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Very true. There are severely competitive scholarships and fellowships, however, that exceed a 100:1 applicants-to-slot ratio. I'm not sure what the averages are. But we already know the comparison is hard because applications to university cost money. Maybe the ratio of applicants-to-slot and cost of application are just parameters of the same model, not proof that there are two different models. But you raise an interesting question:

Does a higher ratio necessarily imply more competitive? It could be that more unqualified applicants apply to more jobs than unqualified students apply to university. That would suggest that organization reduces the friction for matching the right employee to the right employer; but differences in ratio due to organization doesn't prove that the right employee is more likely to be matched to the right employer.

Why does this matter? If we take efficiency to mean reducing friction, then business will never inform applicants they were rejected. If we take efficiency to mean better candidates get better jobs more frequently, business will always inform applicants they were rejected.

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