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Toptal has long held the crown as a leading platform in the premium freelance marketplace, boasting an intricate vetting system supported by robust recommendations. Their consistent quality control has earned them accolades over the years.
However, with the freelance workforce growing and the rise of remote work, many other platforms have sprung up, offering unique ways to connect companies with freelancers. If you're considering branching out from Toptal, we have a list of alternatives to guide you.
Why Opt for Toptal Alternatives?
It's essential to pinpoint the reasons to consider a Toptal alternative:
- Pricing Flexibility: Maybe you seek different pricing structures or wish to negotiate directly with a freelancer.
- Specific Freelancer Unavailability: Sometimes, Toptal might not have the freelancer matching your precise needs and budget.
Top 8 Toptal Alternatives to Hire Developers
While you're exploring Toptal alternatives, remember that you might be specifically searching for platforms with a vetting process similar to Toptal. However, depending on your requirements, there are various platforms, ranging from the well-known like Upwork and Gigster to newer platforms like Hubstaff Talent.
1. Trio vs Toptal
Trio specializes in rapidly scaling software engineering teams with top-tier senior and mid-level talent.
Based in Boston, MA, Trio sits at the heart of the Eastern tech community providing startups and mid-size enterprises with the talent and support they need to achieve their business goals.
Their vetting process, combined with deep customer support and personalized matching ensures you receive developers that match your requirements and will be long-term team members.
Comparing with Toptal: While Trio provides superior quality developers at competitive rates, Toptal provides a wider range of technologies, skills and roles.
Cost: Expect to spend between $48-$75/hr for developers from Trio.
2. Flexiple vs Toptal
Despite being a lean team, Flexiple has caters to numerous clients looking for freelancers. Their vetting process, combined with personalized matching, ensures you get the best fit.
Comparing with Toptal: While Flexiple offers comparable talent quality at competitive rates, Toptal, due to its vastness, might have more niche skills.
Cost: Expect to spend between $30-$80/hr for developers from Flexiple.
Risks: Flexiple offers a wide range of freelance developers. The risks associated with hiring freelance developer talent is widely known, and Flexiple is no exception. Learn more about the risks of hiring freelance developers here.
3. Upwork vs Toptal
Unlike Toptal, Upwork doesn’t vet its freelancers. It's a vast platform where freelancers bid for projects, suitable for short-term tasks where cost might be a higher concern than quality.
Comparing with Toptal: While Upwork offers a broad range of freelancers across various domains, it might not be the ideal fit for long-term projects.
Cost: Freelancer rates can start at $8-$15/hr, going up to $200/hr.
Risks: Upwork suffers from serious quality issues, making it difficult for non-experienced managers looking to hire developers to find the right fit. Freelance developer talent tend not to be loyal in the long-term and can leave customers high and dry at the drop of a dime.
4. Arc.dev vs Toptal
Arc.dev focuses on providing AI-driven staffing solutions via a marketplace for remote software developers. They also provide contractor options as well.
Comparing with Toptal: Arc.dev is very close to Toptal as a marketplace, however they are focused on placing full-time hires. .
Cost: Arc charges a fee based on the candidate's annual salary only when you decide to hire.
Risks: Staffing can be a great option for companies looking to hire internal team members. Arc’s need to be a scalable marketplace might cause some issues with their vetting process as they aren’t able to tailor specifically to your needs.
5. Hubstaff Talent vs Toptal
A newer platform offering a free service, Hubstaff Talent emphasizes software-driven freelancer-project matching.
Comparing with Toptal: Unlike Toptal, Hubstaff Talent is more of an open database of freelancers.
Cost: The platform is free for businesses and freelancers.
Risks: Hubstaff is a general purpose staffing database, which means most of the validation process (the actual time consuming stuff) is placed onto you and your team. Another concern is the quality and relevance of the talent in their database as well.
6. Gun.io vs Toptal
Gun.io is a direct-hire and freelance solution for companies looking to save time in their hiring process.
Comparing with Toptal: While both focus on quality, Gun.io's pool is smaller due to its exclusivity.
Cost: Expect rates between $75 to $150 per hour.
Risks: Certain risks apply when dealing with freelance networks.
7. Gigster vs Toptal
Ideal for businesses needing a fast tech team augmentation, Gigster uses AI to build the perfect team for you.
Comparing with Toptal: Gigster offers end-to-end solutions, charging per project.
