We have just done some campus visits and this article does not ring true in the least. I realize it's supposed to be a semi-humorous caricature, but, really, the notion that people are losing out on jobs because of trivial sartorial missteps is really not true in the least. If that were true, then nobody would get a job at all. I'm sure I've done badly on campus visits. On one, at the height of my depressive years (or the low point, maybe), I found myself unable to speak Spanish coherently. I've also done well on visits and not gotten the job, because Teresa Vilarós and Brad Epps got the job instead. They are very job-worthy people, better suited to those departments than I was. Here are the real dealbreakers:
1) You aren't interested in the job. Did you ask a lot of detailed questions about what it was like to work with out students? Are you interested in us, our research? Can you answer the question, why do you want to come?
2) You are the wrong kind of candidate for the position. I would not fit in well at a SLAC, and my one campus visit to such a place was pleasant, but I doubt I would been the best person for them. Someone excellent in a SLAC might not do well in an R1. A very nice guy we interviewed once, gave a job talk that from which I didn't learn a single thing, but that would have been great for undergraduates.
3) You don't speak the language well enough, for a foreign language dept.
4) You are not interesting and dynamic.
5) Your research talk was good enough, but someone else's was simply better. Here it is not a "dealbreaker," but simply that someone else is smarter and more engaging.
6) Rebecca Schuman dismisses the concern that you have to work with the person for many years, but come on. It is not just a matter of the few hours a week when you are face to face, but having wonderful colleagues, as I do, is wonderful, and having bad colleagues, as I did at Ohio State, is hell. I'm sure my colleagues wish, too, that I were as wonderful as they are. She also says that academics hate each other anyway. That may be true, but why start with that assumption? In one case I am familiar with, where someone was known to be a problem, and was hired anyway at the senior level (initials MM), the person was a problem and did best to tear the dept. apart.
7) You seem to have no clue about teaching.