In today’s episode of the Talent Hub Talk, Ben Duncombe shares some tips around asking questions in your Salesforce interview from a job seekers perspective.
This is your opportunity at the end of an interview or throughout it to ascertain whether this is really the right environment, role and team for you. They also convey to the hiring manager that you’re interested, have natural curiosity and have prepared for your interview with them.
We give you some ideas of useful questions to ask, and why.
We hope you find this episode useful!
Welcome back to Talent Hub Talk. Today I wanted to do something a little bit different and share some tips around asking questions in your Salesforce interview. These are targeted at job seekers, so not questions that hiring managers can ask candidates, but really what job seekers can ask at the end of an interview or throughout the interview to really get a good idea of the environment and find out more about the role, the company, the hiring manager, things like that. Some people really love asking questions in an interview and some ask because they know that they’re expected to and then there are some that don’t ask any at all. And I’m hoping to help the people that only ask because they feel they need to and also the ones that don’t ask any questions at all. In my opinion, everyone should go to an interview with some planned questions, some questions that they’ve come up with in advance, through doing some research on LinkedIn, looking at the company website, looking at the hiring managers, LinkedIn page, things like that. But then also, your natural curiosity should uncover a few more questions to ask based on what people hear during the interview. Although it’s important that you do plan questions in advance, you shouldn’t just stick to those questions if something else comes up in the interview that piques your interest in a particular area or if it uncovers some curiosity around what was said by the hiring manager. Too many people have lost out on jobs in my experience over the years and lost out on opportunities because they have not asked questions and really this can tell a hiring manager that someone isn’t interested in the role it can potentially show that someone or indicate that someone might not be curious or even that they haven’t prepared properly for the interview. So it is really important that people are asking questions in an interview. And really there isn’t any excuse not to ask a question. At the end of the interview when the hiring manager says, do you have any questions for us? This is really your time to shine with what you’ve prepared, what has kind of come up through the interview. So no one should ever be saying, no, I don’t have any questions.
Every role company, everything is different from role to role company to company. So you’re really going to have to tweak questions for different companies, different roles, different hiring managers. And I’m not suggesting that the questions that I mentioned today on this podcast are the ones that you should go ahead and ask in an interview. I’m just really trying to kind of give you a way of thinking differently about the questions you ask or show really a bit of a blueprint for the questions that I think people could be asking, but really you need to go away and put your own spin on them and think about the environment, the role, the hiring manager. Your level of experience as well I think is important depending on the kind of positions you’re going for.
So my goal really is to get people thinking about what kind of things they should be looking to understand an interview. And then so that they can go away and form your own questions and also be comfortable asking questions, because there are some questions that people aren’t necessarily comfortable asking, even though they do really want to know them. So I’ll start with some of the standard questions that you’ve probably all heard before and then I’ll move into some questions that some people may not be comfortable asking. And it’s really up to you to decide what is suitable, what’s not suitable, and this will be based on things like your experience level, the company, the economy, which is an important one right now, and also the hiring manager sat in front of you on the day. You might prepare these questions and then you turn up, it might be a face-to-face, it might be a video interview, and then the way that the hiring manager comes across makes you want to change some of the questions, which she needs to be adaptable. That’s why you can’t just stick to the questions you’ve planned because the hiring manager might not make you feel comfortable asking some of those questions, you’ll need to adapt. And really if a hiring manager isn’t making you feel comfortable about asking a question, then you have to really question whether that’s the right environment for you anyway.
So I’ll start off with some of the basic ones. And some of these are very self-explanatory, so I won’t go into too much detail as to why I feel like they’re worth asking. But the first question is, what would success look like in this role? It’s important that you understand, and not just what the job responsibilities are, but what the outcomes that the business are looking to achieve are. What would success look like in this role? And every hiring manager should be able to give a spin on what that looks like for them.
The second question, what is on the Salesforce roadmap that you and the team are excited by? I think this is a good way of really getting the hiring manager to open up and talk about, you know, the areas of Salesforce that interest them and also to kind of sell the role to you as well, to show you what’s on the roadmap, what the vision is, and to get you excited as well by the prospect of joining the business, you know, really to, if you’ve got a few different companies that you’re interviewing with. You’re probably keen to understand the roadmap for each of them so you can see what aligns best to your career and career goals. It’s a really important thing to understand.