Cost: A project starts at a steep $52,000 per license.
Risks: Gigster has had to reposition a few times in the past 5 years. From agency to now team augmentation solution, some risks range from their ability to succeed fundamentally as a business, to all the processes inside.
8. Fiverr vs Toptal
Pioneering the order-based freelance model, Fiverr caters to one-off specific tasks.
Comparing with Toptal: More suitable for smaller tasks, Fiverr doesn’t offer any quality guarantees.
Cost: Services range from $5 to $995.
Risks: Fiverr is probably not the place to find web application developers for direct-hire or long-term work, as it’s not positioned as a platform to fulfill the needs of tech leaders.
Which Toptal Alternative Suits You?
Your choice depends entirely on your needs:
For top-tier talent that delivers real impact
Trio has long been one of the leading providers of top-tier senior level talent, with a strong emphasis to support developers to drive real impact at the teams they are a part of.
They are able to scale your team with quality senior and mid-level talent within 5 days and support partners throughout the process, creating a long-term partnership that helps companies grow and achieve their business goals.
For talent without breaking the bank
Consider Trio, Flexiple and Gun.io when your looking to hire developers without stretching your budget.
Each option has their own vetting mechanism for developers, and ideally they will pair you with the best match for your needs, offering a seamless way to expand your technical team.
It’s up to you to decide which process you like the best, and who you feel like can deliver what you need the best.
When time is of the essence in hiring
When quick hiring is your top priority, Trio, Flexiple, and Gun.io stand out as the go-to platforms. Their efficient processes and customer service mean you can kickstart your project in a span of 48 hours to a week.
If budget constraints are tight
For those aiming to avoid platform fees and are comfortable vetting candidates personally, Hubstaff Talent is a smart pick.
The platform boasts a continually expanding list of remote developers, giving you the tools to pinpoint and connect with your ideal match.
For those not familiar with how to hire software developers or build teams, this might not be the safest option.
For short-duration projects or tasks
For brief assignments or singular tasks, freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr come highly recommended.
Their vast freelancer pool spans a broad spectrum of pricing, often starting below $15/hr. However, their open bidding nature and lack of preliminary freelancer evaluation make them more suited to minor technical jobs.
For ongoing, long-term projects
If you have an extended project necessitating steady developmental effort, top-tier platforms such as Trio, and Arc.dev are your best allies.
These platforms are invaluable if you’re on the lookout for developers to bolster your technical crew but wish to remain hands-on with the developmental trajectory.
When you need a development team
For those considering outsourcing the complete developmental cycle and seeking a comprehensive team, Trio or Gigster are your go-to options.
Both Trio and Gigster allow you to onboard development along with a project overseer. Gigster’s premium pricing might be a stretch for many budding enterprises, so Trio might be a more affordable option without sacrificing talent quality.
Another way to look at which Toptal alternatives you should consider is:
- Top-Tier Talent: Trio
- Tight-Budget: Flexiple, Gun.io
- Swift Hiring: Trio, Flexiple, Gun.io
- No Expenditure: Hubstaff Talent
- Short-Term Projects: Upwork and Fiverr
- Long-Term Engagements: Trio, Arc.dev
- Full Development Team: Trio, Gigster
Remember to carefully weigh your requirements against each platform's offerings to find your ideal match.
5 min read
Despite the economy, software is still built and early-stage tech entrepreneurs and non-technical business owners are looking into freelance talent to build their products. Platforms like Upwork are often seen as the go-to solution for freelance hiring.
But as demand for freelancers grows, so does the need for alternatives. Some users seek a unique user interface, lower fees, or a more specialized talent pool.
Whatever the reason, knowing the alternatives to Upwork is crucial for freelancers and employers alike.
Why the Need for Upwork Alternatives?
When it comes to software development, Upwork has traditionally been a risky place for entrepreneurs to find great developers. There’s very little in the way of guaranteeing that someone is the right fit for your team.
Time is not an option for most entrepreneurs. Things need to be built quickly, but well enough for it to deliver value to their customers and get them to the next level.
In this guide, we’ll explore some Upwork alternatives to consider and help you decide which option might be right for you!
What to Look for in an Upwork Alternative?
An Upwork alternative should be more than just a new platform; it should offer unique advantages tailored to your needs. This might include specialized skills, enhanced user experience, or simply better rates.
