What is ZMOT and what has it got to do with Recruiting?

Shane Gray
4 min readMar 12, 2018

In 2011, Google introduced us to the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT, which described a revolution in the way consumers search for information online and make decisions about brands. Now six years later, Internet Search and ZMOT continues to grow unabated in importance and scale. It’s not surprising that this consumer behavior activity has extended into the jobseeker arena and is now mirrored by “career consumers.” Recruitment tactics need to evolve to keep up.

We exhibit the same behavior when shopping, and we rely on Google or Amazon to help us identify all the relevant products quickly. The Zero Moment of Truth as the phrase describes, is the precise moment when we have a need, intent or question we want answered online and it usually starts with a search.

For career consumers, about 90% of those searches typically comprise a query based on a skillset and a location. Most of these start at Google, with about 300 million job related searches each month. This is where the bulk of most company career based traffic originates.

Google delivers a list of relevant links as adverts or organic search results, and the job searcher usually ends up on a job aggregator site like Indeed or Glassdoor. Once there, they view a list of jobs, the companies that offer them and the real career consumer research begins.

Well that’s not the full picture, some career consumers will forego research and immediately take action making a job application, then on to the next job to make another, and another…

Any guesses on how often these types of applications turn into hires?

The answer of course is few. Most of these candidates make multiple applications because it’s easy, not because they are well informed about your company or the role. It’s one reason why I recommend to our clients to avoid allowing applications directly from job sites.

In terms of your career site traffic, usually 90% or more of site visitors arrive directly to a job posting. However, 90% of these visitors typically will not make an application. The reason is simple, most of them have a job and are kicking the tires because something caught their eye. They want to figure out if that company is something they want to take the time to know better. Unfortunately, rarely do they get more of the “story” than a block of text, a staged video and an apply button from the company’s ATS.

Many may feel they’re capturing some of this 90% with a “call to action” button directing site visitors to a Talent Network. Sounds good, but career consumers still need to know why it’s worth joining a Network when they know very little about the company, and most who join have already applied and are using the Network to draw attention to their application.

“We have a great career site!”

Some companies tell me, “We just spent a ton of money on our site, and it has loads of great content that answers most all of these questions…”

The reality is that when potential candidates visit content laden career sites, most will sadly get lost along the way unbeknownst to the site managers. To see if this is happening on your site, try to navigate from an ATS job application page to other content relevant to the job on your career site. If it can be done in a couple of clicks or less, you are on the right track, but if it can’t you are losing the daily battle for candidate ZMOT and it’s costing you time, money and hires.

“So how can I fix this?”

There’s a lot of discussion around the perfect Job description, and tools like Textio can help, but it’s not just about the JD text. If that were true, then Amazon wouldn’t bother with product testimonials, reviews, pictures, videos and other content. They’d just have product descriptions, and few of us would ever buy anything from them.

Like Amazon, Recruitment Marketing platforms like Clinch, Smashfly, Phenom and TalentBrew, that integrate with your ATS, can do a better job of delivering potential candidates more information beyond the job description. Companies like Clinch, make it easier to wrap content around the job descriptions and offer multiple “call to action” elements and content specific “landing pages” that provide the information prospective applicants need in deciding to make an application.

The good news is you don’t need a recruitment marketing platform or a budget to put some of this into action. One simple way is to enhance your job descriptions with links embedded in the text directing viewers to existing content. With just a little effort, you can expose potential candidates to more of the relevant information they’re looking for and hopefully prompts them to apply.

“What sort of content do we need?”

Actually, the answer is pretty simple. Put yourself in the shoes of the candidate and think about all the questions you would have if you were applying for a job at your company. One way to get these questions is to ask your team to jot down all the questions current candidates ask during a few weeks’ worth of interviews.

Once there, you only need to think of different ways you can answer them on your career site, external blogs, simple mobile phone videos, you name it. A great idea is to hyperlink all company blog posts and pertinent external content to any matching or similar career site content. Just call it out with something like “Here’s some other content you may like to check out about our company”.

Most importantly, you’ve just saved your potential candidate’s time, delivered a better candidate experience and improved the conversion rates of quality candidates with ease. With luck, you’ve also helped a few people who shouldn’t apply to think twice before they do. This will save loads of recruiting time by reducing your off-target applications and talent screening workload. Potential candidates won’t waste their time in applying.

Everyone wins.

Originally published at blog.clinchtalent.com.



Shane Gray

A veteran of technology business development and strategy with the uncanny ability to distill a complex issue into something that is clearly understandable.