Toptal recruitment process: How is it to hire with them?

Published on
Jul 12, 2024
Written by
Maria del Mar Agudelo
EDITED by
Juan David Rodríguez
Read time
5 Minutes
Category
Transparency Research

The search for top freelance talent can be daunting. Companies need assurance that the professionals they hire possess the requisite skills and can deliver quality work consistently. Toptal is a recruiting and staffing company that differentiates itself in the freelance marketplace by promising to connect businesses with the top 3% of freelancers. But how exactly does the Toptal recruitment process work, and is it truly effective? This article will delve into the details of hiring through Toptal, comparing its processes with those of Teilur Talent, another prominent player in the remote recruiting space.

What is Toptal?

Toptal is a freelance talent marketplace that claims to have a rigorous vetting process, accepting only the top 3% of freelancer applicants. This does not necessarily mean that they hire the top 3% of the world’s talent but more so that they accept less than 3% of the applications they get.

Toptal initially started as a platform for freelance software engineers but has since expanded to include designers, financial experts, product managers, and project managers. The name "Toptal" is derived from "top talent," reflecting their focus on providing skilled freelancers to companies worldwide.

Understanding the Toptal Business Model

Toptal operates as a middleman, connecting organizations with freelancers. Their business model involves charging clients directly for the duration of the freelance engagement, deducting a commission fee, and then paying the freelancers a predetermined amount. This structure allows freelancers to set their hourly rates based on factors such as location and experience. However, the breakdown of these costs are not shared, neither on their website nor with clients or freelancers. Toptal's significant investment in marketing, branding, and sales contributes to its high fees, aiming to ensure a broad reach and comprehensive service.

Steps in the Toptal Recruitment Process

Timed Skills Test

The first step in the Toptal recruitment process is a timed skills test. This test is designed to be challenging and has a strict time limit. Approximately 90% of applicants do not pass this stage, which sets a high bar for those who move forward.

Video Call Interview

Next, candidates participate in a video call interview. This step assesses their English proficiency and soft skills, such as communication and interaction abilities. The interviewer evaluates whether the candidate can clearly understand and be understood, an essential skill for remote work.

Simulated Project

Candidates who pass the interview are given a simulated project. This is a real-world task that must be completed within a specific timeframe, usually around 30 work hours. This stage tests the candidate's ability to deliver quality work under realistic conditions.

Screen Sharing Testing

In the final step, candidates perform tasks while sharing their screens with an evaluator. This allows the evaluator to assess their speed, accuracy, and problem-solving creativity in real-time. Only those who excel at all these stages are accepted into the Toptal network.

Advantages of Toptal recruiting and staffing

Professional and Vetted Resources

Toptal’s screening process aims to ensure that only highly capable professionals are accepted. This process includes a personality analysis to filter out candidates who may not be a good fit in terms of work ethic or team compatibility.

Personalization and Project-Specific Pairings

Toptal, recruiting and staffing for freelancers, seeks to understand both job requirements and freelancer skills in order to provide personalized candidate recommendations. They use a combination of AI and human expertise to match clients with the most appropriate freelancers for their specific project needs.

Minimal Risk

Toptal offers a risk-free trial period. If clients are not satisfied with the freelancer, they can get their deposit back. This policy, along with their accountability system, aims to minimize the risk of hiring a freelancer who does not meet expectations or fails to complete the project. However, some reviews indicate dissatisfaction with the trial period and a lack of transparency and clarity in it. As shown below.

Disadvantages of Toptal recruitment process

High Costs

One of the biggest drawbacks of Toptal is its cost. Freelancers on Toptal command higher rates compared to other platforms, which can be a significant barrier for startups and small businesses. The initial deposit of $500, which is either applied to the first payment or refunded if the project does not proceed, adds to the expense.

Toptal review

Customer Support Issues

Some clients have reported poor experiences with Toptal’s customer support. Complaints include condescending attitudes and a lack of transparency until after project specifications are submitted. This can be frustrating for clients looking for quick and straightforward information. Until you create an account and submit your project specifications, there is limited information available about the talent pool. Essentially, unlike many other sites, you cannot immediately browse the freelancer marketplace.

