Toptal Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Toptal Interview Questions

Interviews at Toptal

174 Interview Reviews

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  1. Featured Interview

    Helpful (73)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Toptal (New York, NY) in November 2016.

    Interview

    1 - The first interview is a brief (about 20 minutes) behavioral interview. Nothing to be scared of here. As long as you are who you say you are on your application and you can speak English you will be just fine.
    2 - Next, you are given a link to an online coding challenge, which you need to complete within two days. It consists of 3 problems which should be solved in 90 minutes once you start. My particular problems varied in difficulty. The first one was very easy, the second was medium and the last one was hard. You need to think about efficiency here, as they give you the specific time and memory requirements for your code. So move fast, but code efficiently.
    3 - If you pass that, you will have a live interview with a Toptal engineer over Skype or Hangouts. You will be asked to share your screen so the engineer can see you code in your own preferred environment. I had two questions and they were both very simple. The catch is that they are timed. I had 15 minutes to solve each of them, which turned out to be more than needed.
    4 - If everything goes smoothly, you will be given your final project specifications. How long this takes you will depend on your experience. But I'd say you should expect to spend about 20-30 hours on your project. You have 2 weeks to complete it, but start early so you're not rushing at the end. If you have any questions, clarify them with the developer who you will present to. Don't just assume everything on your own. The presentation consists of showing off what you built and then being asked questions about it. My interviewer asked me to see my code and how I implemented some of the features and also asked questions to make sure I actually understood how things like APIs and HTTP requests work.
    5 - If you pass the presentation, you are in!


  2. Helpful (9)  

    Contract Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Riverside, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5 weeks. I interviewed at Toptal (Riverside, CA) in February 2018.

    Interview

    The interview process was thorough. Though it took several weeks, the actual interviews were very personable however they have others that are currently in the position interview you before the hiring manager interviews. Therefore I feel like some of the staff were a little weary since they are very protective of their work. Although towards the end of the interviews with the staff it became pleasant, I felt that they were a little cold because their mentality is that nobody can do the job as well or better than they can. I do feel like scheduling the interviews was a little lengthy. There are four interviews (at least for this position) and it took a week or longer for each person to become available for the interview.

    I got through the recruiter interview and the two employee interviews. I had mentioned to the recruiter what I was making as a Contract Specialist at my last company and wanted her to know that I was interested in discussing salary options (since Toptal was offering about 40% less) she said that she would discuss it with management. I didn't say that I woldn't take the position, just wanted to know more details and if they were open to negotiations. When it came time for the second employee interview she had asked me what my salary expectations were. I was confused why a fellow potential colleague would be asking me a question like that? I've never heard of anything like that before. We talked about it and the interview ended great.

    I didn't hear anything for a week so I followed up. I contacted the recruiter and she said that we would schedule an interview in the next week. When I followed up one last time a week later she said that they were not interested in me since they felt they could not meet my salary expectations and that was that. I never discussed it further with the recruiter or manager! I just wanted to know options and they completely dismissed me not to mention the fact that I felt it was completely unprofessional for a colleague to be asking me about salary expectations. These employees were both (separately) talking about how they work 14hr days at times, yet they want you to be OK with taking less and working much much more.

    TL;DR: Company was not open to not only negotiations of salary but even the discussion. Companies that are not open means they will not respect your needs in the future. Companies that are ignorant in believing that each and every person on the planet works in order to bring in an income to take care of themselves expect you to value their company more than you value yourself.

    Interview Questions

    • One thing they asked was if I could describe my past experience and how it pertains to the role I was applying for. The questions were standard and it was nice to get the perspective of the current employees since they know the daily grind whereas management may not be aware of certain things.   Answer Question
  3. Helpful (8)  

    Contractor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience

    Interview

    My experience was similar to many others. Any organization that uses a timed test to determine top talent is seriously on the wrong track. The test was pretty absurd and not at all representative what it takes to be a successful contractor, or a successful problem solver. I stopped the test after answering just a couple of questions. It seems like it was written by people who don’t understand how successful engineers work these days. Speed kills!


  4. Helpful (7)  

    Contractor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 12+ months. I interviewed at Toptal.

    Interview

    Toptal had a pretty simple interview process, at least as far as I experienced it.
    The recruiter sent an email expressing their interest in hiring me, scheduled and conducted a short phone screen, and then extended an offer for a technical skills test.

    This is where things fell apart. The skills test was essentially three coding exercises over 90 minutes. The first time I took the test, it went poorly - I approached the test with the wrong basic idea, and I accepted my mistake. They offered a re-test after one month had passed and I took them up on it. The second test I approached with a mindset better suited for [silly, unrealistic] coding challenges.

    Unfortunately, I attempted to use their testing IDE (codility) to properly simulate the datasets they said the code would be tested under. The system failed with unclear errors, causing me to lose time looking for errors in my code. In fact, the errors were in the test data, but the test data complied with all listed requirements. This cost me enough time to just barely put my final solution outside of the time window for the test, causing a significant point loss (one of three problems failed). Ironically, this third question was far outside the realm of what most would consider a "simple" test, and from follow-up survey questions by the testing platform, seemed to either be a known-issue question, or an untested question.

