You’ve heard all about the incredible benefits of hackathons, so you’ve worked closely with your team to build one and share it with the world, eagerly waiting for the stream of applications that are sure to show interest in your event. After all, hackathons are a great way to reveal top-notch applicants, helping you identify invaluable talent that will help your company find more success.

However, if your hackathon announcement isn’t met with the fanfare you expected, there are a few things you can do to revamp the process and ensure you get the right people to attend your event. Planning and sharing the hackathon is only half the battle, and the application process is what inspires or dissuades top talent from applying. Here are five signs you need to overhaul your hackathon submission process:

  1. Your Application Form is Too Lengthy and Tedious

These days, people expect efficiency at every turn, including your application form. If you ask for too much information, your applicants will likely lose interest and instantly exit out of the form. To determine the most relevant questions, ask yourself why you need that answer from your applicants. Keep in mind that not all applicants have an idea when they register, as some want to join an existing network or team and exchange ideas. 

Be sure to keep your form as concise as possible while preserving the most fundamental details. Your applicants will appreciate it and be more eager to attend your hackathon!

  1. Your Wording Isn’t Inclusive

It may seem like standard procedure to ask applicants for their gender, but it isn’t the most relevant or valuable thing to add to your forms. More companies strive for inclusivity and take care with the words they choose when asking for information. Asking “what is your gender” and having only two options—male and female—will undoubtedly frustrate and alienate top talent, causing you to miss out big time. 

Unless you need information about their gender for inclusive purposes, reflect on the necessity of asking this question. Be sure to ask questions that will help you host an unforgettable hackathon.

  1. Your Form is Awkward and Slow

Hackathons are where the world’s tech geniuses come together, so having a form with an awkward, slow-loading interface will undoubtedly turn off participants. Your application form is the first point of contact your applicants will have with you, so it’s crucial to make an excellent first impression by producing fast-loading, attractive forms. You also wouldn’t want to overwhelm potential participants with cluttered visuals and complicated, irrelevant questions.

  1. Your Form Isn’t Mobile Friendly

Mobile-friendliness has skyrocketed to become one of the most crucial aspects of any online space. If your form is accessible only through a desktop, you’ll be driving away top-quality participants that could have brought groundbreaking ideas to your company. Ideally, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to apply by mobile phone, especially since you’re asking only for the most necessary details. If applying to your hackathon is effortless and fun, you’ll have a horde of participants eager to join it.

  1. You Don’t Respond to Applicants When They’ve Applied

Lastly, when applicants submit their applications, they expect you to respond to them at some point. Ensure that your form welcomes them or acknowledges their submission, and be sure to send them reminders of the event in the months, weeks, and days leading up to it. If you leave them hanging after they sign up, you’re essentially telling them that you don’t care about the participants and wrecking your hackathon’s reputation. 

However, you’ll also need to make sure your participants show up. Be sure to send follow-up messages, ask them to share your social media posts, and encourage interaction among them so they can start mingling and brainstorming ideas.

Host a Successful Corporate Hackathon With Us

Hackathons are a reliable way of identifying top talent that can someday change the world, and you’ll definitely want these people in your corner. If you observe any of these signs in your hackathon submission process, be sure to address them immediately to keep your participants eager and interested! is the largest online hackathon community globally, connecting more than 2,000 hackathon organizers with our more than 10 million member-innovators. We can help you organize your company hackathon or help you get ready for your first-ever hackathon. Get started by contacting us today!