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This is just like any highly-selective admissions process. They (Stanford, but it could be any Ivy, or a company like Google) has accepted the fact that they will turn down many good candidates. It doesn't really matter as they can't accept more than a certain number anyway. Hiring/acceptance policies are more about guaranteeing low false positives, not preventing false negatives.

However, with college admissions, the schools have a lot to gain by increasing the number of applicants. Colleges charge $50-$100 per application, so some revenue is generated to cover the application process's costs. Schools like Stanford can brag about how low their acceptance rates are, just by increasing the number of applicants.

Funny- I heard quite a few complaints about the quality of new hires dropping at google ever since they expanded rapidly five(?) years ago. I don't think you can always hire people better than you are, because unlike a college it was in google's best interest to multiply their work force. Stanford operates on exclusivity whereas workers are more of a resource to google.

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