If you’re looking for software developers, then right Upwork alternative is out there, it doesn’t even need to be a fancy platform!
Known for its ease of use and wide variety, Fiverr offers freelancers a platform to showcase diverse talents. Whether you're an employer seeking creative assistance or a freelancer starting out, Fiverr's intuitive interface guides you through the process effortlessly.
From micro-tasks to major projects, Fiverr's unique gig system allows for unparalleled flexibility. Want a simple logo or an entire website overhaul? You'll find professionals at every price point.
Pros and Cons of Fiverr
- Extensive range of services
- Suitable for various budgets
- Great for small and simply tech needs
- Quality can be inconsistent
- Service fees may add up
- Not the best for software/app development
Trio helps companies gain a competitive advantage by building and scaling their teams with top-tier tech talent.
Companies can scale their teams extremely fast with Trio and tap into their management capabilities to ensure high development velocity and retention.
Pros and Cons of Trio
- Largest vetted premium talent pool of developers in Latin America
- Can deliver top-tier developers in under 5 days
- Excellent support and long-term management
- Extremely high retention rate
- Doesn’t have a self-service platform yet
If you're looking for software talent, Toptal promises just that. It claims to host the top 3% of freelance talent, making it a go-to for those seeking expertise.
With a rigorous screening process, Toptal ensures you're connected with skilled professionals. However, this exclusivity comes at a higher price.
Pros and Cons of Toptal
- High-quality freelancers
- Focused on specialized skills
- Limited to certain fields
- Not the best for building teams
- Freelance retension is quite low
- Freelancers won’t always care about your business mission, vision and values
Freelancer is a massive platform connecting over 30 million professionals. It's comprehensive and offers various project options.
Beyond its sheer size, Freelancer offers a unique bidding system, allowing freelancers to compete for projects.
Pros and Cons of Freelancer
- Extensive talent pool
- Competitive pricing through bidding
- Potentially overwhelming for new users
- Fees can be high for certain options
Guru is a platform that values long-term relationships. With a focus on collaboration, it’s ideal for ongoing projects.
With its WorkRoom feature, Guru allows seamless collaboration between freelancers and employers, making project management a breeze.
Pros and Cons of Guru
- Excellent collaboration tools
- Flexible payment agreements
- Smaller talent pool
- Interface may be less intuitive
A platform with a global reach, PeoplePerHour specializes in connecting small businesses with freelance talent.
With a curated talent pool, PeoplePerHour ensures quality without you having to sift through countless profiles.
Pros and Cons of PeoplePerHour
- Tailored for small businesses
- Quality assurance through curation
- Limited scope for larger businesses
- Service fees
7. Simply Hired
As a job board and freelance platform, Simply Hired offers a hybrid approach, making it suitable for various hiring needs.
Its diverse listings and job-matching technology make Simply Hired a dynamic platform for job seekers and employers alike.
Pros and Cons of Simply Hired
- Wide range of opportunities
- Job-matching technology
- Less focused on freelance
- Broad focus may dilute expertise
Remote.com is designed for the modern remote workforce. With an emphasis on tech roles, it's a hub for remote tech jobs.
Its focus on long-term remote work within the tech industry sets it apart, providing specialized opportunities.
Pros and Cons of Remote.com
- Specialized in tech roles
- Emphasizes long-term opportunities
- Limited to tech industry
- Less suitable for short-term gigs
How to Choose the Right Alternative for You
Understanding Your Needs
What are your project requirements? Are you a freelancer or employer? Answering these questions will guide you to the right platform.
Comparing Fees and Features
Consider not just the costs, but also the unique features and community support of each platform.
Assessing the Community and Support
Ensure the platform you choose has an engaging community and robust support, reflecting a healthy, active network.
From Fiverr's versatility to Toptal's exclusivity, these Upwork alternatives offer something for everyone.
The freelance world is rich and diverse, and these alternatives reflect that diversity. Choose wisely, align with your needs, and happy freelancing!
The perfect platform today might not be the perfect one tomorrow. Stay open, stay flexible, and stay engaged with the ever-changing freelance landscape.
3 min read
Finding adequate Developers is a strenuous task for any business but it can be even more arduous for Startups once they have to compete with big companies that can offer structured and well-defined processes, superb compensations and perks, career development, among other benefits.
