Anthony made some great points about phone interviews (below) but I've got a bone to pick with Annie, Fortune Magazine's job-hunting advisor. She says:
Studies have shown that about 90% of human communication is nonverbal, so you're in a kind of limbo when the interviewer can't see you.I think that's hogwash. Non-verbal communication might be really important - BUT ONLY UNTIL YOU TALK TO THE PERSON.
Unless a person is visually stunning - in a positive or negative way - or has a peculiar scent, her verbal manner of presentation is going to be a very powerful factor in creating your impression of her.
Once the person opens her mouth and you can see how well-informed she is, or not, the other things fade into the background.
And, regarding a phone interview, it's not a telepathic transfer of ideas. You get a real sense of what someone is like from the way he speaks.
In fact, I often worry that I judge a person too much by the way she presents herself on the phone. If she sounds dull and uninteresting I might have trouble thinking of her as a good candidate no matter what her credentials are.
And when it comes to hiring, I think verbal presentation is more important than non-verbal.
Think about this. Have you ever spoken to someone on the phone and started getting slightly entranced by that person? You might even have mildly romantic thoughts about him or her.
You think, "Wow, she sounds so nice!" But when you meet her, she isn't your cup of tea. At least, not romantically, although you might like her as a friend.
Well, in the case we're talking about, interviewing candidates for a job, you're not looking for a romantic partner. A skilled friend is just what you want. And, if the "verbals" are there, the non-verbals are not usually an issue.