Here are the top 10 potential interview questions you may be asked during a Salesforce administrator interview, along with suggestions on how to respond to each question.
1. Can you describe the advantages of cloud computing?
It is crucial to be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of cloud computing and how it is used to deliver services such as networking, servers, software, and databases. This question is an opportunity to prove that you have a foundational knowledge of the purposes and uses Salesforce’s architecture and its applications.
The main advantages of cloud computing are as follows:
- reduced costs both in terms of time and money,
- accessibility, namely 24-hour access,
- flexibility in how users access information and systems, for example, through computers or mobile devices,
- security through better encryption to keep data safe and meet compliance requirements, and
- insight through analysis of company data at an organization-wide or team level.
2. What does OWD stand for, and what does it mean?
As a Salesforce Administrator, you’ll need to show that you understand the organization’s information-sharing needs. This question probes to see if you know the different access levels available in Salesforce and how they are applied to other users within an organization.
OWD is an acronym for Organization Wide Defaults. OWD determines the level of access that users have to the records of other users. The hierarchy to the levels of access ranges from Private (only the record owner can access), Public Read Only (others can view but only the record owner can edit), Public Read (all users can view and edit), to Public Full Access (all users in an organization can view, edit, delete or transfer).
3. What is a Record Owner in Salesforce?
It is essential to demonstrate a firm understanding of how information is controlled within Salesforce. This question asks you to describe the role of a Record Owner. You will need to communicate that you understand what this role is (i.e., the user with control of a record), what ownership of a record means, and what capabilities a Record Owner holds.
A Record Owner is the user with control for a given record. Owners are able to view and edit a record, transfer capability, and levels of access, delete capabilities.
4. Please describe a Page Layout and Record Types. How is each of these used?
This question tests to see if you can differentiate between Page Layouts and Record Types. It not only asks you to differentiate between both features but to describe how each is used. Demonstrating that you understand both of these will communicate that you are knowledgeable about how external engagements with clients or customers can be managed.
Record Types allow you to determine which users get which business process, picklists, and page values, so you can offer different ones to different users. For example, you might want to use different record types for your sales than your customer engagements. The Page Layout then allows you to customize the content of the record pages for users. Customization can be based on the record type. Page Layout determines the organization and layout of the fields, buttons, custom links, lists, and object records on a page. Page Layout also allows you to control which fields are visible, required, or read-only.
5. What is a relationship in Salesforce? Can you tell me how many different relationships are there and what each of them does?
Organizing information using objects is a central aspect of Salesforce. You will need to communicate that you understand the different ways objects can be organized into relationships to show you understand how data is organized.
There are five relationships in Salesforce. A relationship provides information on how two objects are linked and the functionality between these two objects. The different types of relationships are:
- Master-Detail: this is a relationship where two objects are highly dependent on one another and the “detail” or “child” object sits beneath the “master” or “parent” object. Settings for the master object will be applied to the detail object. If the master object is deleted, the detail object will also be deleted. However, if a detail object is deleted and then restored, the Master-Detail relationship will be lost.
- Many-to-Many: this relationship is used to link multiple records. This is relationship is made by creating two Master-Detail relationships with a common object. This common object joins the two relationships.
- Self: this is a relationship created within an existing relationship using a Lookup.
- External: this relationship links an object with an external object.
- Lookup: this relationship is similar to the Master-Detail relationship, but here both the Master and the Detail have their own security and sharing settings. You would use this relationship to link two objects or to link an object to itself. There are also two additional types of lookup relationships:
- External Lookup: this type of relationship allows for a link with an external object (where data is stored in an external source) to the Master object.
- Indirect Lookup: this relationship allows for an external object to be linked to a standard or custom object.
6. What Portals does Salesforce have, and how are they used?
Most companies will have business requirements that require users outside of the organization to access Salesforce. Salesforce administrators frequently manage the permissions for these external users. Demonstrating that you understand how this works will communicate to a potential employer that you understand its business needs.
Portals are used to provide external users access to Salesforce. There are three types of portals:
- Customer Portal: used to provide support services to users outside of your organization without the need to contact customer service.
- Partner Portal: allows someone outside of your organization to log in to see information that is not available on the Customer Portal. It can be used to share information around opportunities and leads. Creating a Partner Portal is also cheaper than providing full Salesforce licenses to users.