Embracing challenges is a hallmark of a thriving startup, and attracting talented developers is no exception. Rest assured, with the right approach, it's entirely possible to recruit top-notch Developers for your venture. This comprehensive guide is dedicated to equipping you with invaluable strategies that will undoubtedly draw skilled developers to your doorstep.
Before diving into the Hiring Process
There are some important things you need to define before establishing a hiring process for your startup in order to make it smoother and more assertive.
- Define your project and its purpose
- Dimension the size of the Development Team
- Specify the roles you need for the Development Team
- Set up the Tech Stack of your project
- Measure the duration of the project
- Establish the budget for each role
- Determine whether the talent should be local or worldwide based
Now that you have given your project a shape, it’s time to build a hiring process that can help you to hire the best Senior Developers for your startup.
Mastering the hiring process for developers
It’s certain that each company should have a hiring process tailored for their needs and goals but there are some steps that shouldn’t be skipped when it comes to hiring talented developers. It can be applied to any kind of job openings you might have. So if you're looking to hire react developers, OpenAI developers or any kind of software engineers, these tips will certainly help you.
Build a clear and objective Job Description
A well-built Job Description will help your efforts in attracting targeted Developers for your company and project. Then make sure it has the following basic structure:
- It is clear and concise;
- It has a summary of your company and its culture;
- It contains valuable information about the role and seniority, main requirements and responsibilities, must-to-have and nice-to-have skills (both soft and technical), desired experience, compensation and perks, work conditions (contract type and duration, working hours, location), and any additional information that can grab candidates’ attention;
- It clarifies how the hiring process works (steps and time taken in each one of them).
Define your Sourcing strategy
Optimize your sourcing strategy for both active and passive candidates. Utilize platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub, Social Media, and Job Boards. However, don't rely solely on job postings, as many qualified candidates may not be actively searching.
Utilize platforms like Wellfound, Google, PeopleGPT, and others to proactively hunt for suitable candidates. Master Boolean search techniques to filter candidates aligned with your vacancy.
Shortlist candidates through a robust Screening Interview
Shortlisting candidates is crucial and it’s when you start narrowing the process and investing time talking only to the ones that are more adjusted to the job requirements.Among the relevant skillset for the vacancy, recruiters and hiring managers typically look for:
- Fluency in some specific language
- Educational background
- Certain projects or businesses
- Main technologies used
At this point, the main idea is to check if candidates accomplish the technical requirements established for the role, but more important than that, you want to check if they align with the company's culture by validating their soft skills.
- Choosing the right questions is a deal breaker for the screening call and it’ll help you gather relevant information about candidates’ experience. Some examples of types of questions you can adopt:
- Behavioral: Use open-ended questions to encourage the candidate to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain soft skills in their previous job or life experiences. For instance, ask questions such as "How do you prioritize your tasks?".
- Situational: These are hypothetical questions similar to behavioral questions. Instead of focusing on past experiences, they present unique scenarios to test problem-solving abilities. For example, you could ask, "If your project's tech stack suddenly changed, how would you respond?
- Competency-based: These questions assess candidates' skills, problem-solving, and past experiences. For example, ask, "Tell us about collaborating with a diverse team and how you handled it."
- Fact-based: These questions are intended to checking the prospect’s knowledge on a particular topic. Be sure to ask fact-based questions. E.g.: Which are the main KPIs you’ve been using? Could you please describe how you implemented them?
- Skill-based: They focus more on the candidate’s job performance rather than their behavior. These questions let you determine whether an applicant has the technical and problem-solving skills for the position. E.g.: How do you handle stress and pressure?
- Technical: These questions focus on technical matters, assessing the candidate's hard skills for a better fit. Ask about languages, frameworks, databases, methodologies, etc., crucial for the role. For example, inquire how they would troubleshoot an issue in a real-time chat application causing a 30-second freeze when clicking on a specific user.
- Evaluating the answers
- Question: Could you please tell us about a time you made a mistake that impacted a project negatively? What was your action on that occasion?
- Good answers: would bring up what happened, the kind of mistake they made, how they approached it, and then how came up with a solution to solve the problem.
- Not ideal answers: would not be so specific about the kind of mistake they made and how they faced and solved it. Usually, when candidates don’t feel comfortable sharing their failures they tend to hide information or go around the bush and not reveal what really happened.
