Frequent interview questions at Salesforce

We analyzed 7,818 interview reviews for Salesforce from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

12 frequent non-technical questions at Salesforce:

Tell me about yourself
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Why did you leave your last job?
Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment
How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?
What is your greatest weakness?
What are your drivers? What motivates you?
Tell me about a successful project you were involved in. What was your role? What was the result?
What challenges are you looking for in this position?
Walk me through your resume
Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

According to our research, hiring managers at Salesforce ask soft skills interview questions 30% less than at other companies:

Salesforce interview question statistics

1. Tell me about yourselftop question

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement. Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills? Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the Company. Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position? Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences? Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like “Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?" That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 40% less frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions. The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills. They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally. Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is a Myers&Briggs-based test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job. What challenges do you like overcoming? For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position. However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general. Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects? Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff? Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product. In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes. However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position. If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position. Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “as I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like “Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”. This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 9% less frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

3. Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer

This question may be a little touchy for some people, but it's a question asked by interviewers, to find out why you left, in order to better understand how you may or may not make a good fit with their company. Remember, never speak ill of your old company (this will not go over well).

  1. About Yourself

    Most likely, there are three possible reasons you left or are leaving your last job:

    • You are looking for a career change,
    • You are unhappy with your current employment,
    • You were let go.

    Whatever the reason, it's best to always speak in a positive light.

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research about the ompany and the position, what do you like most about the company?

  3. About The Fit

    If you are looking for career advancement or a career change, you can be very upfront and honest. Be as enthusiastic as you can about the position.

    If you were unhappy with your previous job, focus on the positives. Talk about the ways that you will best fit in with the company, in the role for which you're applying.

    If you were let go, focus on the positive. Share your accomplishments at your previous employment.

Pro Tip

Whatever the reason you are looking for a new opportunity, always turn things around to show how you are the perfect fit for the job for which you are interviewing!

Statistics

This question is asked 82% more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

4. Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment

How to answer

Of all your accomplishments (and I am sure you’ve had a great many of them!), you should choose the one most relevant to this job position.

  1. About Yourself

    Write down your Key Selling Points - your top 3-5 skills that make you a strong professional.

    Write down a list of your top 3-5 professional accomplishments that you are most proud of. No need for lengthy descriptions, just 1-2 words for each one to help you recall each situation. Make sure you have developed the story behind each accomplishment and have a strong command of the details of what happened so that you can tell the story clearly and distinctly.

    Along with each accomplishment, mark which of your Key Selling Points they showcase. How exactly?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research of the company, what are their current needs? What are the major projects going on? What are the expectations for the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Try to imagine yourself being an employee of the company you are applying to, say, at your 6th month into the job. Which of your Key Selling Points and accomplishments would be most relevant to the company? What “have you accomplished at your new job?”

    Choose the most relevant accomplishment from your list and then practice telling your story.

Pro Tip

Most enterprises are now going through major transformations, often called Digital Transformation. Do your research on what it means and what is often involved, to get a better idea of the current goals and environments in companies. But one thing that definitely characterizes this transformation is striving for agility.

In particular, for startups (if you are applying to a startup or a small business), agility is their middle name, in order for them to survive among bigger sharks in the market.

So, demonstrating qualities like agility and adaptability should generally be helpful and quite a safe choice in most circumstances today.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.1x more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

5. How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in every company, and even so much more so in a company that deals with difficult customers occasionally. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember how you diffused the situation and how you turned things around. Do you have certain principles, or methodology, to deal with difficult people? Do you have strong people skills, are you good at conflict resolution? Are you high on emotional intelligence? Can you give an example?

  2. About The Company

    What have you found about the company and its culture? What have you learned about how the employees value each other? How do they treat their customers? Knowing their line of business or industry, what can be some examples of difficult customers? Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    A question like this asked in an interview, may be an indication that difficult customers, or other difficult stakeholders, may indeed be something that you will probably encounter in this company, and it is important for the interviewer to know that you will be able to handle this challenge with good grace. If you can give an example of how you handled a difficult person in the past in a situation similar to what this company may require from you, this will strongly increase your chances of showing yourself as a good fit.

Pro Tip

One methodology for diffusing a difficult situation is called “the triple A” approach:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you added another "A" to your approach by Asking for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 9% less frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

6. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down. What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture. What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself! It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 39% less frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

7. What are your drivers? What motivates you?

How to answer

Motivation is what we use to drive ourselves forward to complete tasks and bring results.

Why do hiring managers ask this question? They want to get a sense of your personality. But more importantly, they want to see your resiliency and determination. They do not want to hire someone who will quit when encountering difficulties, whose focus will be elsewhere, or who will just waste their time.

Enthusiasm ranks very high on the list of qualities employers are looking for in a candidate. If you can demonstrate that you are genuinely passionate about your profession and interested in the position you are applying for, your chances of getting hired will improve significantly.

  1. About Yourself

    This question requires serious self-examination; you should be asking it yourself long before the interviewer does.

    Look back on everything you’ve done in your life, job, and career so far. What was it about your best days that made them the best? Can you take those feelings and apply them to specific moments from your life and past work experiences?

    Are you ready for tough projects or for being asked to do something that isn’t quite on your job description, or for having to stay at work till late instead of another team member? Will meeting deadlines, learning new things, finding a way to solve problems or overcoming a challenge inspire you and make you want even more?

    What gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can look back on and say "I achieved that"? Look deep inside.

    Analyze your experience by types of tasks, by type of environment, type of feedback, level of responsibility and stakes? Do you prefer independence, or being part of a team?

    • Task type: if you were given a whole day or even week at work to focus on just one of your tasks, without interruptions or multitasking, which one would that be? Why?
    • Environment: do you feel motivated in a dynamic environment with lots of action, communications, deadlines? Or would you rather disconnect from the outside world and immerse into a single task, with your headphones on?
    • Feedback: are you better motivated by positive feedback, or by healthy criticism? Or maybe by customers’ smiles and “Thank you” messages?
    • Responsibility and stakes: are you motivated to do your best when you know that the stakes are high and your contribution will make a great impact on the bottom line? Or do you feel better in a more safe and relaxed environment when someone else is responsible for making big decisions?
    • Financials: what is the salary range that makes you feel comfortable and respect yourself? Let’s be realistic, this is one (although definitely shouldn’t be the first) of the drivers.

    Be creative, this list is not exhaustive.

  2. About The Company

    Take a long look at the job you’re applying for. What kinds of tasks will you be responsible for? What will the environment be? What do you know about the possible kinds of feedback you will be receiving? What is the level of stakes in this role? What do you know about the salary they can possibly offer?

  3. About The Fit

    How comfortable are you with the drivers the company can offer, comparing to those of your own? Pick those that have a match and give some examples.

    For instance, if you’re applying for a software engineer job, describe how you are motivated by solving complex technical challenges. If the job involves teamwork, give an example showing that you love collaborating and accomplishing big things as a part of a team. That is what drives you to do your best each day. You can say you enjoy meaningful work creating products that change people’s lives, if this is relevant to the company.

Pro Tip

Be enthusiastic. The more enthusiasm you have for what motivates you, the more enthusiasm the interviewer will have for you!

Statistics

This question is asked 4.5x more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

8. Tell me about a successful project you were involved in. What was your role? What was the result?

How to answer

In the modern business environment, work is often organized in the form of projects. This allows companies to plan objectives and milestones in order to reach their goals, to monitor progress and performance, to clearly define deliverables and success.

With this question, the interviewer gauges whether you have the right mindset for a project-oriented work style.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a few projects you have been involved in. Depending on your work experience and career level, these may range from small projects like organizing a party to large-scale multinational projects with participants and teams across the globe, million-dollar budgets and high risk and reward stakes.

    For each project you participated in, write down the following:

    • project name,
    • its reason and goal,
    • your role in it,
    • the duration of the project or its phases (in case only some phases were successful),
    • the approximate number of people or stakeholders involved in it.
    • What were the top 3 challenges?
    • What was the end result?
    • How did the company (or other stakeholders) benefit from the results?
    • How can you define your contribution in 3-5 key phrases?
      If you received any praise for your efforts from your boss, peers or clients, what did they say exactly?
  2. About The Company

    Based on the research you did on the company, what kinds of projects can you expect here? What do you know about the goals they are trying to achieve? What do you know about their current challenges? Can you imagine what success will look like for the projects in this company?

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your examples fits best with the projects you may expect at this company? Practice telling your story, use the STAR method.

Pro Tip

End your answer by asking the interviewer how they define success for the role you are applying for. This will provide you with an insight into the company environment and expectations for this role, as well as will help transform the “interrogation” into a conversation, which will give you a break to pull your wits together for further interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.2x more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

9. What challenges are you looking for in this position?

How to answer

This is a typical question that interviewers ask to determine what you are looking for in your next job, whether you are qualified for the job and if you would be a good fit for the position. They want to hire people with goals and motivation for their career; they want to understand how you approach novel situations and difficult tasks that you might expect to face, and the situations you consider to be a challenge. This question can be a way for you to show how you handle these circumstances. It also helps the interviewer to know if you are a person who likes routines or a person who prefers dynamic changes in plans.

  1. About Yourself

    What qualities do you wish to develop in yourself both professionally and personally? What kind of culture do you want to work in? What motivates you? What will help you to achieve your future goals? Choose those things that you’re already pretty good at, but still trying to improve even more.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company, its culture and the work environment. Check their website, read up on any media report you can find about them, check out their social media platform. Carefully read the job description to get an insight into what the company thinks the challenges are. Make sure to include them in your answers to demonstrate your skillset.

  3. About The Fit

    The best way to answer this question is to discuss how you would like to be able to effectively apply your skills and experience to the new job. Focus on those skills that you are most passionate about or have the most experience with. You can also mention that you are motivated by challenges, can effectively meet them, and have the flexibility and skills necessary to handle a stimulating job. Describe specific examples of challenges you have met and the goals you have achieved in the past. Choose those that reveal your strengths.

