I applied a few years ago, and I had very interdisciplinary interests crossing social & developmental boundaries. I interviewed for a social position at one school and did not get the offer (which I found out from the wiki). About three months later I got a phone call from the search chair in which he profusely apologized for the delay AND explained that there was actually a good reason for it. They had really liked me and felt I was a great fit for the department as a whole, but I just did not fill the current needs of the social area in particular. For the past three months (since I had interviewed basically), they had been trying to negotiate a second line of funding in the developmental area with the dean and provost. They actually had been trying to work out an offer for me too! It almost happened but in the end did not due to financial reasons.
It was really wonderful to hear this… (they liked me!) and to find out that there was actually a reason for the silence (who would have thought!). Even though it did not work out, it was amazing how great it felt to feel A. liked, and B. in the loop.
I am not saying this is typical, but I did have something similar happen in another case too—I was second choice but "above threshold" and they tried to get a second line of funding to hire me in addition to the first choice person (again it did not work out, but I appreciated them keeping me posted as all this was going down on their end).
The point is - you never know, and it is worth hoping, even if you think the search is over (i.e., long silence or even someone else getting the offer). There actually are some search committees out there who are fighting on your behalf rather than rudely ignoring you!
Note to current search chairs:
So many of you keep candidates in the dark, even after they have interviewed. Well guess what, no matter what you are telling yourself to justify your not picking up the phone—there really is no excuse. If you agree to be a search chair, then you are agreeing to being the liaison between your department and potential hires ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE PROCESS. A simple "I just wanted to let you know we will not be making an offer so that you can move on with your life" is SO HELPFUL TO HEAR!!
I interviewed at almost 15 schools total. I not only remember every single search chair and whether or not they called me to tell me the outcome of the search, I also remember how they treated me in general throughout the process…. and guess what, job candidates gossip too.