Phone interviews are common in the industrial hiring scene. As a candidate, you go through a phone interview (or even two) and if you make the cut, you fly out for an actual interview.
I'm seeing phone interviews become more common in the academic world. You get a phone interview with some member of the recruiting committee, and the actual interview follows if you make the cut.
Has this always been like this (and am I just misremembering?) or is it a new trend ? Phone interviews can make a lot of sense if you want to weed out candidates who might look promising on paper, and it's a clear cost-saver (and time saver), but I haven't seen them be so common in academic settings. Maybe it's because there are more people chasing each slot and so these filters are more necessary now ?