According to a 2012 study involving large software projects, as much as 66 percent went over their budget and about 33 percent went over their schedule. It was noted also in the same study that nearly half of the cost overruns was because of the failure to secure critically essential human resources, either from inside the organization or from outside consultancy. The problem, however, was not the absence of talent, but the channel to find world-class software talent who can quickly make up the team or augment an existing one. Toptal addresses this need by providing an elite network of freelancers with minimal to zero risk.
Toptal is a privately held job marketplace company based in San Francisco, CA, USA. It was founded in 2010 by Taso Du Val, CEO; and Breanden Beneschott, COO. Both are experienced engineers and brilliant entrepreneurs. In November, Deloitte ranked the company as the fastest growing talent marketplace in North America. Toptal has built an exclusive community of talented engineers and designers, from MIT, CERN, and Google, to name a few. Its business model differs from other open job marketplace companies due to its rigorous screening process to make sure it can supply quality software engineers and designers that fit the project team and requirement.
Finding the Perfect Match
To find the right Toptal resource, a client first has to tell it the kind of freelance tech talent it needs. The talent company can cater to dozens of different development and technical environments, with experts in different programming languages and device platforms. From its database, it will find for the client the most suitable talent for the project. To ensure smooth communications, all its freelancers speak, read and write English fluently. Clients will be able to work with the freelancers with zero risk for a trial period. Payment is expected only if the client is satisfied. These freelancers are ready to be part of the core project team or even make up the whole team.
Applicants go through a strict screening process so that clients are ensured that the talent they hire can deliver. The first step that applicants go through is a comprehensive interview that tests language, personality and communication. Next, knowledge of fundamental concepts and skills in problem solving are demonstrated in time-pressured tests. Afterwards, applicants are screened by at least two Toptal senior engineers or designers. Then a candidate is assigned to a test project to demonstrate their competence, professionalism and other important traits. Those who pass should continue to maintain an excellent track record. For each stage, the percentage of passers decreases until only the top 3 percent remains.
Fields of Expertise
Toptal has experts in many computer science technologies. Some of these are Android, AngularJS, API, C#, Django, HTML5, iOS, Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby and more. For instance, by clicking the link to Android developers, the site will display several top freelance developers from the USA, Germany, Macedonia, Croatia and Romania. Last October, the company also launched a job marketplace for designers, and some of the areas of expertise are Adobe Illustrator, Graphics, Logos, Mobile Apps, Photoshop, UI, UX and the Web, among others. When the Web Design link is clicked, the top freelance experts from the USA, Croatia, Argentina, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria and Austria are displayed.
Among Toptal’s clients are Axel Springer AG, J.P. Morgan, KDDI Laboratories America, Airbnb, Zendesk, and Art.sy. Mike Riess at RiessGroup stated that hiring their developers was a pleasant experience, where every developer has been professional, skilled and self-managing. Dennis Baldwin at Priceblink described the developer they hired as top notch, responsive and efficient. Most project engagements are large and serious, providing freelancers competitive compensation as well as more learning experience to become even better professionals. For project managers who are planning to fill up their resource list for an upcoming project or for those who are pressed for time to save a failing project, Toptal is a handy site that can provide the solution. Let us know your experience if you have tried them in your projects. They are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.