Even if you have not seen the infamous ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education for an assistant professorship at Colorado State University in pre-1900 American Literature, you have likely seen the serious discussions of it, and how ill it bodes for academic job-seekers whose Ph.D.s are not the newest and shiniest. Here are "required qualifications" for the job:
1. Ph.D. in English or American Studies or closely related area awarded between 2010 and time of appointment.
2. A promising record of scholarship/research in pre-1900 American literature and culture.
3. Ability to teach a range of subjects in American literature and culture between 1600 and 1900.
It's item #1 on the list that seems to exclude throngs of potential candidates who had the misfortune of earning their Ph.D.s right at the U.S. economy was tanking and as the academic job market was getting even worse.
For these folks, some of whom may have quite excellent track records of scholarship and research, the only way to fulfill the first requirement would be if appointment to this post started before 2010 ... which would be totally do-able with a time machine.
Job one would be going back in time to arrange conditions so Colorado State University (1) created the position prior to 2010, and (2) appointed the candidate to the position prior to 2010. Indeed, as the requirement is worded, the candidate would have to be appointed before conferral of his or her Ph.D. (since earning of the Ph.D. has to be *between* 2010 and the time of appointment -- try drawing it on a number-line to see how this satisfies the requirement). But I suspect search committees are more likely to hire an ABD who has a time machine. And is from the future.
The standard warnings apply about being careful only to make the necessary changes in the past (and to avoid killing stuff). This may be a place where your attention to detail in your history coursework and research pays off. If you can manage to change what needs changing to get the job and prevent the great recession, that might be OK, too.
Once hired, hold onto that time machine, as it could help a lot in meeting requirement #3. Teaching between 1600 and 1900 sounds like a pretty grueling work schedule, but maybe less so if you can just dial up the year on the time machine. (Careful materializing in Salem Village, Massachusetts on the early end of this range, though. They might get the wrong idea, and that won't help your tenure dossier one bit.)
UPDATE: According to Inside Higher Education, the ad has been rewritten. Can you guess which requirement has been dropped?
Still, I reckon a time machine might increase the desirability of a candidate -- or at least, the search committee's hesitance to jerk that candidate around.