they need to be able to represent the company and the company values. 

How do we hire someone we can trust with our business? 

Believe me, I know just how hard it is for you as a business owner to trust someone else with your business, your vision, your baby. I talked about it in a previous episode How Can I Truly Trust Someone Else in My Business? I often ask many of my guests to share their thoughts on trusting others in our business. 

Nicole says she would love to say it is easy to find and hire people who you can trust, but it’s not (queue the sad music). You can do all the right things, and still have a bad hiring experience. Trying it out for a few months to be sure it is a good fit for both you and your new hire is one good way to find team members that are right for your organization. 

She also suggests using the application as a tool to find the right person. Too often, job applications aren’t used to their fullest potential in the hiring process. Include questions that allow the applicant to tell how they would handle challenging situations. Especially situations that you’re fearful new hires won’t be able to handle. 

You’re looking to see what their basic problem-solving method is, not perfection. You can teach specific ways you’d like situations handled if they’re hired.

Later in the interview, Nicole and I discuss what type of business owners have the most difficulty in letting go of the reigns when hiring new team members. 

Attract top talent to hire with well-crafted job posts 

“When you are supported as the business owner, when you become less overbooked and burnt-out, you are actually going to provide a better service to your client with the right team in place. I have found that the more the business owner steps into their leadership, the more they can see the right people, understand how to lead the organization, and see that their clients get so much more value.” – Nicole Jackson Miller

Here’s some excellent advice you’re going to be able to use right away. How do you attract top talent? It’s with a well-crafted job post. Here are Nicole’s tips for writing and sharing your best job posts. 

  1. Start with a clear job description. You can begin this part of the process long before you can hire. Start journaling all the tasks you want this person to handle. What skills do they need to have? What qualities are the best fit for your company? Write down everything you can about your dream employee. This will allow you to create a clear job description, and get that manifesting going!
  2. Write a job post that sells. I did a happy dance when she shared this because I say this ALL the time – a job post is like a sales page. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal applicant and read your job post from their perspective. Is it one that you’d apply to? How do you talk about your company and your culture? Not everyone will be interested, and that’s OK. Sell this job to that dream applicant you’re looking for. 
  3. Share the post in multiple locations. I’ve had a lot of success with sharing in my clients’ current network. Using my own professional and personal network is helpful, too. You never know where you’ll find the right person. I also like to use sites like HireMyMom.com, Craigslist, and LinkedIn. Indeed tends to have a lot of applicants that apply blindly to everything. 

What should (and shouldn’t) we ask applicants?

Now that you’ve attracted some quality applicants, what are some good, and not so good, questions to ask them during the application or interview process? Here’s what Nicole has to say: 


  • Ask open-ended, situational questions that allow them to really express their skills, attitudes, and experience
  • Include a simple question from the job posting as a way to quickly vet out people who didn’t pay attention
  • Ask applicants to submit a video if they will be communicating through Zoom or video chat


  • Ask vague or leading questions, such as “Are you detail-oriented?” They don’t provide real information. People usually say “yes.” And what detail-oriented means to you may not be what it means to someone else. 

Avoiding turnover (and what if it’s not working out?)

Once you have a team in place, you want to be sure they are happy and growing. How do you reduce turnover? Listen to the full episode to hear what simple questions Nicole asks her employees to keep them engaged and happy. 

I also ask her what to do if we feel like we’ve made a hiring mistake, and someone just isn’t working out? It happens, and it is OK. Nicole’s got some great strategies for getting through this, and you can hear about them in the episode. 

Nicole’s top three books

Essentialism: Do less but accomplish more, guide to identifying the essential things, focus on and getting them done

Martin G. Hell

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. 

Brene Brown

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Connect with Nicole

Visit Nicole’s website

Connect with Nicole on Instagram at @nicolejacksonmiller

Join her free group for booked-out DFY service providers ready to scale here!

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I'm Kaylan, leadership educator, podcaster & speaker

What are you searching for?

Reading suggestions

Crafting a 90-Day Onboarding Plan

Job Postings that Attract Top Talent

Mapping Your Leadership Style