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In our “I'm Salesforce Certified—Now What?” series, we bring you hints and tips from the #SalesforceOhana on what your next steps should be after obtaining your hard-earned Salesforce credential. In our third post, external Recruitment Guru, Garth Kharitou from nVision Talent gives the low-down on how to build out your experience and nail that all-important interview.

Congratulations! You're officially Salesforce certified. Time to update your social accounts and wait for the job offers to come rolling in, right? After all, you've heard that the Salesforce Economy will create nearly 2 million jobs over the next five years and you're ready to snag one. Well, there's a little more to it than that...

After countless hours studying, completing all the badges and superbadges you can on Trailhead, and successfully completing your Salesforce certification, you take your shiny new credentials with a big smile on your face and head out into the job market.  

The trouble is, where do you start? Which companies use Salesforce, and how do you get to work with them? In my recruitment agency experience, there are two main types of certified candidates we see entering this job market, seeking our guidance and support:

  • Candidates with a tech background looking to cross-skill into the Salesforce ecosystem;
  • Graduates and candidates coming from business backgrounds looking to start their technology journey.

 

You're Technology Experienced

 

Let me start with the technology cross-skill group first. By this, I mean those of you who have had hands-on configuration or development experience using a different platform or technology: .Net, Java, SQL, or another CRM or ERP platform.

If you fall into this category, you'll probably find it easier to move into a career in the Salesforce ecosystem, as you already have an understanding of the technology, business processes, and a certain degree of CRM platform implementation experience. You'll simply need to study and understand how the Salesforce platform works in order to transition your skills, and add value for your customers and stakeholders.

You'll be applying for mid/senior Salesforce Developer and/or Salesforce Consultant roles with a view to getting to the Salesforce Architect level fairly quickly. You may have to take a slight hit on salary if you were a leader in your previous technology organization, but you would generally quickly make this up again within the first year as you build out your Salesforce knowledge and experience.

About a year ago, our agency helped an SAP Architect land their first Salesforce job with one of Australia’s largest financial institutions. This candidate had 10+ years' SAP experience as a developer, consultant, and architect, and saw Salesforce as the future. They spent a couple of months studying the Salesforce platform and achieved three certifications. We then helped them secure a Salesforce Developer role and guided them on their journey to becoming a Salesforce Architect.

 

You're From a Business Background

 

The second group we work with, and the most frequent candidate we come across day-to-day, are those with 0-5 years' technology experience. Now, I’m not going to lie, if you fall into this category, it can take a little longer to secure a Salesforce role. Why? Well, you'll typically have had little to no technology experience and would never have worked in a live environment.

This is usually the biggest concern for customers and consulting partners. Employers tend to need someone who can hit the ground running and may not have the time to educate and mentor someone who's “green” while they find their feet in the Salesforce world.

The types of roles you'll be going for here are Salesforce Administrator and junior/mid-level developers with a view to become platform managers, senior developers, and consultants. The best advice I have for you is to continue to collect those Trailhead badges, and employers will be even more impressed at your level of knowledge if you have a few superbadges, too.

Also, volunteer some of your time working with a Non-Profit Organization in your local area that uses Salesforce. Check out Salesforce.org, the success community, local user groups, and local dedicated Salesforce recruitment agencies, who should be able to point you in the right direction.

Here in Australia, there are a few amazing organizations I send my candidates to so they can gain valuable experience on a live instance. In Melbourne, St Kilda Mums, and in Sydney, AIME and The Sydney Children's Hospital have been delighted to receive volunteer work. I have seen many an admin and developer take this experience with them to a paying role to become the platform managers and subject matter experts for their new employers.

 

You're a Graduate

 

Our agency recently started partnering with companies that are willing to take on interns. This route allows you to build up your skills and experience, giving you a better chance of then being taken on as a full-time employee. Again, check out the success community, user groups, or local recruitment agency to see if there is a similar program in your area.

 

Use the #SalesforceOhana

 

You went out and got certified for a reason, so now use it as the kicking-off point for the career path you want. Get Social, join the Salesforce Certification Group, engage in your various Salesforce groups in the success community, (I follow a lot of Salesforce people here, and the hashtag #askforce is amazing!), get involved in user groups, attend events and conferences, and, most importantly, network, network, network.

 

Now Nail That Interview!

 

So now, you're not only certified, but you've taken my advice and carried out all these extra activities and have secured yourself that all-important interview. Here are my 4 top interview tips to help you land that role.

 

1. Do Your Research

 

I always send a link to the company website and LinkedIn profiles of the interviewers to my candidates. Show your potential employer you have researched them and know what they do. Many times candidates have missed out on positions because they did not do their research and fell at the last hurdle when asked what they know about the company. Sometimes companies have free trials of products, so be sure to sign up and try them!

 

2. Be Prepared

 

You will be asked technical questions. Review and revise past notes and study guides. And do a few Trailhead badges to be technically fresh for your interview.

Questions to expect for an Administrator role:

  • What is your experience setting up users, custom objects, fields, etc?
  • Do you have experience with reports, and what are the different report types?
  • What is your knowledge of setting up dashboards?
  • What is your experience with workflows and validation rules?
  • What is your understanding of security settings?
  • Good administrators will understand business processes and have worked with key stakeholders within the business. Some more advanced questions will be around requirements gathering and stakeholder management.

Questions to expect for a Developer role:

  • How do you rate your Apex skills?
  • How would you rate your Visualforce skills?
  • Do you have experience developing Lightning components?
  • What tools do you use for development?
  • Do you have experience integrating with external systems? If so, which ones?
  • What is your experience with out-of-the-box Salesforce functionalities?
  • Have you worked with declarative functionalities, including Process Builder, Flow, and Workflow rules?

Senior candidates crossing over from another technology to Salesforce technology:

  • Also be prepared to answer more advanced questions around:
    • Experience on end-to-end platform implementations
    • Experience with requirements gathering
    • Business process mapping and design
    • Solution design
    • Data model design

 

3. Ask Questions

 

Interviews are two-way. It's not only about if you are a fit for their business, it's also if they are the right fit for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions to get as much information as you need to evaluate if this really is the role for you.

  • Why are they looking to hire?
  • What does the company use Salesforce for?
  • What are the growth opportunities in this role?
  • What ongoing training/certification and support is provided?
  • What are the day-to-day expectations of this role?
  • What is the culture of the business like?
  • And most importantly, ask WHY does the interviewer work for the company and what makes the company great?

 

4. Be Yourself

 

Interviews can be stressful and nerve-wracking at times. Try to just be yourself and enjoy the experience. One of my candidates was once asked, “If you could be a chocolate bar, which one would you want to be and why?” Strange, but true! Remember to let your personality shine through. And at the end of the interview, ask for feedback and how they thought you did.

There are countless possibilities out there in the Salesforce ecosystem. And Salesforce has one of the best communities in the world. Everyone in the #SalesforceOhana is willing to lend a helping hand, which is, I'm sure, one of the reasons why you have chosen to build your career on the world's leading CRM platform!

Your perfect Salesforce career is out there—now go out and get it!

Garth has 10 years of recruitment experience, having worked for clients throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions. For the last 7 years, he has been focused on the CRM space, and has focused on the Australian Salesforce market for over three years. Garth loves to travel and spent 13 years living abroad in London, UK and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has a passion for anything sports related (especially football!).

If you've been inspired to earn your first (or next) Salesforce credential, find out more about how you can get certification ready for Dreamforce '17.