Toptal reviews

Inflexible Hiring Contracts

Toptal, as a recruiting and staffing company for freelancers, requires clients to hire freelancers on a weekly basis for either 20 or 40 hours, with no flexibility for shorter engagements. This can be a disadvantage for companies needing freelancers for minor tasks or short-term projects.

Comparing Toptal with Teilur Talent recruitment process. Recruiting and staffing

Transparency in Pricing

Traditional remote recruiting companies often lack transparency in pricing, which can lead to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction. Teilur Talent addresses this by offering a fully transparent pricing model, ensuring clients know exactly what they are paying for and that developers receive fair compensation.

Developer Compensation

Teilur Talent’s model reduces costs for clients and increases pay for developers. This transparency builds trust and fosters better working relationships, as both parties are fully aware of the financial arrangements.

Client Satisfaction

Teilur Talent focuses on aligning the incentives of developers and clients, creating a more equitable relationship. This approach has led to higher client satisfaction and lower turnover rates compared to traditional models.

Teilur talent review
Teilur talent reviews

Turnover Rates

Teilur Talent boasts a turnover rate of less than 15%, significantly lower than the industry average. This is a testament to their commitment to fair compensation and transparency, which helps retain top talent for longer periods.

Conclusion for Toptal recruiting and staffing

The Toptal recruitment process is thorough and effective in ensuring that only the best freelancers are available for hire. However, the high costs and inflexible contracts may not suit every business. Alternatives like Teilur Talent offer more transparent pricing and equitable arrangements, making them a viable option for companies seeking top remote talent without the hefty price tag. Whether you choose Toptal, a recruiting and staffing company for freelancers, or another platform, understanding the recruitment process and the benefits and drawbacks of each option is crucial for making an informed decision.

Toptal recruiting and staffing FAQs

How does the Toptal recruitment process compare to Teilur Talent's process?
While both Toptal and Teilur Talent have rigorous vetting processes, Teilur Talent focuses more on transparency and fair compensation for developers, which can lead to better long-term satisfaction for both clients and freelancers.

Is Teilur Talent more affordable than Toptal?
Yes, Teilur Talent typically offers more affordable rates with a transparent pricing model, ensuring that clients know exactly what they are paying for and developers are fairly compensated.

What are the main advantages of Teilur Talent over Toptal?
Teilur Talent's transparent pricing, fair developer compensation, and lower turnover rates make it a strong alternative to Toptal, especially for businesses looking for a cost-effective and equitable solution.

Why is transparent pricing important in remote hiring?
Transparent pricing builds trust between clients and freelancers, ensuring that both parties are aware of the financial arrangements and fostering better working relationships.

How does Teilur Talent ensure fair compensation for developers?
Teilur Talent aligns the incentives of developers and clients by reducing costs for clients and increasing pay for developers, ensuring a more equitable relationship and better job satisfaction.

What kind of projects can Teilur Talent handle?
Teilur Talent specializes in connecting clients with top tech talent for a wide range of projects, from software development to project management, ensuring high-quality results for various business needs.

Need help with cost expectations? 

Costs vary depending on the final offer our candidate accepts. 80% of what you pay goes to the candidate, and the remaining 20% is our fee. We’ve put together some examples of price ranges with all fees included, to help you establish clear pricing expectations for the services we offer.

