It's not you, it's us (or is it?)

I continually learn things about the academic job market. I have sat on both sides of the table and also sat at the bar listening to the experiences of people who have sat on either side of the table. (The academy is a very sitting-intensive place to work!) 

Something has struck me recently about the academic job search. It's when an institution decides against an applicant under the auspices of "it's not that you aren't excellent - you just aren't a fit for us right now". 

I'm not convinced that this statement always has truth to it. Many times people will gush about how great so-and-so is, but if the opportunity were to come to hire them, they pass. It isn't all situations, but there certainly seem to be enough specific cases I can think of when the sentiment is, "that person is great for where they come from, but not really quite good enough for us."  I've seen this take place where the call for a position is quite open, so that has made it much harder to buy the "not the right fit" justification.

the upshot is that the academy is a prickly beast when it comes to hiring. But, at least one gets to spend a lot of time sitting in that business.