Today, many companies do an initial screening of qualified applicants through a phone interview before scheduling time to meet with them in person. However, most applicants do not take phone interviews as seriously as they would take an in-person interview. This could be a costly mistake because phone interviews are decisive in whether or not you’re even offered an in-person interview. Before your next phone interview, prepare with these 6 steps:

Be Prepared

One of the advantages that come with a phone interview is that you can have the printed application, your resume, and any other notes right in front of you. While you’re answering questions, you can use these documents to reference specific responsibilities and qualities you wanted to mention.

Elaborate

On the phone, it’s easy to answer with a simple “yes” or “no”, but make sure you elaborate on your response just as you would if you were sitting across the table from the recruiter.  Pull from previous experiences, use personal anecdotes, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Smile

When you smile on the phone, you come across more natural and conversational in tone.  Smile, laugh, and gesture just as you would in any normal conversation. This way you will come across as amicable and friendly, and your personality will really shine!

Dress the Part

There is the possibility that the phone interview will take place at a time when you will be at home. Even though it may be easier to just lounge around in your PJ’s until you take the call, make sure you change into something at least business casual. You need to take the interview seriously and a big part of your confidence and how you act is based on your physical appearance. If you were going into the office you wouldn’t show up in sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt.

Ask about the Next Step

Just like you would at the end of an in-person interview, ask what the next step is in the process. With phone interviews, there is the additional step of waiting to hear back if you got a second or third interview or the position. Be proactive, this shows that you are really interested in the position and eager to hear back.

Write a Thank You

Send a thank you email or write a personal thank you card to the recruiter and thank them for their time and attention. Thank you notes provide a final good impression with the recruiter before they make their decision.

Phone interviews can be tough since you don’t have the same physical cues as you would in an in-person interview, but with the help of these 6 steps, you’ll be sure to nail it!