A few weeks ago, I passed my last screening stage for toptal.com software freelancing platform. Unlike other similar platforms, such as upwork and freelancer.com, this one is pretty hard to get in. They hire top 3% of freelance talent and they have a tough interviewing process to ensure that.
First of all, why would you want to be a part of toptal? I’ve tried a couple other freelancing platforms and I didn’t really like them that much. Since there is little to no skill assesment of the freelancers and a huge competition, you have to invest a lot of effort into justifying your skills to the clients every single time. Toptal is different. Because of the hard screening process, merely by passing it you have proven that you are good at what you do (and the clients know that).
The screening process itself has 4 stages:
- Skype interview with an HR person to assess your English skills and personality.
- Timed algorithm test: 3 coding exercises in 90 minutes on codility platform to assess your problem solving and algorithm skills.
- Live technical screening with a Sr. Engineer where you are asked technical questions and have to do live programming.
- A test project to prove that you are capable of working on a real life project. The project takes around 2 weeks to complete after which you have to present it to “the client” (one of toptal engineers).
The stages 2-4 were the most challenging and I’ve initially failed the 3rd stage because I ran out of time when doing the live coding. Fortunately, they let you retry it after 1 month and I was luckier with my second attempt.
Once I got accepted and setup my profile I could apply for jobs (yeah, you still have to do that). But since I was busy at the moment, I put it on hold. Even so, a few weeks later one of the recruiters found me an interview and after talking to the client I got hired as a Senior Software Developer/Architect.
All in all, my short experience with Toptal is very good and I’m happy to have joined their network. Go ahead and check them out, if you are looking for challening and exciting software projects or are in need of help with one.