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Ramit Sethi: Ace your job interview with these 3 strategies

Ramit Sethi
Source: Ramit Sethi

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way we interview for work. In the era of social distancing, meeting virtually has become much more common.

In fact, about 50% of recruiters conduct at least half of their interviews via video, according to Jobvite's 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey, which polled more than 800 U.S.-based recruiters and was released in October.

Yet you shouldn't really stress out about getting the lighting just right, said Ramit Sethi, personal finance coach and best-selling author of "I Will Teach You to be Rich." That has just a minor bearing on your performance.

"Eighty percent of the work is done before you ever walk in the room," he said. "What really matters is: Do you have your key messages ready?"

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That's even more important now, with the job market still feeling the effects of the pandemic. Just over 10 million Americans are currently unemployed and 4.3 million have left the labor force since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

"In certain areas of the economy, it can be tough to land a job right now, but there are also incredible opportunities that did not exist before," Sethi said.

Here are Sethi's top three strategies to help you master the interview and get the job offer.

1. Reexamine the purpose of the interview

Most people believe that the purpose of the interview is to answer the interviewer's questions. That is wrong, Sethi said.

"If you walk in with that belief, you have already lost," he said.

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Instead, the purpose is to communicate your key messages. What is it about yourself that you want to convey to a prospective employer? Sethi says that, in his case, it's a technology and psychology guy who understands marketing.

Determine those well before the interview, as far back as when you are looking for the type of job you want. Make sure you communicate your messages in your cover letter and your resume, as well.

2. Develop perfect answers to predictable questions

A majority of the questions you'll be asked will be predictable, such has: Can you tell me about yourself? What do you want to work here? What did you do at your last role? What questions do you have for me?

That means you can come up with answers before you face your interviewer.

"You should already have practiced your answers so much that you can be natural and smile and reiterate your key messages," Sethi said.

Your response should be 30 seconds or 60 seconds, he said.

3. Demonstrate you've done your homework

Boris Jovanovic | iStock | Getty Images

When you answer the questions, make it clear you have studied the company.

Read and watch any interviews with the CEO that may have appeared in the press, as well as any corporate news. Dig into company strategy and learn about how the company is performing and who its competitors may be.

"If you drop those into your answers, you will stand out compared to the other applicants," Sethi said.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.