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Toptal vs. Upwork for Recruiting

Recruiting is hard work.  It requires more patience than dealing with clients. More skills go into being able to screen, analyze, and then appropriately utilize and develop a freelancers skill set than almost any other type of task.

Freelancers can be any number of things. Effective, reliable, and timely are a few of the most important aspects that many employers look for.  How possible that depends on the pool of applicants they sift through. Toptal vs. Upwork is one of many things that employers look at to minimize their costs but maximize their applicant pool and chances of finding a winner or winners.

Which is better? Well, in this brief article we go into the details that make one or the other better.

We look at the following:

  • Usability
  • Quality Of Freelancers
  • Cost

Toptal is as easy as possible for recruiters with money to spend to use.  It provides data and a pool of highly vetted top-tier talent that few others can match.  That said, they are often at a price point that matches their quality. Finding a bargain is much less likely, but so is the chance that they will not follow through on a project to your exact specifications.

For finding programmers and project managers, Toptal is focused on trying to establish themselves as the defacto choice for top-tier companies, boasting their high profile client base and placements for their freelancers.

While they don’t come cheap, they get the job done.

On the other hand, Upwork is known for being relatively inexpensive and offering a sheer number of choices.  It’s easy to find a diamond in the rough that can lead to being a permanent team member depending on your projects/needs.

Upwork has an option to pay $50 for wider exposure and others to get the top talent interested.  You can select a number of options to customize your search process to find potential contract employees that are perfectly fitted to your project. They submit their bid and depending on their track record and pitch; you can shortlist or outright deny, making it a quick process.

The general consensus amongst smaller firms is that Toptal is the perfect choice for when you need that perfect but costly candidate.  Upwork is the defacto choice for when you have some time and are willing to dig a bit to find who works best with your team/project.

Upwork has its merits but it’s a bit harder to screen than using a site like Toptal that already has done the screening for you. Toptal only hires the best of the best, in their own words, but it has proven to work for them. It’s a matter of cost, but also in how much time you have to pick your winner.

If we had to name a winner both for cost and time effectiveness, then we would have to say Upwork because it’s reliable and offers sheer diversity.  Toptal is advantageous if you are constrained on time and need to focus on quality over cost. The best companies use them, so why should yours?

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