If you don't feel prepared to conduct technical interviews with developers because you're unsure of what questions to ask or how to evaluate their answers, you can try Trio's AI-powered interview question generator.
Validating soft skills
As you need to hire a Developer who can perfectly unfold within your team and company taking into account just technical skills would not be enough, and this is when soft skills play a big role. So now let’s dive into some basic soft skills good developers should have.
- Communication: Effective communication is vital in today's remote and asynchronous work settings. It's essential for describing ideas, discussing approaches, giving presentations, providing updates, giving feedback, asking questions, and expressing concerns. Clear communication and understanding are crucial for maintaining a well-aligned, agile team.
- Team Work: Individuals should demonstrate adaptability to various projects and environments. However, it is extremely important for them to value working within a team that allows for easy navigation, knowledge sharing, idea contribution, and learning from other team members. They should also be able to provide and receive feedback, pass on information, ask questions, and offer help when needed.
- Collaboration: Every project involves multiple people, and team members must be able to work with one another effectively. Collaboration is the combination of all of the above qualities in order to effect positive change and move the project and company forward.
- Adaptability: The ability to adapt to new circumstances, situations, scenarios, and environments is vital for professionals to cope with changes, challenges, fast-paced environments, uncertainty, and lack of predictability. It enables them to be more creative and resilient, providing solutions and new strategies whenever any shifts occur.
Validating technical skills
After making sure the developers align with the skillset the role requires, you will need to check their technical abilities to ensure it meets the project’s expectations. Knowing exactly what technical level the candidates should have can help you design the type of technical validation that best adapts to your needs. At this point, you might need help from a technical person to help you evaluate candidates' results.
Ways to validate technical knowledge:
- Technical interviews: They are structured interviews with technical questions that can be more related to technologies or technical concepts and aspects.
- Technical tests/assessments: They are specific questions related to technologies such as language, framework, library, database, programming logic, algorithm, etc.
- Pair programming: It's a software development practice composed of a “driver” and a “navigator” in which two developers work together on a single workstation.
- Project executions: It consists of sending candidates a project with a specific scenario and its requirements and deliverables.
- Live coding: This is a method of writing and showcasing the code in real-time to the interviewers or reviewers.
- Professional portfolio/GitHub reviews: This is the practice of evaluating existing projects the candidate has already developed
- Team interviews: It's a robust interview conducted by some team members of the company with the goal of evaluating the ability of the prospect to navigate into different scenarios presented using mainly their technical and soft skills.
Measure candidates' results
Establish a consistent method to score candidates accordingly to their answers and performance. Good grades are closer to expected answers or the ones that super pass the expectations. Bad answers don’t approach points you’re expecting to be covered decreasing candidates' grades.
Attributing grades to candidates helps you to avoid bias in your process and makes it more thorough.
Extending an offer
After going through the whole hiring process and selecting the candidate that best aligns with the role and company's needs it's time to extend them an offer there are some points it should cover:
- Job title;
- Role description and activities/responsibilities;
- Compensation and perks;
- Work conditions (working time, hiring model, workplace, etc);
- Ideal starting date;
- Next steps (documentation and paperwork to be signed);
- Signing fields.
Onboarding the new hiring
You've put a huge effort into the hiring process to assure you hired the talent that best fits the role and requirements, so you're probably expecting that person to be part of your team as long as possible and besides that, you're envisaging that person to have a great performance after adapting to the workflow. In order for you to accomplish it, nailing the onboarding process is key for great results. This is how you can organize your onboarding:
- Provide useful information about the company, business, role, and internal processes;
- Introduce the new hiring to the team and key people in the company;
- Assign a Buddy to the new hiring;
- Equip them with the needed tools;
- Establish an agenda for follow-ups and feedback;
- Give them time to adjust;
- Create an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable to ask questions.
The hiring process is a long journey and it takes time not just from the company side but also from candidates. And at the end of it, just the pre-set number of candidates will convert into hiring. But the other ones, who failed it for any reason deserve your respect, so dedicate some time to provide them with useful feedback whenever they don't succeed at any stage of your recruitment process.
It can help you to enhance their interest in working with you in the future and strengthen the value perception of your employer branding.
We're here to help you
We know that executing a hiring process for your startup might not be so easy just by following the steps we've listed above and that it looks overwhelming and time-consuming. In that case, you can count on Trio to help you out by saving your time and efforts to hire only Senior Developers for your business.
7 min read