Pillars
Colombia
Argentina
Mexico
Brazil
Group 1. Coordinators, data analysts, tech sales

$1,500 - $2,000

$1,500 - $2,000

Group 2. Product, designers, growth marketers

$2,000 - $3,500

$2,000 - $3,500

Group 3. Developers and Sr. tech talent (4+ years)

$3,500- $5,000

$3,500- $5,000

Group 4. Sr. software & data engineering (7+ years)

$5,500- $8,500

$5,500- $8,500

1:1 recruiting support

via integration

Talent focus
Pillars
Colombia
Argentina
Mexico
Brazil
Group 1. Coordinators, data analysts, tech sales

$18,000 -$24,000

$18,000 -$24,000

Group 2. Product, designers, growth marketers

$24,000 -$42,000

$24,000 -$42,000

Group 3. Developers and Sr. tech talent (4+ years)

$42,000-$66,000

$42,000-$66,000

Group 4. Sr. software & data engineering (7+ years)

$66,000-$102,000

$66,000-$102,000

1:1 recruiting support

via integration

Talent focus

*Transparent pricing refers to understanding how much a company takes as a percentage of how much a client pays for hired talent. These prices are estimates and always depend on the final offer the candidate takes.

Need help with cost expectations?

Our hiring costs vary depending on the candidate's accepted offer. Use our calculator to estimate costs for different roles.

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At Teilur, Inc, we are committed to accuracy and fairness in all our content. Our discussions and comparisons, particularly those concerning other businesses in the recruitment industry, are grounded in the best interpretations made by our dedicated staff, based on publicly available information. We hold a deep respect for the unique qualities of each organization within our field and strive to offer valuable insights rooted in our core beliefs about the recruitment industry's workings. If you encounter any factual inaccuracies in our content, we encourage you to reach out to us at content-research@teilurtalent.com with the specific URL in question. Your feedback is invaluable, and we are committed to reviewing and addressing your concerns.

Got questions? We've got answers.

1

How is Teilur Talent different from other tech recruiting companies in LATAM?

At Teilur Talent, we take a mission-focused approach to recruiting, ensuring that our candidates are aligned with your company's vision and goals. Unlike other tech recruiting companies in LATAM, who may focus solely on technical skills, we prioritize the cultural fit and dedication of our team members to your company. For this reason, we do not support project contractor or freelancer roles. Instead, we focus on fully devoted team members who will help you achieve long-term success. If you are looking for freelancers to complete one-off projects, you probably are better off going to companies like fiver.com, toptal.com or upwork.com.

2

How does Teilur Talent attract and retain the best talent compared to other companies?

At Teilur Talent, we offer our candidates competitive salaries that are 2x to 3x higher than what tech companies would pay locally. This allows us to attract top talent and retain highly motivated and loyal team members. Additionally, we focus on finding candidates whose values align with the purpose, visoin, and mission of our clients. This approach ensures that our engineers and tech talent are not just coding and completing task—rather, they become part of a greater purpose, which gives them meaning and helps us attract and retain the best talent.

3

What are the typical tech roles that Teilur Talent recruits for?

At Teilur Talent, we specialize in recruiting for a wide range of tech roles that are typically in high demand. These include positions such as DevOps engineers, QA analysts and engineers, back-end and front-end developers, data scientists, product managers, business developers, and technical sales positions. Essentially, we recruit for most roles that are needed in B2B and B2C tech-focused businesses.

4

What are Teilur Talent's fees and pricing structure?

At Teilur Talent, we believe in transparency. We charge a flat rate fee of 20% of what the client pays. This way, our clients know exactly what they are paying for and how much the candidate gets. As an example: If a client hires a software engineer for $60,000 per year ($5,000 per month), Teilur's monthly fee would be $1,000 (20% of $5,000). We don't believe in hidden fees or unwanted surprises, so we disclose all costs upfront to both candidates hired and companies. When exploring other alternatives, make sure they are transparent about their pricing. We believe this is paramount for the benefit of all parties involved in this new era of remote work.

5

What is the candidate screening process at Teilur Talent, and how do you ensure a good fit for my company?

At Teilur Talent, we take candidate screening very seriously. We use a multi-layered approach to find the best candidates for our clients, starting with screening thousands of candidates from our internal and proprietary networks. We leverage AI technology to assess whether a candidate matches the technical skills required for a given job opening. We also perform additional personal evaluations to ensure that the candidate has the soft skills, culture fit, and English language skills required to excel in their new role. Our rigorous screening process ensures that only the best candidates make it through to our clients, saving them time and helping them find the best talent for their teams.