By Chris Thompson
Whether it’s overwhelming job ads or the pressure to create the perfect resume, the job application and interview process can be somewhat daunting. This is why preparation is key, as while you can’t necessarily control your nerves, you can always control the amount of preparation you do. To try and help you, we’ve compiled this list of common Salesforce Administrator interview questions.
As well as prompting you to brush up on your technical knowledge, typical interview questions can also give you an idea of what to expect in the interview, and reinforce the fact that there is no need to be anxious ahead of a brilliant opportunity — if you’re prepared, you can allow yourself to be confident.
Why not take some time out ahead of your next interview to run through them and, more importantly, try and come up with some answers?
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Below is a sample of some of the questions you can expect to come across during your interview. Focus on the topics that are touched upon in these questions rather than revising answers for each — you can never anticipate what will be asked in the interview, so wider research around these areas will only help to entrench your knowledge.
The following questions are not necessarily specific to Salesforce Administrators, but are valuable to know in the wider context of CRM and data administration. Remember that not everyone conducting an interview will be an expert in your field, and many will be more concerned with the basics of what you know and how your skills can provide them with a solution.
These interview questions are more specific to the administrator role. If you struggle to answer any of these questions, be sure to undertake learning not only to find the answer but also to understand the area around it. Identifying gaps in your knowledge at this stage is fantastic. It gives you the opportunity to do some wider reading, enrol on a Salesforce course, or even look into certification.
These questions aren’t necessarily designed to test your knowledge but rather to get to know you as a person. After all, you are being contracted to spend 40+ hours a week with your new employer, so they need to be convinced that you will be a positive addition to the workforce, bringing ambition and drive.
You might be book smart, but your employer will also want to find out how experienced you are in your field. This isn’t necessarily testing your knowledge, but rather the challenges you’ve faced in the past and how you overcome them. It would be unrealistic to pretend that you’ve never encountered adversity — how else are you supposed to learn? Think about your responses to the following experience-driven questions.
The interviewer may even want to see your practical experience first hand. It’s not uncommon to be asked to code or operate software during the interview, where your screen will either be recorded or you will have someone looking over your shoulder at what you’re doing. You may be presented with a technical issue or a challenge and then given a time limit to perform the required action, explaining what you are doing as you work.
As well as testing your competency, the interviewer will also be getting a glimpse of how you work as part of a team — how you communicate with non-experts and reach a common goal based on their needs. For an idea of what type of requests you could face, check out the coding challenges section of SFDC99 and practice coding in your Developer Edition.
In this section we will present answers to some of the more typical interview questions, as well as explain why we included what we did in the answer. Sometimes answering interview questions isn’t necessarily about firing off a solution, but rather explaining your thought process to reach that solution using examples or communicating in a way that the interviewer understands.
What is a profile in Salesforce?
“A profile is a way to set up a user to be able to perform certain functions or access certain features. It is kind of like setting permissions, as the features and functions you have access to is dependent on the type of profile you have. There are two types of profile: standard and custom.”
While you could go into more detail about the different types of standard and custom profiles, as well as where these profiles come from, you should bear in mind why the interviewer is asking you this question — is it a simple test of knowledge or are they looking for a genuine solution? By explaining what a profile is and likening it to something that even a computer novice would understand, you are communicating yourself clearly while also demonstrating your knowledge. Often if the interviewer is satisfied with your knowledge just from the way in which you answer the meat of the question, they won’t need you to go into great detail (but why not be prepared to anyway!)
What are the differences between Salesforce Classic and Lightning?
“Salesforce Classic is still perfectly fine to use, but the newer Lightning has the benefit of being faster, more functional, mobile-ready, and integrates far more easily with other platforms. However, there is no need to migrate to lightning unless there is a business reason for doing so; could we benefit from Einstein’s AI features, not simply admire the new interface? Migration can be time-consuming and shut departments down until it is completed, so there is no need to unless necessary.”
