How to Vet Salesforce Consultants the 10K Way

By Jared Miller, 10K COO

Since the start of COVID, we know you’ve been hearing a lot about “the new normal” and the new way of working. With the accelerated rise of remote work and restructuring of companies and their traditional workforces (large-scale layoffs, furloughs, etc.), there are now more independent consultants in the ecosystem than ever before. This is a great opportunity for your company to get more out of Salesforce. 

At 10K, we’re vocal advocates for the benefits of utilizing independent Salesforce consultants. Independent Salesforce experts can help you scale on-demand and tailor your system to your evolving needs while avoiding the challenges and costs of sourcing, hiring, and retaining full-time employees. 

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 consultants who will be a strong fit for your company? Here’s how we do it at 10K. 

First, determine the skill set you need

Before you start searching for the right person, it’s important to know what skills you need for your particular situation and what role is most critical.

Once you’ve confirmed the skills and role, you can start your targeted research. For those who have the knowledge and time to source talent on their own, LinkedIn and Salesforce’s AppExchange are a great place to start. Something to keep in mind, however, is that sourcing and identifying talent is a tedious and time-consuming task. You’ll be searching through thousands of profiles, some that are comprehensive and up-to-date but often lacking essential details. 

You can narrow down the field by checking for Salesforce certifications and Trailhead badges a firm or consultant has earned, but you’ll still need to do quite a bit of vetting. Despite consultants listing a particular skill, badge, or certification, according to our May 2019 survey of 300+ Salesforce program stakeholders, 55% said they’ve definitely had or suspect they’ve had an experience where a job candidate or consultant claimed certifications or specific domain expertise they didn’t have. 

With any large influx of fresh talent into a market — especially a market as lucrative as Salesforce — it’s critical to verify a person’s skill set with confidence before enlisting their help. You can do this through references, test projects, or detailed technical interviews. Something to be aware of, however, is that if the person conducting these interviews lacks technical knowledge, validating a candidate’s skills becomes almost impossible and leaves room for error.  The vetting process can be tedious, so if you don’t have the time or expertise to do this on your own, a partner like 10K who has already pre-vetted the talent on their rosters can alleviate much of this burden.

Get a feel for their soft skills 

The next step is to make sure the consultant you have found is a good fit for your team, your business, and your system. Do they act professionally? Do they ask questions? Do they have the right temperament and communication style to work alongside you or your team? If a candidate can’t communicate or listen well, it doesn’t matter how intelligent or experienced they are.

That said, a candidate’s personality can be a deal-breaker. Before bringing a new Expert into the 10K Community, I always look through their LinkedIn profiles and social feeds. Here are a few things to ask yourself during this process:

Have they spent the time to keep their LinkedIn profile updated? 

What kind of public conversations are they having on Twitter or Facebook? 

Are there any red flags or questionable activities?

Gauge their personality and work style

Once I’ve done a little homework, I’ll request a call (we’re big proponents of video chatting, especially during COVID) to get a feel for who they are and what they’re looking for. During these conversations I also want to know they’ve done some research into who we are, what we do, and our unique business model. If a candidate takes the initiative to research us, they’re more likely to take the initiative in client relationships. Here are a few questions that can help you gauge a consultant’s personality: 

Why did you get into the Salesforce ecosystem? 

What do you love about working on projects and what kind of projects do you want to work on? 

What are some mistakes you’ve made and what did you learn from that experience?

Interviewing is a collaborative process, so I also encourage candidates to ask me questions. By creating an interview environment that feels more like a conversation, candidates are more likely to give candid answers that can help give insight into their motivations, strengths, temperament, and capabilities. It also highlights how they frame questions to get the information they are seeking, which is another strong indication of their work style. 

Consider your values and culture of doing work

These early conversations help me assess their professionalism, passion, and communication style. This also helps me see how they’d fit with our clients and our values. Our top value is trust – dependability, integrity, and honesty. We want growth-minded, introspective people working with our clients. If a person can’t admit to a mistake or constantly blames others, they aren’t going to be a fit.

If we’re interviewing for a particular client situation, then I’ll ask more pointed questions about their specific experience for that situation. Have they worked with clients in this industry before? Have they successfully worked on programs and systems of this scale? If a client has a super complex implementation, having someone who understands that level of sophistication and the interdependencies that come along with it is key. 

These are just some of the practices I use on a regular basis to make sure we have proven talent in our community who are a strong fit for our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about our sourcing process or wondering how 10K can connect you with the hard-to-find talent you’re looking for, contact us today.