Answers to the Real Salesforce Admin interview questions
If you read my previous post then you have had time to consider the questions and prepare your answers. See if you came up with the same responses as I did to these sample interview questions.
Note: Not all the questions are of a technical nature, this is because we need to know about you as a person too, what motivates you, what values you have and how well you will fit into our team. These questions are just as important as the technical skills so don’t overlook their importance.
Tell us what you know about <our company>.
We are looking to see what research you have done about our company. Have you read through our website, read our annual report, view our social media feeds? What initiative/how much effort have you shown to find out more about our company?
Skills: Initiative, research.
Describe how profiles and roles work in Salesforce and the best practice when implementing them.
The simplest explanation is: Profiles determine what you can do in Salesforce and roles determine what data records you can access. For example, your profile may allow you to convert leads and create reports while your role allows you to view and edit records owned by those below you in the role hierarchy.
The best practice is to keep the number of profiles to an absolute minimum and supplement them with Permission Sets to add extra functionality for a small subset of users. A role hierarchy may look similar to an organisation chart but is focused on who should have access to data, not how high up they are in the chain of command.
Skills: Working knowledge of Profiles, roles and permission sets.
Supplementary: Are there any new features that you would use in implementing them?
Permission Set Groups are a new feature that allows you to better manage a large number of permission sets. Bonus points if you mentioned this.
Skills: Permission Set Groups, awareness of new features
What is a use case for a junction object and how are they configured in Salesforce? Please provide an example where this may be used.
A junction object is used when you need to define a many-to-many relationship between two objects. For example the relationship between a student and their subjects. A student may be studying many subjects and a subject may have many students. In this example, an enrolment junction object is created to represent this many-to-many relationship.
Skills: Advanced knowledge of relationships
Tell us about the most advanced Salesforce automation you have built, what business problem you were solving and the tools you used.
This is your chance to explain and possibly demonstrate your best work. Be sure to use the STAR model:
Situation + Task + Action + Result
Situation: Our sales team were slow to respond to new leads and were not prioritising them properly
Task: My task was to help guide them to respond to the most promising ones first
Action: I created a flow that analysed the lead records and set a rating of cold, warm or hot. I then created lead queues for each rating, assigned the leads to each queue and trained the sales team on how to use the queues. I also provided a dashboard to show response times to new leads.
Result: The responses to new leads were reduced from 3-4 days to less than 4 hours. Our success in converting these leads to opportunities increased by 30% as we were quick to respond to the important ones.
Skills: Business Analysis, tool selection, implementation, storytelling
Tell us about your skills in building Experience Cloud sites (communities) and detail what you have built.
Hopefully, you have at least created a simple Experience Cloud site on Trailhead and can explain (or even better demonstrate) what it does. Access for external users and limiting what objects and records they have access to is always an important part of every Experience Cloud site so be sure to mention how you will manage this securely.
Skills: Experience Cloud, demonstration
What would you do when a user is not able to access records in Salesforce?
This is not just a technical question but we are wanting to see how you analyse a problem. Be sure to clarify what the user means when they say they cannot access records. Can they access some records on that object or none of them? Asking them to share their screen with you will help clarify the problem before you start trying to solve it.
The technical part of solving this problem lies with profiles (proving access to the object), the Organisation Wide Defaults for default access to records within this object and then the role hierarchy for sharing of these records.
Skills: Problem analysis, profiles, OWD, roles
What is a use case for implementing record types? What advantages do they offer?
Record Types allow us to categorise similar records, create separate page layouts, customise picklist values and have separate business processes.
For example Businesses that you work with have many different relationships with your business. Some may be customers, some may be suppliers, and others may be competitors. They can all be stored as an Account record, each with a different Record Type. Each can have a custom page layout – you may have different fields for customers vs suppliers. You can use the same picklist field but display different values depending on the record type. Finally, if the object has a business process attached (eg like the stages that an opportunity goes through from start to finish) then these can also be customised for each record type.
