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​​Top Salesforce Administrator interview questions and answers

by | Dec 10, 2021

Salesforce is one of the world’s leading cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. Today, over 150,000 companies worldwide utilize the functions of this CRM platform to track customer interactions, monitor sales, streamline internal processes, and generate important business reports.

The role of a Salesforce Administrator is one of the fastest-growing, in-demand jobs today. Experts predict that by 2026, there will be 9.3 million new Salesforce jobs [1].

When interviewing for a Salesforce Administrator position, interviewers will ask you to demonstrate your knowledge and mastery of the platform. Below is a list of common Salesforce admin interview questions, along with strategies you can use to prepare and answer these questions effectively.  

1. What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing services over the internet (“the cloud”). Rather than using traditional data storage or software models, companies can remotely access IT services like data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software. 

How to Answer: This question evaluates your basic understanding of cloud computing services. Start by defining the term “cloud computing” and state the branch of cloud computing used by Salesforce (e.g., Platform-as-a-service). Then, describe some of the advantages of using cloud computing:

  • Cost Savings – reduce IT infrastructure expenses (e.g., hardware, in-house technicians, storage facilities, etc.) Users of cloud computing services only pay monthly fees based on use.
  • Security – protect information from flood, fire, natural disaster, failure, and cyber threats. 
  • Adaptability – customize the platform and its applications to fit a company’s unique needs.
  • Accessibility – get access to on-demand computing services through a centralized, global network. Multiple users can access data and programs from different locations and devices.

2. What is public vs. private vs. hybrid cloud?

Public: A public cloud’s infrastructure is provided by and managed by a third party. It is available to the public and delivered over the internet. Services are available on-demand, and users only pay for what they use.

Private: A private cloud’s infrastructure is created, owned, and maintained by one organization. This type of cloud is not available to the public. It offers organizations convenience and versatility related to the management, control, and security of the cloud.

Hybrid: A hybrid cloud uses both a private cloud and a public cloud for its computing needs. The private cloud is generally used for critical functions or sensitive applications, while the public cloud helps handle high-demand computing needs or spikes in workload. 

How to Answer: This question assesses your knowledge of the different types of cloud computing services. Define each type of cloud computing deployment and explain the key differences or use cases for each deployment. 

3. What is a workflow? What are its components? What is a workflow rule?

A workflow is a sequence of tasks that an individual or team must complete to accomplish an objective. In Salesforce, a workflow is business logic used to automate certain actions based on specific criteria – commonly referred to as “if/then” logic. A workflow rule is a container for specific workflow instructions.

The two main components of a workflow rule are criteria and actions.

  • Criteria: the “if” portion of the statement (i.e., what must be true of a record to initiate the workflow rule)
  • Action: the “then” portion of the statement (i.e., what tasks or actions to execute if the record meets the rule criteria)

For example, “if” a record is created or edited (i.e., the criteria), “then” an outbound message is sent (i.e., the action).

How to Answer: Start by illustrating your basic understanding of workflows and describe how workflows function within Salesforce. Then, give an example of a specific use case where the workflow tool allowed you to automate a process or procedure in a previous role. Consider mentioning the types of actions that a workflow rule can perform (i.e., creating tasks, sending emails, field updates, and outbound messages).

4. What are the types of portals in Salesforce?

There are three types of portals in Salesforce:

  1. The Self-Service Portal is an online support channel for customers. It allows them to resolve inquiries without the direct support of customer service representatives.
  2. The Partner Portal is an online portal for sales and channel partners. It gives limited access to account information, leads, and customer conversion opportunities.  
  3. The Customer Portal is an online support channel for customers with more functionality than a Self-service portal. It provides a personalized user interface for customers to find information, manage their accounts, or connect with an agent.

How to Answer: This question assesses your knowledge of Salesforce portals and communities. To answer, list the three types of portals in Salesforce and describe specific applications or use cases for each type of portal.   

5. What is the difference between role and profile?

Roles and profiles are fundamental security and access components within Salesforce that work together to control what a user can see and do on the platform.

  • Profiles control what a user in Salesforce can do. Profiles are required, and control which objects and fields a user can access.
  • Roles control what a user in Salesforce can see. The administrator is responsible for increasing data visibility and access using organization-wide defaults, role hierarchy, and sharing rules.

How to Answer: This question is testing your knowledge of data security settings and record sharing in Salesforce. Start by defining each component. Then, explain the critical differences between a role and profile.

6. What are the different types of fields?

A field is one data point within an object (e.g., “First Name” of a Lead). There are two types of fields in Salesforce: standard fields and custom fields.

  • Standard fields are predefined fields built into the application. Standard fields cannot be modified or deleted. All objects require the Identity, System, and Name fields.
  • Custom fields are custom-built fields added by the administrator or developer to meet the needs of the business. Custom fields can be added, amended, and deleted. This type of field is not required.

How to Answer: The question is evaluating your understanding of data modeling. Explain the difference between standard and custom fields. Then, give an example of when you’ve created and implemented a custom field within an account to increase efficiencies in collecting and analyzing data.    

7.  What is a roll-up summary field?

A roll-up summary field summarizes data from a set of related detail records and automatically displays it on the master record. This type of operation can display the sum, count, maximum, or minimum value of related records.

How to Answer: This question tests your technical application of formulas and validations. Define a roll-up summary field and apply it to an objective using one or more summary field operations. For example, you can use a roll-up summary field to calculate the total number of all pending sales opportunities in 15 related detail records. 

8. What is a junction object?

A junction object is a custom object with two master-detail relationships. It gives you a way to create a many-to-many relationship between two or more Salesforce objects.

How to Answer: This question assesses your data modeling skills as it relates to relationships. Define a junction object and present a use case for its application. For example, an HR department might use a junction object to improve their recruiting efforts by creating a many-to-many relationship between the Position and the Job Posting Site objects.   

9. How do you define field dependency?

 A field dependency is a filter that allows a user to alter the contents of a picklist based on the value of another field. 

How to Answer: This question evaluates how you apply Salesforce objects to specific scenarios to streamline data collection. Define a field dependency and explain how you would use the filter to gather information. For example, a field dependency can allow a sales team to filter Leads for a Region (e.g., East Coast) based on the value of another field, like State (e.g., New York).  

10. What are the different types of Sharing Rules in Salesforce?

Sharing rules allow the administrator to increase data visibility to select users by making exceptions to organization-wide sharing settings.

There are two types of sharing rules in Salesforce:

  • Owner-based sharing rules – access based on who owns the record
  • Criteria-based sharing rules – access based on the values of fields in the record

How to Answer: This question is a practical application of your data security knowledge base. Start by defining a sharing rule and explain the difference between an owner-based and criteria-based sharing rule. Then, describe a situation where you would use a sharing rule to increase data visibility for certain users in an account.

Advancing Your Salesforce Administrator Career with Pathstream

The Salesforce admin interview questions above highlight some of the critical skills and competencies that a Salesforce administrator candidate must possess. In addition to preparing your interview answers, additional skills training and certification programs can make you a more competitive applicant and boost your Salesforce knowledge base. With Pathstream’s Salesforce Administrator Career Certificate, you can gain the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to excel in a career as a Salesforce Administrator. Learn more about advancing your Salesforce career with Pathstream here.

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