- Self-Service Portal: provides information to users to troubleshoot issues they might encounter through a set of resources such as FAQs. These users can be external, for example, customers or internal employees.
7. What is the difference between a Standard Report and a Custom Report?
The reporting tools in Salesforce are vital to helping companies understand and use their organization’s data. Showing that you know the uses of different reports will be essential to demonstrate your ability to support any team and the broader organization in meeting its goals.
A Standard Report is the report in a basic format such as a Contact Report or an Account Report. Standard Reports are set and cannot be deleted, although you can hide the Standard Folder. A Custom Report is based on pre-specified criteria. You can begin with the Standard Report format and alter this to become a Custom Report. You can delete a Custom Report or save it in an Unfiled Public folder or My Personal Folder, but you cannot save it in the Standard Folder.
8. What is an Analytical Snapshot in Salesforce? What is it used for?
This question also probes for your ability to help support companies and users to understand their data. Showing trends and performance over time is incredibly useful to any team.
An Analytical Snapshot generates reports using historical data. It loads data from a Custom Report into a Custom Object. The data from the report is stored in the object and creates a historical record of the data from the report. Analytical Snapshots can identify or analyze trends, such as daily sales leads.
9. What is a Workflow, and can you give an example of how it is used?
The old saying “time is money” exists for a reason! Any organization will want to save time where possible. Use this question to demonstrate that you understand how to make processes more efficient using Workflows.
Workflows apply an automated process to save time. Workflows are based on an evaluation and are determined by rules set up in the form of an if/then statement. For example, a workflow rule can automatically send emails. Once triggered, a pre-set email template would be automatically populated with updated data and set to a list of specified recipients.
10. Please consider the following scenario: A Partner Community external user is receiving an error that they have insufficient access privilege. You can see that they have required OWD and Profile settings. What could be causing this error?
This question poses a potential scenario you might encounter as a Salesforce Administrator. Here you want to showcase that you can confidently troubleshoot the error and take necessary action to correct it.
This error could be caused when the person trying to access the record is below the person who enabled the Community. If this happened, I would need to review and ensure that the Enabling Communities field is editable and visible on the relevant page layout. Once visible, I would need to ensure that the Enabling Communities field was checked to allow access.
Next 90 Most Asked Salesforce Administrator Interview Questions
- What is Salesforce?
- Please describe the differences and similarities between PaaS, SaaS and IaaS.
- What is the difference between Salesforce.com and Force.com?
- What is the difference between private, public and hybrid clouds?
- Can you please describe cloud computing to me as if I am somebody who has not heard of it before?
- What is the latest Salesforce edition and what new features does it have?
- What is the difference between a portal, an app, and an object in Salesforce?
- What are the different objects in Salesforce and what are they called?
- Please list an example of a custom field type. How is a custom field type created within an object and what would this be used for?
- What is the difference between a role and profile?
- Can you describe a time that you’ve helped a team use Salesforce to manage customer journeys? What was the outcome?
- What is the difference between permission sets and profiles?
- What is Field Dependency and how can it be used in a Visual Force page?
- Please summarize Field-Level Security.
- Please describe the difference between a User Record and a Record Owner.
- How many ways are there to share a record?
- How would you provide Record level access to multiple users within the company and what security model would you use to do this?
- How would you restrict data access? Can you do this for a detail object?
- What can you modify when setting Organization Wide Defaults (OWD)?
- How many accesses are available in OWD? Can you describe what they are?
- What is field-level security and why would you use it?
- What is the difference between a User Record and an Owner Record?
- What is the difference between Role and Role Hierarchy?
- What is Role Level Access?
- How can you delete a user?
- Please describe a sharing rule.
- What types of different sharing rules are there and how would you use them?
- What is manual sharing?
- What are folders and how are they used?
- What the difference between a Lead and a Contact?
- Please describe the difference between WhoID and WhatID.
- What is a Campaign and who has access to Campaigns?
- What is a Campaign Member?
- What is a Case and what is a Case Queue?
- How does an Escalation Rule relate to a Case?
- How are Case Assignment Rules used?
- What type of issues is a Solution used to address?
- What is a Category related to a Solution?