Skills: Record Types, page layouts, picklists, business processes.
How do entitlements work in Service Cloud? Provide a simple explanation for an executive and then provide a more technical explanation for a junior administrator.
This is quite an advanced technical question for Service Cloud administrators. If you don’t know, don’t try to bluff your way through. A simple explanation is that entitlements are a feature that when applied to an account record, determines what level of support the customer is “entitled” to receive. On a lower tier of entitlement, they may only get email support and on a higher level, they may get 24 x 7 phone support.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply say “I don’t know the answer to that right now but I intend to do some research and find out”.
Skills: Entitlements, honesty 🙂
A user has created a report on cases and wants to sort by the region of the account that is related to the case but cannot find the region field in the report builder. What could be wrong?
Again, being able to see the user in action creating this report will be helpful in solving the problem. They may simply not know where to select the region field. Other technical reasons include: Do they have permission to access the region field? Are they using the wrong report type – perhaps they need to be using Accounts with Cases which includes the region field?
Skills: Problem identification, field-level security, report types
Do you have any experience in integrating Salesforce with other systems? Please tell us about your role in this integration process.
Integration can be either a very simple or a very complex process. An example of a simple integration may be importing a spreadsheet of leads into Salesforce using the dataloader. A complex integration may involve automatically creating invoices in a financial system when a Salesforce opportunity is closed/won.
There are two key parts to this answer: The first is the high level “business like” description as above (present this first) and the second part is the technical detail of how it was done.
Finally, the question asks what was your role in this process? Did you manage the process, do all the work yourself or just play a small part in the overall process? Be clear in what your role was.
Skills: Describing a business process, technical integration skills and experience
What would you do in this situation? After a month or so in your new role, you have found that your workload is overwhelming and the number of requests for help is beyond what you can cope with.
There are a number of techniques that can be used to manage your workload, be sure to include the following:
- talk to your manager
- document help resources for common problems
- identify patterns of common problems and correct the root cause
- request more resources
- train users better
Skills: Prioritising, escalating, communicating, documenting, identifying patterns, training
What would you do when you get stuck on a problem and despite your best efforts to solve the problem, you cannot resolve it?
The number one thing to do is you must retain ownership and not just handball the problem to someone else, otherwise you will never learn how to solve a similar problem next time.
Things you can do:
- get help from a more experienced colleague or your manager
- ask the Salesforce community to help
- raise a case with Salesforce support
- use Google or other social media sources
Skills: Research, collaboration, community building
How do you keep your Salesforce skills and knowledge up to date?
Here is a list of some of the things you should be doing:
- Learning on Trailhead
- Gaining certification
- Working on personal projects
- Attending community events and Salesforce events
- Being active on social media (LinkedIn Twitter)
- Participating in Trailblazer Community groups
- Reading release notes
- Exploring pre-releases
- Attending webinars
- Watching Salesforce YouTube related content
- Following Salesforce MVPs on social media
Skills: continuous learning, certification and an enquiring mind
Tell us about your experience in making changes to the Salesforce environment and how you implement those changes into production.
The important part here is that you don’t make changes directly in your production environment. That is what sandboxes are for. Build and test in sandboxes and then deploy these changes to production once fully tested. There are many automated tools that you can purchase to do this migration of changes including Copado, GearSet and Flosum. You also have the option of using the standard (free) Change Sets.
Skills: Change Management, deployment tools, Risk Management
Describe the types of teams you have worked with and how you worked well with each of the different personalities.
There are many different types of teams, some are created specifically to work on a project, others may be long term work teams that share a common buinsess function. Some are self motivating and self managed while others are very much part of a hierarchy and directed by their managers. If you have limited work experience, you can talk about sporting teams or teams that you were part of in school or in your community – perhaps a team in your local church or community group.
