- Guaranteed high-level talents
- Direct employment/relocation available
- No-risk trial
- Exceptional customer service
- Long and rigorous freelancer screening
- Little assurance for freelancers
- Expensive wages
Toptal (standing for Top Talent) is a freelancer website founded in 2010 that highlights a small, but truly outstanding group of designers and developers, selected through a series of interviews and tests. Submitting a job request on Toptal will always result in the highest quality of talents who’ll definitely meet your standards. Furthermore, top companies and start-ups regularly borrow freelancers from the site for tasks like web designing and programming. Even though this amount of professionalism comes at a price, the service pledges to satisfy clients by offering a no-risk trial, allowing suspecting clients to see the freelancers’ skills in action and get a full refund should they be unsatisfied. However, Toptal guarantees perfect customer satisfaction, so you can be sure that no half-talents or dodgy workers will appear on the site – only quality work.
Unlike other freelancer websites, Toptal puts quality over quantity, so nobody could simply apply for a freelancer status and begin to look for work right away. In fact, the company actually spends time and energy on screening every single aspiring member who wishes to join their ranks. Toptal takes this mission so seriously, its certified freelancers are called the “Top 3%”, indicating that 97% of the applicants cannot hit the required quality standards. In other words, whether you are a software or mobile developer, interface designer or web engineer, you have to prove yourself before being accepted to the community.
As for employers, they are guaranteed to find remote workers who speak English fluently, have a personal drive and, most importantly, are able to adapt to any situation, including integration into a selected team.
Becoming a full-fledged “Toptaler” (a freelancer at Toptal) is a living nightmare for non-professionals and is only possible by undergoing the aforementioned long and bulletproof screening process. The first step of the screening is a comprehensive interview: here Toptal puts your language skills to the ultimate test and thoroughly examines your personality, thus ensuring that you are not only pitch-perfect in English, but you are also an enthusiastic worker. Only after successfully passing this exam you get the chance to show off your talent in design or engineering through a series of timed algorithm tests or portfolio reviews.
But don’t think a nice resume sets you free from further testing: you need to prove yourself during a live interview, completing at least two personalized scenarios created by professionals working for Toptal. These tasks cover your main area of expertise, thoroughly examining your affinity for problem solving and creativity. According to Toptal, 96.8% of the initial candidates fail at this stage, but the remaining “Top 3%” aren’t treated like kings or queens either: they have to accomplish a real test project that takes 1-3 weeks. Only those who overcome these barriers can qualify themselves as Toptalers.
Toptal only accepts the greatest talents, period. Their rigorous screening we’ve already talked about guarantees that no charlatans will appear in the list of freelancers. In other words, employers are assured that the hired freelancer speaks fluent English and can seamlessly join any team or working group. As a nice little extra, the site can arrange the option to relocate the contractor on-site or employ the person directly at your company should you be more than satisfied with what you got.
Toptal’s seal of approval also ensures that you don’t need to spend money or energy on screening the contractors, since they are qualified to be thrown into deep water right away. In fact, the service is so confident in its elite workforce that it provides a no-risk trial: each engagement starts with a 2-week trial period in which the deposited downtime will be refunded if the Toptaler doesn’t live up to the expectations. Furthermore, up to five freelancers can be tested for one position and you have the right to keep their work even if you decide to terminate their contract.
When it comes to usability, it does matter what your status is. The application of freelancers is processed slowly, as the screening lasts for weeks. As for employers, you can find the talents you are looking for in hours (if not in minutes) after the request has been posted. In order to achieve immediate success, make sure to include as much information as you can, since detailed job posts attract better results. The current status of your request can be viewed on the dashboard where icons display if the system found a match or whether the screening process of the ideal candidate has started yet. Speaking of the screening, employers receive an in-depth review of the application results to help them choose the best candidate.
Seeing such a dedication to quality in every single sense of the word, it is quite sad that Toptal’s website and service doesn’t support smartphones.
Toptal is flexible in pricing, mainly because it offers a huge variety of different jobs (that are not on the same level) and workforce from all around the world. What you need to know is the following: the site asks $500 to be deposited as a starting fee, which will be applied to the first invoice that also covers the site’s fee for arranging a Toptaler. However, as an act of confidence, the service repays the early deposit upon dismissing a freelancer during the trial period. In this case it is Toptaler that compensates freelancers for their work.
The typical arrangement fees go as follows: the hourly wages range between $60 and $95 per hour, part time employment starts from $1,000 to $1,600 per week, while full-time employment is between $2,000 and $3,200 per week.
There isn’t much to say about Toptal’s customer service. They know very well that their service depends on customer satisfaction, so in case you wish to ask your questions personally, you have several dedicated email addresses and a phone number to be used. The site introduces offers really well, and the FAQ answers any questions left.
Toptal is determined to be the Ferrari of freelancer websites – but only for the clients. Freelancers are in for a bumpy ride, since they must undergo week-long screenings and interviews for the promise of well-paid work. Furthermore, not only 90% of the applying freelancers are sorted out, but there is also a high chance of being discarded in favor of someone else even after they are among the elite. In other words, there is little to no assurance for the freelancer. However, Toptal is highly favorable for employers who don’t mind the exceptionally high prices. But if the client is from a top-tier company who can afford employing a qualified freelancer, they are in for a treat: they can choose from the very best designers and engineers the internet has to offer and can even get a full refund during the trial period.
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