This is not an official FAQ from Toptal. It's all based on my personal experience. Take it with a grain of salt - very opinionated notes ahead. These are all real questions I've been asked over the years.
It depends on factors like your specialty, experience, time availability, and timezone. In general, for a web developer with +3 years of experience looking for full-time or part-time, I'd say you can get a gig in 2-3 weeks.
Yes. I've been working (as talent) at Toptal for quite a few years now and it's been pretty stable. For 18 months I had a contract for 50 hrs/week paid at a very good hourly rate. I married, traveled, and lived well.
There are certainly more jobs for web development (both for backend and frontend) than anything else. Clients are normally looking for experts, expect to be treated as such. Jobs are mostly full-time and part-time.
Assuming you're a developer, you basically need English proficiency and fluency solving algorithms. It also helps to have a minimum of 2-3 years of experience. I wrote a free eBook to help you.
You can set your own rate. However, it's unlikely for a client to pay you $100 USD/hour, unless you're very special. I'm under NDA so I can't disclose my rate but Toptal shows some average numbers here and here.
No. I worked with a client full-time for 18 months until I decided to part ways. Full-time and part-time jobs are normally expected to last between 6-24 months.
None of that. You work for one hour, they pay you one hour. You might get special treatment if you have a very good relationship with your client. The norm is to pause your engagement once you go on vacation.
No. As a freelance, you need to take care of that yourself.
No. Once you get in, you sign a form where you confirm you'll be paying taxes in your country. You will then report your earnings as an independent contractor in your country.
I don't recommend applying if you don't have at least 2-3 years of experience. It'll be a disservice for you, the client, and Toptal. Don't rush. Enjoy being a junior but train like you're an expert.
No. You won't make it too far in the process if you're not fluent in solving algorithms. Check out my free eBook to prepare. Then start solving easy-level algorithms in Leetcode, Hackerrank, or Interview Cake.
I have referred well over 190 people. Only 3 of them have passed. Now, this is not to scare you. The process is not difficult per se, it just needs a good amount of preparation.
I'd say 90% of the projects are very challenging. I've worked on hard things I didn't know I was capable of like web 3D graphics, service workers manual tuning, CICD setup from scratch, you name it.
Yes. Toptal recruiters find a handful of Toptalers to fulfill a position. Then the client interviews all of the Toptalers and picks whoever they want. There are plenty of projects for everybody, though.
There's no need to quit your job. First, pass the interviews. Then, pick up an hourly or part-time job. Once you feel ready to take the plunge, do it. If Toptal doesn't work out, there are some more platforms to work on.
That can't be more misleading. I myself have interacted with very impressive developers from all over the world in Toptal including, of course, people from India and Africa.
You're better off doing your thing. You won't probably get that much in Toptal but maybe, if you're very special (99th percentile), you can get very close.
You can change your rate whenever you want. That is, you still need to go through an uncomfortable conversation with your recruiter. Stay firm and ask for what you deserve.
Most likely not. It depends on the client. Just make sure to set clear expectations with the client and be responsible. Join any mandatory call and then manage the rest of your time as you please.
Got any more questions? Ping me at Twitter or post them in the comments. I'll keep this post up-to-date as I come across more questions.