This 4-Part Process Helps One Firm Vet Top Talent

This 4-Part Process Helps One Firm Vet Top Talent
Image credit: Peathegee Inc | Getty Images
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When firms like Google, Ideo, Airbnb and even Pfizer need a freelance Java expert or UX designer -- and they need it, like, yesterday -- they call Toptal. The $80 million company has developed a rigorous, four-part screening process: “We get thousands of applicants every month,” says cofounder and CEO Taso du Val, “and we take the top 3 percent.” Here’s how Toptal vets its freelancers.

Hurdle One: Soft-Skills Screening

“We have to screen for adulthood,” says cofounder and COO Breanden Beneschott. “You need to be able to work across the world and still get stuff done. So, do you have a certain energy level? Are you disciplined? If you’re one minute late to the call -- literally 60 seconds late -- it’s an automatic fail.” 

26.4 percent of original applicants make it to the next round…

Hurdle Two: Coding Challenge

Applicants are given 90 minutes to solve three coding problems. Even developers with decades of experience face-plant under the pressure. “And if there’s a hint of cheating, you’re never going to get into Toptal,” says Beneschott.

7.4 percent of original applicants make it to the next round…

Hurdle Three: Big-Brother-Style Exercises

Toptal hopefuls have to share their screens so an evaluator can watch their every keystroke. This is as much about creativity and collaboration as speed and intellect, so candidates are encouraged to talk through their thought process. 

3.6 percent of original applicants make it to the next round…

Hurdle Four: Faux Project

Test projects can take 30 or more hours to complete. “People at the very top are so much better than everybody else -- they’re endlessly hungry, endlessly talented,” says Beneschott. “It’s hugely valuable to find them.” 

That’s how 3 percent of original applicants make it into Toptal.

Check out more companies on the 2016 Brilliant 100 list

loading...
More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors will guide you through the entire franchising process, for FREE!
  1. Book a one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Take a survey about your needs & goals
  3. Find your ideal franchise
  4. Learn about that franchise
  5. Meet the franchisor
  6. Receive the best business resources
Entrepreneur Insider members enjoy exclusive access to business resources for just $5/mo:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • A 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur