At 10K, we’re passionate advocates for the Salesforce ecosystem’s independent expert community and have written scores on why customers should partner with this growing goldmine of talent. I’d go as far as to say in 2021 and beyond, no business of any size can afford to ignore the skilled and growing independent workforce.
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So, as a Salesforce customer with the goal of getting the most out of your program, how can you most effectively identify the skilled independent Salesforce experts who will be a strong fit for your company? To get familiar, I recommend starting with one of my latest posts, How to Vet Salesforce Consultants the 10K Way.
In this post, I’ll focus on the questions I ask to understand an expert’s soft skills – the personality traits and work styles that can help indicate if a person is a strong fit for your team. Technical prowess and in-the-field experience are a top priority, of course, but soft skills are just as important. They are essential indicators for how successfully an on-demand expert can parachute into your project, collaborate with your team, and get the job done.
Read on for the questions I ask every independent expert I interview for 10K and red flags to look out for.
1. “Can you tell me about a time…”
You can ask if an expert’s completed “x” amount of coding projects or built “x” amount of custom workflows, but there’s more to an expert’s experience than quantifiable details. Nearly every Salesforce project has a story. Asking open-ended questions that explore an expert’s project successes and failures will help you see how an expert works, how self-aware they are, and how they make decisions.
A natural place to start is to ask about a successful project experience. This will help you see where their skills shine and how they describe success. Starting the conversation on a positive note will also help make the expert feel comfortable and confident.
They should also feel comfortable discussing failures and challenges. How they describe (or avoid describing) less than stellar experiences is a solid way to learn nuances about their work style. Are they dismissive or arrogant in their answer? Or do they exemplify self-awareness through ownership and a willingness to learn? Envision what it would look like to work through difficult challenges with this person.
- “Tell me about a time when you recommended a different approach or solution to a problem.”
- “Thinking back to your last few projects, what is a moment or situation that that makes you proud?”
- They failed to tell a story from start to finish
- Their story is missing context and details
- They lack confidence in their delivery
2. “What are your passions outside of Salesforce?”
An expert with well-rounded soft skills should have passions and hobbies outside of Salesforce. Get to know the person beyond the resume! The easiest way to do this is to skim their social media profiles, mainly LinkedIn and Twitter. You don’t need to spend hours looking at their social presence. Just enough to gain an understanding of what they like, what they talk about, and care about.
Providing a personal touch to your interview can also help make the conversation more candid and relaxed. And if the expert you’re interviewing doesn’t have a social media presence, that’s not necessarily a red flag. It’s always safe to ask, “So what do you like to do for fun?”
If this exercise sounds intrusive, think of it this way, you expect the expert you’re interviewing to research your company and what it represents beyond day-to-day business. Doing the same for your interviewee isn’t much different.
- “I noticed you have Tom Brady and the Bucs as your Twitter banner, how long have you been a fan?”
- “That LinkedIn article you published last week about the shift to remote work was really impressive. What else do you enjoy writing about?”
- They’re guarded or put off
- Their answers don’t jive with the personality they portray online
- They claim not to have any passions or hobbies other than work
3. “What was your motivation for going independent?”
Going independent in the Salesforce ecosystem is no small feat. From building a client base to chasing down payments, bookkeeping, and the other minute logistics of running your own business, independent Salesforce experts are a special breed of professionals that tend to be highly engaged and hungry for a challenge.
Every independent expert remembers their journey from full-time employment to independence. It’s a major career transition that requires careful thought and cost analysis. It’s also personal; every expert has their own reasons and goals. Some of the most common include the freedom to choose the projects that interest you, increased work/life balance, and the freedom to work anywhere in the world. Learning about their journey will shed light on their motivations, passions, and mindset.
- “At what point in your career did you know you wanted to be an independent expert?”
- “What is your favorite aspect of being an independent expert?”
- Money is their sole focus
- Their emphasis on work/life balance feels unbalanced
- They’re unprepared or don’t have much of an answer
The most important thing to know before interviewing your next Salesforce expert
The simple truth is that independent Salesforce experts are exactly that – independent. They have the ultimate say in which projects to take on and what kind of companies they want to work for. This is why vetting and interviewing independent experts should be respected as a collaborative process; you’re hiring a partner that will be vested in your success.
At 10K, this mindset has helped us build our 400+ member 10K Expert Community and connect some of the ecosystem’s brightest experts with our customers who seek them. It can also help Salesforce customers create lasting partnerships with skilled independent talent to help increase program ROI.