    Challenges clearly vary widely based on the position you are applying for. For example, in sales you may speak about higher sales quotas, a larger sales territory, or a more prominent range of products or services. In IT, they might be learning a new software program or incorporating the cloud in the company’s systems. In a management position, it could be leading a larger team than you currently do or stepping into your first leadership role.

Pro Tip

Don’t suggest challenges that can prevent you from doing a job properly or those which are impossible to resolve. Also don’t choose those that are too easy or too quick to resolve, because in such a way you will not be able to show that you are eager to grow further and meet difficult tasks. Be honest and self-aware and don’t be afraid to speak about some of your points that may need improvement. Not those, of course, that are related to your crucial work duties.

Statistics

This question is asked 9.4x more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

10. Walk me through your resume

How to answer

This question is often asked at the beginning of the interview. The interviewer wants to hear a brief overview, a summary of your professional experience, in order to have a starting point from which they can dig deeper. Structuring your answer wisely gives you a good chance to emphasize your Key Selling Points and to channel the conversation in the direction you want.

  1. About Yourself

    Print out your resume. For each of your recent job experiences (at this point do not go back more than 5 years), write down 3-5 key points at which you feel you are strong. For example, for your current (or previous) job, you may want to list skills like “Excellent presentation skills,” “Employee Engagement guru,” “Analytical skills,” “Attention to detail” (they don’t have to be all soft skills, but being aware of at least a few of your strong soft skills is important). Make sure you have examples for each of your statements.

    If you have difficulties to think of these points, search online for job descriptions for similar job roles, and figure out which of those keywords appeal to you. Look for people on LinkedIn that have jobs similar to the one you are applying for. Their profiles often contain many keywords that you can use in response to this question.

    Now that you’ve gone through all your recent experiences, are there any points that repeat more often than others, or are especially important to you? These are candidates to be your Key Selling Points -highlight 3-5 of them.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and the role for which you're being interviewed. When researching the company, find out what skills and qualities they value the most. Carefully consider the job requirements. What is it that you will be responsible for?

    Now, write down 3-5 keywords from the job description that you find of utmost importance for this job role.

  3. About The Fit

    Try to establish the match between your own highlighted keywords, and those of the job description. These are your Key Selling Points! You should normally limit yourself by 3-5 such keywords or phrases.

    Now, craft a story based on your career history. You don’t have to go in chronological order - you can start with your current or last job experience, and then go back to your previous ones, or focus on just the experiences that are relevant to your story, and only briefly mention the less relevant ones and only if needed.

    Select one point to highlight for each phase of your career. Make sure you ingrain your Key Selling Points in the interviewer’s memory - after the interview is over, you want them to remember you as someone who is strong at XYZ, or experienced in A, B and C.

    It's okay to focus more on stellar achievements and brag a little bit about them.

Pro Tip

Don't bore the interviewer by going through your resume line-by-line. Instead, WOW them by succinctly (keep it within 2 minutes) telling a story of how your career path has brought you to this point and how you are the best candidate for this role.

Super tip: The more you practice with Mr. Simon, the better you'll be at telling WOW-worthy succinct stories!

Statistics

This question is asked 18% more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

11. Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer

How to answer

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. How you handle a disgruntled customer can make the difference between closing a sale and failing to do so. It takes good people skills to handle such situations, and this question is a good opportunity to demonstrate your people skills.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of a time when, as a customer, you had a problem with a company. How did you feel? How did you want to be treated? How would the situation ideally be resolved? If it were you on the serving side of the table, what would you do differently? Have you had such experiences in the past where you helped a frustrated customer? What was the critical factor in a successful resolution of the situation? Try to define your principles or approach.

    For example, I know that people tend to be frustrated when they feel neglected and unimportant. Whenever possible, I try to meet in person and establish face-to-face contact with someone who feels disgruntled, so that I can fully focus on the situation. (And believe me, checking your phone while speaking with such a customer is definitely NOT a good idea). Of course, this may not always be possible in your line of business or profession, but I guess you see what I mean - showing full attention greatly improves your chances of mitigating the situation.

  2. About The Company

    Every company relies on customers. Research the Сompany you are applying to and try to find out what their standards of customer relationship or service are, as well as try to find out some real cases where the customers complained about the company, and what the company did to mitigate the situations (a possible source might be Yelp! or another social media platform). Based on your research, how does the company treat customers? How do they resolve customer issues?

  3. About The Fit

    How can you make things better and WOW the customer? Give an example that demonstrates that your approach to resolving customer frustrations is in line with the company policies.

Pro Tip

A disgruntled customer generally just needs someone to listen to them.

The three A’s of customer service can help diffuse the difficult situation:

  • Acknowledge the customer's feelings,
  • Apologize for the customer's experience,
  • Admit the customer is experiencing an issue and you will do your best to assist them.

Add the extra “A” and Ask for the customer's contact information so you can update them on any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 51% less frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.

12. Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict. What were the different ways you were able to address the situation? If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict? What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture. What do they value? Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution? Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description? Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive. Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 9% more frequently at Salesforce than at other companies.


This page has been updated on March 26, 2020.

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