Question three, how would you describe the current feeling about Salesforce across the business? So this is obviously more targeted to if you’re interviewing with an end customer, but it’s really good to get a sense check on how the business actually feels about Salesforce.
Have they had it for a number of years and it’s not really being used? Have they considered moving away from it? Do they absolutely love it? Is the adoption really high? Do they want to get as much on the Salesforce platform as possible? It really provides you with a good insight into how the company feels about Salesforce, but how potentially much scope there’ll be in the future to continue building on the Salesforce platform and things like that. Number four, if successful, what would you like me to achieve in the next 30, 60, 90 days? So this is often a question that, you know, when you start in a role, companies are going to ask you what’s going to be your plan for the first 30, 60, 90. So you can kind of spin it around on the hiring manager and they probably won’t go into a huge amount of detail because, you know, that you’re asking them on the fly and they haven’t got the whole day to answer the question, but it would be good to get an insight into and what they expect from you, what you’ll be working on, and how they’ll kind of onboard you into the team and how they’ll get you up and running. Number five, how do you encourage upskilling and learning opportunities amongst the team? I think everyone that I speak to, or a lot of people I speak to across the Salesforce ecosystem want to keep learning. They want to keep working on new things, getting new certifications, picking up new skills. So I think it’s really important to work for a business that’s going to enable you to do that and not just keep you focused on what they already have or things you’ve already done in the past and that’s really driven by the hiring manager. So if you’re asking them directly how they encourage it amongst their team, hopefully you’ll get the answer that you’re looking to hear. Number six, what is your stance on flexible working and how do current team members structure their team?
If you can’t work from the office five days a week, that’s the expectation. So again, it’s really important upfront to understand how, not just what the policy is on flexible working, but how other team members are managing that. Number seven, where do you see this role evolving in the future and what possible progression is there? I think obviously when a company is hiring for a role, they have a requirement in mind. They have an expectation for someone to come in and deliver something.
But sometimes they don’t think about, well, what’s the future looking like for that person? Sometimes they kind of overlook the fact that people will want progression and want to grow and learn and develop themselves and progress in their careers. So it would be good to get an insight into how the manager sees that working. And, you know, are there people above you that are going to hamper that growth? Because unless they move up, they’re kind of in the role that you would potentially move into and just really see what that career path may look like if you stay within the organisation.
Number eight, what are the biggest challenges that I might face in this position? Quite a big open question, it’s not all going to be smooth sailing in any role I’m sure and it’s good to understand if the hiring manager has a view on what those challenges are, also if they’re honest around what those challenges will be and so you go into this position with open eyes and these are the things you may have to overcome to deliver success in the position. So now for some questions that I think are powerful, but people may not always be comfortable asking. And again, you have to kind of make sure that you are comfortable. Don’t just ask them for the sake of it. You know, there needs to be things you want to understand, but also that you feel comfortable asking them.
So number nine is when did a team member that you didn’t want to lose last leave and what was the reason for it? Retention is a big challenge for Salesforce hiring managers. It has been over the last few years. I often ask this question to clients when I’m hiring for them and some say, oh, we’ve never lost someone we didn’t want to lose. But the reality is it’s very likely that every company at some point will lose someone they don’t want to lose. So, yeah, it’s interesting to see how people answer this. Are they honest? Do they say, “oh, there was a clash of personalities in the team?” Did they say someone outgrew the business? And if so, how have they kind of addressed things that have happened in the past to make sure they don’t happen again? And that’s something you can definitely establish from asking a question like this.
Number 10, what qualities are missing in the current team that you are hoping I can fill? This will give you an insight into the actual team, who you’ll be working with, the experience levels, what skills are already there, and where you can maybe compliment them. So it’s quite a nice question to ask. I don’t think anyone should be put off asking that, but yeah, it’s quite a juicy one. So you should get some really good insight from asking something like that.
Number 11, what keeps you at this company? Kind of turn the interview round on the hiring manager and get them to really open up about what’s great about working for the company. They’re not just going to say salary, I can guarantee that. So they’ll give you some insight into the actual benefits, the environment, and yeah, hopefully they paint the right picture of the company and that’s the company you join if you are successful in the role.