This answer demonstrates knowledge of Lightning in comparison to Classic, discusses the advantages of the new UI and even evaluates the benefits of migrating against the time/cost of doing so. Discussing the question in the context of how it would impact the business is a great way to let the interviewer know that you take the whole operation into account when formulating solutions.
Some of the job applicants are Salesforce certified, but we can see that you are not. Why is this?
“Salesforce certification is a fantastic option for Salesforce professionals, but I’ve yet to find time in my busy schedule to invest into studying for the exam. I feel that by gaining more practical, real-life experience I can revisit the certification path as a nuanced Administrator and hopefully spend less time and effort on the Trailhead badges as a result of my knowledge. There are two types of Admin certification, both basic and advanced level, and hopefully in the future I can attain both when the time is right.”
If you are certified, great! If not, be prepared to explain why not, and be honest. With this answer, you have diplomatically explained that while you respect and aspire to pursue Salesforce certification, you have prioritised your time to get more practical experience. You have demonstrated your knowledge of certification, showing clearly that you have considered it, which lets the employer know that you are in touch with the Salesforce ecosystem and are conscious of what your fellow professionals are doing. If you aren’t yet clued up on certification and would prefer to learn more, check out our Salesforce Admin Certification guide.
By the time you’ve reached the interview stage of your job hunt, you’ve already been whittled down and deemed a solid candidate for the position. This shows you may have the skills and experience required for the job, but how can you excel and stand out from the others competing for that specific role?
Demonstrating to your employer that you have a real self-awareness about your skill level and capabilities makes you trustworthy and honest. You need to enter new positions confident that you can meet the needs of a business. If you’re applying for a company supporting thousands of users and your previous experience is managing a small org, you should consider whether the jump is too big. Be realistic, but also remember to celebrate your achievements. The interview questions are geared towards understanding your capabilities, so don’t be too modest to highlight them — others won’t share your modesty.
Salesforce created personas to define different levels of Administrators, as well as their roles and responsibilities. It’s helpful to understand which category you fit into, or closely resemble so that you can apply for jobs that suit you best. Using correct terminology also helps reinforce the idea that you have a clear understanding of the ecosystem and the organization; something all employers look for.
Adept Admins have mastered basic customizations and are now trying to learn (and discover the limitations of) advanced declarative features.
All-Star Admins are experts at using Salesforce tools. They focus on optimizing their org’s end-to-end implementation, keeping up with new features, and managing all they’ve built.
Accelerated Admins have been using Salesforce forever. They have grown with the product over time, and are now focused on efficiency more than developing their skills.
For a more informal exercise check out this quiz from Salesforce, which uses your preferred working methods and perceived strengths and weaknesses to determine which type of Admin you are.
Be clear and concise during the interview process, particularly when asked Salesforce Administrator-specific questions. It’s important to read your audience and not go on long, technical tangents when explaining points. Whilst you should demonstrate you have a deep knowledge of the platform, avoid unnecessary waffle.
This goes back to understanding what level admin you really are, but it’s so important it’s worth delving into more. Have you struggled with a particular issue before? Have you had to outsource a resolution in the past? Be open about this but, crucially, demonstrate how you got over your limitations in the past. This demonstrates your problem-solving skills, which are highly valued.
Prepare to be questioned on your portfolio of Salesforce projects. What projects have you completed in the past? How did they affect the business as a whole? What were your specific responsibilities within each project? You may have included examples of your work in your portfolio when applying for the role, so feel free to reference these, especially if they can be accessed during the interview (hard copy/laptop).
Be confident in talking about your career. During the interview, demonstrate how this job is a logical step for growth in your career and what you hope to get out of it. This kind of enthusiasm instils confidence in your potential employer, as it shows ambition and drive. Don’t forget to discuss your hopes for the future, as showing you have long-term goals in Salesforce further strengthens you as a candidate and helps you stand out.
We wish you the best of luck during your next interview—if you need any guidance from our consultants, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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