The hiring process can be extremely confusing for a Ph.D. candidate in the job market for the first time. I know I didn't have any clue as to what went on behind the scenes. Here, Michael Drout at Wormtalk and Slugspeak pulls back the curtain on the process for the humanities (he's an English Prof at Wheaton in Massachusetts).
One of the big points he makes is that one or two faculty members can scotch a person's application in the early stages. It might be resurrected at a later stage, but only "might". Here's the lesson: academia is a relatively small village. Be a jerk at a conference, or step on the wrong toes, and it could end up biting you later on the you-know-what.