Hiring a Salesforce admin? Screen for these 3 things first

A simple search on indeed for “Salesforce administrator” results in over 2,000 open positions for candidates to apply to. It’s clear there is a talent shortage that makes hiring the right salesforce admin increasingly difficult.

If you add in the low barrier to entry for people to get Salesforce admin certifications you suddenly have a recipe for recruiting disaster.

To figure out how you can cut through the clutter and find a great Salesforce admin I got with our very own Mo Gerrbi. Mo has over 5 years of experience in the world of Salesforce and has helped some of our clients with staffing a Salesforce admin of their own.

From Mo’s perspective, there are 3 things that a lot of people will overlook when hiring a Salesforce admin, but are absolutely crucial to their success with your company.

Let’s take a look at what they are:

 How a Salesforce Admin gets their start 

“How did you get started with Salesforce?” is the very first question Mo likes to ask potential candidates. While he might be biased, he says that he is looking for “someone that is more self-taught, and is learning Salesforce on their own.”

This is basically asking ‘Are you passionate about Salesforce, are you going to keep up with the platform as it changes, and are you only an admin because it is a good career opportunity?’ in one simple question.

In the U.S a lot of people will get into a field just because of the career opportunities, and it shows – “87.7 percent of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.”(Deloite)

When it comes to Salesforce, a lack of passion can be a huge inhibitor to performance. I mean the platform now has over 20 different products –

And at Dreamforce alone, they made __ announcements of new features, functionalities, and partnerships that Salesforce is launching.

As Mo put it – “With Salesforce, you learn something new everyday, and with every release salesforce provides new enhancements and as an admin you have to always keep up with this.”

You can see why educating yourself, being a self-starter, and being passionate about the platform is one of the key things that Mo screens for.

Certifications Don’t really matter.

When I asked Mo what he thought about certifications he was quick to let me know “It’s all about experience… some people are good at studying and taking tests but applying it is the most important.”

This is a popular opinion amongst Salesforce professionals and it’s easy to understand why. This tweet I saw recently does a great job of summing up the value of certifications:  

This isn’t to say that certifications should be completely ignored. For example, Mo said that passing the Salesforce Administrator Exam should be required to even consider someone for the job.

But instead of certifications, you should ask someone about their experience working on a real-world project. Questions like:

  • What are some examples of validation rules, custom objects, workflows, etc.. that you have implemented in the past?
  • What have you done to maintain data quality in the past?
  • How have you helped to increase user adoption?

These are a few questions that will help you get a feel for what their real experience.

Just remember this… some people are good at taking tests, and some people are terrible at taking tests – so don’t hire someone because they have 10 certifications, and don’t discount someone because they only have 1.

For example, Mo “Hates taking tests, and sucks at taking tests” but he is extremely talented and works wonders with the Salesforce platform.


It’s all about the people skills

“A lot of admins don’t have great people skills. And you have to be a people person to be a good admin because you have to work with the business team and the stakeholders to really build the org.” – Mo.

Don’t make the mistake of getting caught up on a candidate’s hard skills just because being an admin is a semi-technical position. As Mo stated, these people will be constantly fielding requests from people across your organization.

Whether that’s the marketing team looking for a new email integration, management requesting custom reports, or simply resetting a password for your forgetful co-worker. These things all need to be considered by an admin, and then politely denied or approved.

If that new email integration is going to take you 5 hours to implement, and isn’t a top priority, they will be the ones explaining to your marketing team why it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

And if you’re on that marketing team you’re going to want the admin to give you a good explanation of why it’s getting backlogged.

So throughout your interview process be sure to take note of how personable they are. While you could ask specific questions that can start to uncover some of their strengths and weaknesses, it is sometimes better to just ‘feel them out’ as they answer your questions.



There you have it, three things that you need to consider when hiring a Salesforce admin. If you are looking for help hiring a Salesforce admin, we offer staff augmentation services to help supplement your team. You can follow this link to receive a free 15-minute consultation with one of our staffing experts.

About Shane Rostad

Shane Rostad is a marketing manager for TriFin Labs that loves to share his knowledge and learnings about tech through writing. When he's not reading you can find him exploring Florida's parks or loitering in a local coffee shop.

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