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It’s no secret that developers think the job search process is broken and are crossing their fingers that employers start to take notice. While you can eliminate brain teasers in your interviews and send every applicant a personal follow-up, the truth is that none of that matters if your initial job application process stinks.

Whether it’s marking once-mandatory fields as optional or revisiting your application process altogether, here are a few ways to shorten your job application process for developers.

Don’t require a cover letter

While I’ve never met anyone who enjoys writing cover letters, many companies still require them. Sit down and ask yourself if those cover letters are actually beneficial to your hiring process. Is the information in the letters helping you learn more about the candidate that you otherwise couldn’t? Or does their resume, portfolio, and open source projects give you enough information?

14% of developers we surveyed said that writing cover letters was the most annoying aspect of the job search (and we imagine even more agree if we removed the “most annoying” qualifier). Ultimately, developers feel that there are far better ways for companies to access their technical skills and gauge their ability to perform the job.

Don’t treat active and passive candidates the same

Pretend you’re a passive candidate. You get an email about a job opening from a recruiter at Company X. You’re currently employed and not actively looking for a new job, but the offer intrigues you. Now imagine that you’re required to fill out a lengthy job application with your resume, full working history, and a cover letter. Not an ideal experience, right?

To make the passive candidate’s life easier, don’t make them go through the typical process that active candidates do. It’s as simple as that.

Use an ATS with a “quick apply” feature

Depending on the ATS (applicant tracking system) you use, there may be features like “Quick Apply” that will help shorten the job application process. If you’re already using an ATS with these features, you’re ahead of the game. If not, check and see if your ATS offers something similar. Most popular ATS have features that allow you to import your resume from other sites or auto-fill parts of your application to save time. Alternatively, if you use an internal ATS, you could ask the developers who worked on it to create a feature like this.

If you’ve tried all of the above and still think you can improve, ask your current employees what they think. They all went through the job application process at one time, and probably have critical feedback or helpful suggestions to improve your process.

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