    I brought up these issues with the toptal rep after they asked for feedback, and expected an understanding response, hopefully addressing the shortcomings of the IDE and minimally engaging in another one-month-later retry. Instead the toptal representative was dismissive, and just short of disrespectful, citing that there were no issues with the system and that their testing methods were tried and proven. I offered to share the test data which had broken their system and they had no interest in addressing or even considering that their testing environment had a fundamental flaw.

    At the end I was told I could re-apply in two years. I have serious reservations about working with a company so blatantly ignorant and self-blinding to an issue reported with reproducible evidence in their own hiring system. What deeper issues would exist in a company unwilling to face reality when given all the facts freely by an unpaid third party (potential future employee). If anything, a potential employee has motivation not to alienate potential employers by reporting an issue with the employer's system.

    Interview Questions


  5. Helpful (3)  

    Leadership Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Toptal (Los Angeles, CA) in May 2016.

    Interview

    phone interview went very well. I informed them I had experience with virtual work related position since I worked previously as a virtual operations coordinator. I work well alone and also with a group.

    Interview Questions

    • where do you see yourself in 5 years? how many hours per week do you like to work? do you work well alone and without a lot of supervision?   Answer Question

  6. Helpful (3)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Remote, OR
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Toptal (Remote, OR) in January 2019.

    Interview

    By far, the worst interview experience I had until now! I applied to be a freelancer software engineer with Toptal, the process was the following one:

    - Interview in English with a human resources person, the interview was nice and i passed this step
    - Online algorithm test in hackerrank or leetcode style, it was easy and i passed by the way.
    - interview with a software engineer for discussing some algorithms (in theory) - here the
     problems with the interview process happened.

    I was expecting to have a technical discussion, but when the interviewer arrived he said just one thing, that he didn't know what the human resources professional saw on me and that my experience didn't qualify me as a good software engineer because they were mostly part time or non formal jobs. He didn't ask any question, just said how unqualified i was, and he was very disrespectful. Almost crying, I tried to say that I didn't agree on what he was saying and he said that he would end the call and send the results by e-mail on the next day, and no surprise I got rejected. This was the single time ever that I cried because how someone treated me on a job interview! BTW, lucky because I didn't get into that company, because later I could receive an offer from a big4 tech giant.Not so fast... please remove the bad language before submitting.

    Interview Questions

    Toptal Response

    May 1, 2019 – Head of Client Experience

    We are committed to ensuring every applicant applying to our talent network is treated with the utmost level of respect and professionalism. Please send us a note at support@toptal.com so we can... More


  7. Helpful (19)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Remote, OR
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Toptal (Remote, OR) in September 2017.

    Interview

    Phone interview -> Quick coding challenges through screenshare -> Project -> Project Review.

    The big issue is the project. They give you two weeks and expect an entire application with all the bells and whistles. The assignment may mention a minimal UI, they expect a fully fleshed out UX anyways.

    The project is not difficult, but it is time consuming. I spent minimal time on it as I had to take time away from paid work to do it, so every hour I spent on this cost me 50USD in lost opportunity. So I wasn't willing to spend the time they were looking for and this interview essentially cost me over a thousand dollars for a rejection.

    So, if you're currently unemployed and there's no opportunity cost and you really want it, go for it. But if you have other opportunities you'd be as happy with, don't do what I did, don't waste your time here unless you can commit 40 hours or have non-NDA'd work you can copy paste and adjust for the test.

    Interview Questions

    • Build a whole CRUD application with auth and roles with all the bells and whistles and a rest API.   2 Answers
  8. Helpful (8)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Remote, OR
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Toptal (Remote, OR) in May 2017.

    Interview

    They have 4 or 5 stage interview process from phone screen to technical interview. Phone screen is very basic, the rest mostly is to test you technical skills with least amount of effort possible.

    Interview Questions

    • A was asked to solve several basic programming textbook tasks with short time limit.   1 Answer

  9. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Toptal (San Francisco, CA) in January 2017.

    Interview

    Very rude interviewer in the screening process. He was a bad image for Toptal as He scheduled the interview just to inform me that my application will be rejected !

    Interview Questions

    Toptal Response

    Feb 22, 2017 – Head of Client Experience

    If and when Toptal decides not to move a candidate forward in the application process, it’s standard policy to inform that candidate via email. This process differs only if we learn new information... More


  10. Helpful (7)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Toptal (New York, NY) in February 2017.

    Interview

    Three or more steps interview. First is screening, second technical and third small project presentation. Problem is that project is not well described, they told you to do few things and then ask you why you didn't do all other staff? You can be declined even if you know how to do things. You need to guess what they want.

    Interview Questions

    • Questions similar like on the site   1 Answer

    Toptal Response

    May 3, 2017 – Head of Client Experience

    Prior to the project portion of our screening process, candidates receive an email clearly outlining the project details and requirements (both functional and nonfunctional). Some of these details... More


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