Within each team there are many different personalities, there are leaders, disruptors, thinkers, the worker bees, perfectionists, the rule makers and the rule breakers, passengers and even the “look at me” types who crave attention and recognition. Each of these team members has a role and add diversity to a team. Can you recognise some of these personalities in teams you have worked in? What are some of the challenges working with each of these personalities?
Remember: The members of your team are not your friends. You don’t always have to get along or agree with them but in a work environment you need to be respectful and considerate of other’s opinions – just like you expect them to be of you. It could be you that is out of alignment with the views or actions of the rest of the team.
Skills: Teamwork, analysing personalities
Do you prefer to work as part of a team or independently? And why?
Each has it’s place and it’s not an all or nothing choice. Sometimes it works well to work independently on a task when you have a clear goal and a tight deadline and you need some quiet time to complete a task. At other times the interaction and ideas from the rest of the team will help you find solutions that you could not achieve in isolation. This is where diversity really shines! Having a mix of cultures, experiences, genders, race and age groups helps to provide a diverse mix of opinions and suggestions on how to tackle problems.
Skills: Teamwork, Independent work
When you are in a team situation what role do you usually play?
Being adaptable is the key to success here. You can’t always play the manager role or the disruptor role. Be adaptable and open to change. Sometimes I am the manager, sometimes I play the devils advocate and suggest all the things that can go wrong. At other times I am the grammar guru and go through our documentation with a fine tooth comb ensuring everything is perfect.
Skills: Teamwork, role play
If you see that a team member is disengaged, how do you try to motivate them?
Being aware of your team colleagues, how they are feeling, look for the non-verbal clues that indicate their actions or feelings are opposite to what they are saying. Be diplomatic and sympathetic, be helpful, be the ear that they can share their concerns with. However don’t take ownership of their problems. You can provide guidance, make suggestions and challenge their thinking but at the end of the day it’s not your problem, so don’t become a “problem collector”. One of my favourite t-shirts has a saying “No my circus, not my monkeys”.
Skills: Awareness, diplomacy, motivation
What do you think makes a successful team?
Open communication, shared goals, and celebrating wins are the keys to a successful team. Think of your favorite sporting team. They talk openly, they have a goal to win the premiership and if they do they celebrate this success. They also have smaller goals too, it may be to improve by 10% over last week, to achieve a higher score, to work better as a team, to improve their ranking over last year.
Skills: Teamwork, success measures, Key Performance Indicators, personalities
Why should you be hired?
To be hired for a role you need four key things:
- Culture fit
When you are starting out, you may have limited skills and experience so you need to counter this by showing how your previous life experiences can help and is related to this new role. Many job roles have a requirement to deal with customers (or end-users). Your work experience at a fast-food restaurant while still at school is relevant experience in customer service.
Demonstrating that you are a quick learner can help counter the lack of skills and experience.
You may respond like this: (but be honest and realistic)
“I earned my Trailhead Ranger status in just 3 months and aim to complete the three Admin Superbadges in the next 3 months. Once I have done that, I will be ready to sit my Admin exam”.
You can also use any projects you have worked on (eg Trailhead projects) and discuss what you learned and achieved to demonstrate your experience.
Attitude is not something that you can train for. There are no courses on how to have the right attitude. You can develop and improve it over time but it does take time to improve or change it.
Your curiosity and willingness to investigate problems, to meet the challenge of discovering how a new software feature works, to go that extra mile, to complete the task on time and put in the extra effort are all part of your attitude. Employers are judging your attitude on what you present today as they know it’s hard to change.
Culture Fit is the fourth key and a hard one to nail down. It really a mix of skills, experience, attitude, and personality. If you need someone to tell you exactly what to do and don’t show much initiative then you won’t be a good fit for a self managing team or a start-up company. You may however be a good fit for a very regulated and closely supervised team like a group of finance officers that process claims for payment.
Skills: Confidence, self-promotion
Conclusion: These are real interview questions that were used to interview for a Salesforce Administrator position recently and I am pleased to say helped us to choose a great candidate. I hope there is something here that helped you, whether you are hiring or hoping to be hired.