- What sort of structure does a Solution Category form?
- What happens when a parent record is deleted in a Master-Detail relationship?
- Can a Master-Detail relationship be created for existing records?
- If a master record is deleted in a Lookup relationship, what happens to the child record?
- What is a Junction Object? How would you use it?
- Can a Lookup relationship be converted to a Master-Detail relationship?
- Can you describe a Roll-Up Summary?
- Is it possible to have a Roll-Up Summary for Master-Detail relationships?
- How do you create a Roll-Up Summary on a Lookup Relationship?
- How would you create Many-to-Many relationships between two objects?
- Is it possible to create a Master-Detail relationship when you have a custom object with existing records?
- Please describe what each of the following functions does: ISNEW, ISCLONE, ISNULL, ISBLANK.
- What is an Audit Trail used for?
- Who can run reports?
- What is the difference between a Summary Report and a Matrix Report?
- What is a Tabular Report used for?
- How would you use a Trend Report?
- What is the Report Wizard?
- Please provide an example of how a Dashboard might be used.
- What are the components of a Dashboard?
- What is a “dynamic dashboard”?
- How do Charts represent data and what kind of reports can they be used on?
- What is Conditional Highlighting and how is it used?
- What kinds of reports can be used in a dashboard?
- What is a floating report header and how is it used?
- What is Visualforce?
- How many controllers can you use with Visualforce?
- What are the different components of a Workflow?
- Please describe how Workflow Rules, Workflow Tasks and Workflow Alerts are used.
- What actions are available in a workflow?
- What is the difference between Action Support and Action Function?
- What is a Workflow Alert and how is it generated?
- What is a time-dependent workflow and how is it used?
- What Workflow Rule can you not add a time-dependent action to?
- Please talk us through the process of clearing a time-dependent action queue.
- What is the difference between a Trigger and a Workflow?
- What types of Triggers are there?
- What is Approval Processing and why is it used?
- Please describe the steps in an Approval Process.
- How would you send approval requests to multiple users?
- What is a Jump Start Wizard and what is a Standard Wizard?
- What is the Import Wizard used for?
- What is Data Loader and what actions can be created using data loaders?
- When would you use the Data Wizard?
- How do you insert, update and delete a Record using Data Loader?
- Can you export Records using Data Loader? If so, how?
- Can you please explain UPSERT and what is used for?
- What would you do to prevent data from appearing on a new line when opening data exported using Data Loader in Excel?
- What is Batch Apex?
- What is the difference between Data Loader and Batch Apex? When would you use each of these?
- How long does deleted data stay in the Recycle Bin?
- What happens if your company reaches its Recycle Bin limit?
10 Best Questions to Ask in a Salesforce Administrator Interview
The interview is not just a time for you to respond to the questions asked of you. Just as the company is assessing you to see if you’re the right person for the job, this is your chance to determine if you are interested in joining this organization. If the interviewer forgets to ask you if you have questions, speak up and ask if there is time for you to ask questions. Asking questions shows you are interested in the position and have prepared ahead of time. Here are 10 questions to ask during your Salesforce administrator interview:
- Can you please describe how this position fits within the company’s structure? What teams will this position be interacting with?
- What are the company’s top priorities for Salesforce (i.e., increase lead conversion, increase sales revenue, raise customer satisfaction)? Is there a greater focus on one of these over the other?
- What are some of the challenges you’ve faced internally with Salesforce?
- Can you describe the relationship between this position and the marketing team?
- What scope is there for Salesforce administrators to feedback into systems and processes? For example, if I were to identify a gap in how data is being used by a particular team, would there be an opportunity to feed this back?
- Can you describe the working relationship between Salesforce administrators and different teams in this company?
- What is the turnover rate for Salesforce administrators here?
- Beyond the duties listed in the job description, are there any extra responsibilities you anticipate for this position?
- What are the biggest challenges your company is currently facing and how do you see this role helping to address those challenges?
- What opportunities are provided for continuing professional development?
Although an interview can be scary, you can do this! Remember that you bring vital expertise on a tool (Salesforce) that has enormous value to any company or organization. Use the interview process as an opportunity to interact with your potential employer, showcase your Salesforce skills, and find out if the organization is the right fit for you. And don’t forget to smile!
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.