I was reading an article online recently in the Sydney Morning Herald by journalist Jill Stark, talking about the paradox of choice. It was about Netflix having too many choices and that it can lead to anxiety about making a decision, building a crippling sense of buyer’s remorse on choosing the wrong program to watch. This is what US psychologist Barry Schwartz calls “The Paradox of Choice”.

It has been on my mind all week and resonated with me when it comes to candidates talking about how many places to look for work but also how they have to make decisions on which way to go. It’s overwhelming and leads to anxiety.

The article said: “It’s about how we struggle when there is too much choice. When we can’t cope with the bewildering array of offerings, we opt out completely. Or revert to the safe and familiar.”

In my last musing, I mentioned that I was going to delve into some of the comments I receive from candidates daily, and I feel this applies to the following:

You are applying to so many jobs that you have lost track of what role and what company, or there are so many places to look; it’s overwhelming.

I am no psychologist, but I can refer you to some fantastic people who can help you in areas of their expertise. I wanted to comment on this to make you feel that you are not alone. I hear it often, and it’s often something that can be addressed.

In my job search program, I have at least five pages on the places to look for work. Not only are there websites, but it’s also about networking and reading newsletters for information on the sectors of choice and more.

I often suggest when talking with candidates that they take at least six months to research their role and what to do next.

Don’t rush it if you can. Take the time, look at all avenues, such as networking, websites and different roles in your sector of interest, and only apply when you are ready. I have a form that gives you the start of what to think about. (Please email me if you would like a copy.)

I remember a candidate when I first started my business that sent me 30 roles he wanted to apply to. Really? When we went through them in more detail looking at his capabilities, his true interests, the culture of the company and, importantly, an opportunity for personal growth, we cut it back to five.

However, he took longer to do some research and, in the end, moved in a completely different career direction. He would have made a big mistake moving earlier and missed out on the opportunity that he moved into.

After taking the time to do the research, I often see a change in what candidates do.

When I first moved into recruitment, one of the comments I made was: “I did not know that job existed”. I still think that now, and even more so as jobs are evolving faster.

The more research and people you talk to and the more information you accumulate about an area, the more prepared you will be. But you will also be more confident at the interview about your understandings and motivations.

Do one application that is focused from your research, not 20 that are not. You will be more successful.

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