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Post by Erin Gray on Jun 3, 2015 12:00:00 PM

With 4.59 job listings to every one developer, any actively searching candidate is going to have an excess amount of options to apply to. In a market where you’re competing for attention from developers, you don’t want to lose out on converting a viewer into a candidate simply because of your application process.

So how do you construct an application process that gives you the information you need while making it easy enough for developers to complete? You’ll want to consider the platform, application “requirements,” and length of the application process. Below are a few ways to modify your tech job listings to ensure application conversion success.


job application process ATS

Application Platform and/or ATS

We get it: you probably have job listings scattered around different resources and want to organize your developer job applications in one central location. While this may be convenient for you, it’s likely not going to be for the developer. If there’s a similar job they’re interested in that’s easier to apply to, they may go for that opportunity instead. Your best bet is to use the application process and ATS (applicant tracking system) of whatever platform you're advertising on.

If you’re insistent upon using a third party ATS, here are some things to ask yourself:

  • How does the ATS work? Is it seamless and user-friendly? The easier to use, the better.
  • Does the user need to create a login to use the system? This will severely increase your chance of candidate drop off, especially in the case of developer candidates.
  • How many steps does the developer job application include? Can you simply upload a resume, or do you have to fill it out, field by field? The latter, again, will increase your chance of losing candidates throughout the process.

Application Length and Ease

How easy is it for the developers to apply and how long does the application process take them? If you were a highly in-demand candidate, would you take the time to complete this application?

Similar to other recruiting platforms that allow you to upload your current resume or maintain a portfolio, developers on Stack Overflow have the option to quickly apply with their profile. These profiles are much more than a resume, as they contain candidates’ coding projects, apps, and more, and thus give you a rounded view of their development lives. Since that information is always up to date, there’s no need for them to go find and update their resume. You also have to consider that any requests beyond a resume only increases the amount of time you’re asking from the prospective candidate.

Application “Requirements”

Requirements is in quotations to force you to consider how many of your application requests are crucial for initial evaluation of a candidate. It may not be reasonable for the large majority, but did you know there are companies that don’t even require a formal resume? Asking for a resume (or something similar) is fine, but anything beyond that may be unnecessary and could only push candidates away. In other words, do you really need a cover letter from a technical candidate who you really need to hire in order to meet production goals? Many developer resumes, especially those like Stack Overflow Profiles, will contain everything you need to determine whether or not the candidate is worth interviewing. Anything beyond that -- motivation, communication skills, cultural fit, and more -- can be derived from the interview itself.


In the end, making the application process easier for developers could create a little extra work on your end. But in a tight hiring market, that risk may be worth taking. After all, it’s better to have a decent sized candidate pool from which you can selectively pick candidates to interview than to rabbit hole yourself into a situation in which you only receive three applications.

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