Once you have had a successful job interview with a university (or other state agency) and all of your references have been contacted, if you don't get a response about the job, the usual protocol is to phone and find out what's going on. When you hear "The position will remain open until it is filled," it means that there is a hiring freeze that no one is talking about.
"You gave a wonderful interview, and we could really see you teaching with us here at (insert university name here). Though you and the other professor were in fact short-listed for the only two positions you both interviewed for (meaning, one position was going to you and the other, to her), 'the position will remain open until it is filled.'" Translation: "We don't have any money or budget to hire ANYONE but we must keep up the pretense that there is work available, or else our potential student population will decrease as a result of a lack-of-confidence in our ability to attack quality instructors. In fact, our mandate is to weed-out tenure-track professors and replace their $100,000 positions with 3 Master's-level students who we plan to pay less than $33,000 to, each. But please keep calling so we can tell you that the position will remain open until it is filled. Have a nice day."
by Rhetoric in America March 16, 2008