Number 12, what can I expect from the onboarding process and the first few weeks in this role? Yeah, really get the manager to kind of showcase how they onboard a new member of staff, and what the first few weeks are gonna look like. Are you going to be dropped in the deep end? Are you going to have a buddy? Are there off-site meetings that you’re expected to attend in the first couple of weeks because that’s just the time of year that it is? Is the manager going to be away for three weeks during your onboarding and make that experience a little bit more challenging? Just get a really good insight into how do they onboard people? Is it a positive experience? Do they make you feel really welcome and then do they set you up for success in those first few weeks?
Number 13. What challenges have you and the team overcome recently with the Salesforce platform? And yet again, this opens up the conversation around everything being always rosy and smooth sailing. It will be interesting to see how a hiring manager answers this. And yeah, talks about how the team collaborate, how they came together to overcome a challenge and gives you further insight into how they’re using Salesforce and how it’s seen by the business, I guess.
And then finally, I’ve got some questions to ask if anyone has concerns about the potential impact on the role that they’re considering based on the current economy. You know, some people have been in their current organisations for a while and might be hesitant to move right now. And it’s really important that you ask these questions if you do have concerns, because you need to know you need to be sure that you’re not leaving a stable role for a role that could be impacted by downturns or anything like that.
So number 14 is, is this role being hired for a specific project? And if so, how committed to the project is the business? And that obviously sound, the question itself is aligned more to the end customer role. But if you were going for a partner, a Salesforce consulting opportunity, you can spin it and say, you know, is this role being hired for a specific project? And you know, what risks are there that potential project won’t go ahead? Or, you know, how committed is the client to the project?
Just get a good feel just to make sure that if you are hired and that project is put on hold, does that mean you’re on the bench or they have other projects in mind for you?
Number 15, how has the wider company and your team been impacted through the economy tightening? Quite a direct question, gives you some insight into how the company has performed through the more recent tightening in the economy. Has there been redundancies in other areas of the business? Have the redundancies impacted this exact team? Hopefully the hiring manager paints a positive picture on that, but it’s really important to understand, right? Like are you joining a company that has had to make cuts and if they have made cuts, how has that impacted the business? Are there potentially more cuts coming? So yeah, that’s really important if you are concerned about moving to a new job in this climate.
And number 16, do you see any risks regarding the ongoing need for this role within the business? Again, yeah, just quite direct, but important to know. And I don’t think hiring managers should be put off by answering questions like this at all. It shows that you’re considerate, you’re thinking things through, you’re not making rash decisions and that you’re thorough, I guess. And I’m sure any hiring manager would want to know the same things if they were moving to a different company. So there really are so many questions you can ask during an interview. And it is really important that you pick the ones that you are most, sorry, that are most suitable based on the position you’re going for, the company, you know, the climate, your skill set, your level of expertise as well. I always recommend that you go into an interview and then when you come out, you leave the interview with enough information that you’re in a position to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to proceed to the next round of interview, or if you were to be made an offer, that you would be able to make a decision on that position. So, you know, that’s why it’s really important. You’re in the room, you’ve got one-on-one time with, or one-on-many time with the hiring team, the decision makers, the people you’ll be working with. It’s a great opportunity to really find out as much as you can and not to leave the interview with any kind of unanswered questions or grey areas that you’re not sure about because as soon as there are gray areas then ultimately you’re either chasing up directly you’re going via a recruiter who obviously is going to be the go-between and asking the question and you’re then getting that information second hand so yeah I really recommend going into the interview fully prepared
making notes if a question comes up that you want to ask and you’re going through the questioning still, write it down on a pad, ask it when it’s appropriate, and really just get as much answered as possible. As far as I’m aware, no one’s ever been turned down from an interview for asking too many questions. I’m sure there probably are people that have gone on and on and on, but as long as they’re well suited to the role, the company, your skill set, and you know, they’re not just wasting people’s time. I think it’s very important to ask questions. So yeah, hopefully this has been beneficial. Hopefully there’s something I’ve said today that you’re gonna add to your thinking when you’re next interviewing for a role. And it just goes to show there are plenty of questions out there that they don’t just have to be questions around salary, flexibility, you know, just the typical things that people might ask. Be creative, really think it through, think what you need to know to make a decision. And yeah, hopefully you’ll go into the next interview confident to ask the questions that you need to know. Love to hear from anyone that has any other questions they ask or any questions that they have for me around interviews or planning questions or planning for an interview, doing your research up front, anything like that, I’m happy to answer.
Feel free to reach out anytime and looking forward to releasing more episodes soon