The comments thread on a recent post over at Scattered and Random brought up an issue that I had never even considered: that there may be a more than one interpretation of about the job application's deadline. Allow me to illustrate with an example:
Your job advertisement says something along the lines of "Please submit CV, cover letter, and three letters of recommendation by November 15, 2013." You will:
A. Turn these things in on November 15th.The correct answer, as I've always understood it, is "B." Never "C" -- the deadline is when the position closes, not when it opens. "A" will probably get you considered as well,  but not always -- many job ads say something like "completed applications must be received by November 15, 2013," and in those cases your stuff needs to hit the mail a good few days before the deadline so it gets there on time.
B. Turn these things in as soon as you have them finished to your satisfaction, but no later than November 15th (and a few days earlier if they need to go by mail).
C. Wait until at least November 15th; this is the first day that you may submit your application.
Second, there's the issue of confusing language in the job ads. Here's a sampling of the key sentences, taken from what's on H-Net right now:
- Completed applications must be received by October 25, 2013.
- Please send materials by November 1, 2013.
- Review of completed applications begins November 1, 2013.
- Completed applications must be received by November 15, 2013
- Applications must be complete by November 1, 2013 to ensure full consideration.
As you can see, there's a bit of ambiguity in some of those, and likely some programs are going to be more flexible than others in how they treat applications that roll in a week after the deadline. But in a job market like this one, why would you want to risk it? Turning in a complete and polished application package
Or so saith the blogger who has only observed the workings of search committees second-hand. What about my more experienced readers? Would you consider an application that came in a week or so past deadline? What about one that had not all but some of the pieces in on time, and the rest came in a bit later? And job applicants: Have you found this confusing? Or do you just assume a straight-up "get it in by X" paradigm?
 Back when I was applying for jobs, a lot of ads had "postmark deadlines," which I always thought was delightfully humane, considering that one does not control the speed of the mail.
 Amended w/r/t Dr. Crazy's comment. Upon reflection, I doubt that most search committees are going to dive into the pile of applications until the deadline has passed.