Overcoming Interview Anxiety as a Salesforce Professional
Do you experience anxiety when you have an upcoming interview? Do the knots in your stomach keep you up at night? Maybe you blank out under the pressure.
If this is you, you’re not alone – but it doesn’t have to be this way either! There are 3 simple techniques you can utilize to overcome interview anxiety.
Some background – at a recent Toronto area community group, a conversation came up about interview anxiety. I suggested people start participating in a real interviews “for practice.” We decided it would be helpful to have a workshop on interview skills. I don’t get this anxiety, so it was suggested that I sit for a mock interview and handle some tricky questions. The catch – the interview would be completely unscripted and recorded.
I thought this was a great idea and teamed up with Maurizio Gioffrè for this exercise. Maurizio is a Salesforce recruitment partner who has sat in on thousands of candidate interviews. He thought this was a great idea and told me “Matt, I get so many questions about how to answer certain questions and how to configure, I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time.”
I really like Maurizio. He specializes solely in Salesforce placements and as a result he really understands the SFDC ecosystem and the job market, which many recruiters lack. He also makes a ton of great content so feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.
Anyway, here we are.
If you want to skip this short blog and head straight to the videos, Maurizio has curated a YouTube playlist with all of our clips. This is a must watch!
Keep in mind there is no set formula to follow to ace the interview. The ultimate goal should be to calm your nerves and be able to have a normal conversation. Find out what works best for you.
So let’s get into my 3 simple techniques to overcome pre-interview anxiety!
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s probably no surprise this is the first item, considering I’ve already talked about taking interviews for practice. This does not mean you are wasting your time or the hiring managers time. It means to come into the interview where your only expectation is to have a conversation.
There is nothing wrong with this. This is networking. You want to have a conversation where all parties can assess the suitability of working together.
How much do I believe in this? I can honestly say that every job I have taken since 2010 came as a result of a “practice interview”. When a recruiter approaches me I agree to have a conversation. If the conversation was compelling enough, then I would agree to continue the process. Sometimes this landed me a new job I was really excited about.
You see, an interview should be a conversation and not an interrogation. You should be gauging the company as much as they are gauging you. When you change your mindset and start thinking of interviews as conversations, you will have taken the biggest step in eliminating pre-interview anxiety.
Be a Consultant
When I talk about things I have done, I give a very high level overview and identify the business proposition. For example, when explaining one of my past projects: “I built an interface in Salesforce using Lightning Web Components that integrated three disparate enterprise systems and eliminated the need for sales reps to triplicate their work across each system. This resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of time to close a sale and a marked increase in customer satisfaction.” I am not sure if the interviewer is more interested in my LWC work, the integration patterns I used, how the metrics were calculated, etc. Keep it high level and let them ask me for more details on whatever piques their interest.
I take a similar approach when I am given a business scenario to solve. The key takeaway here is that your interviewer is also giving you a very high level overview of a problem. Depending how they set up the scenario, the problem could be one of a dozen different things, and each of those could have a dozen different solutions! So how do you possibly answer this question?
The answer is to be a consultant. Remember, this is not an interview it’s a conversation! Take the hypothetical scenario you are given and start asking questions to identify if the problem is technical (requires code or configuration), process related (requires scoping and discovery), or personnel related (requires a different team structure). Here’s a sample high-level decision tree:
As a Salesforce professional, you aren’t expected to have all the answers. You’re expected to know how to solve problems. Identify the root cause of the issue, propose a solution, and explain how you have solved similar problems before. Feel free to mention “I’ve only had a chance to think about this scenario for the last two minutes, it might not be exactly what you need, but this is the high level approach I would take.”
Tell me about yourself
This is almost always the very first question you will be asked, so this is where you are making your first impression. The worst thing you can do is appear to not know who you are or to lack confidence when answering.
Have a 30-second canned answer ready and memorize it to the point where you can deliver it backwards in your sleep. “My name is Matt, I taught myself how to program when I was 12, I’ve been working as a developer or architect for 22 years, I have 14 years experience in CRM and 12 years experience specifically on the Salesforce platform where I am 25 times certified.”
Same thing with your projects and employment history. Just like the integration project I mentioned above, I have a high level explanation for each of my past and current projects that includes the value proposition.
There are no hard-and-fast rules to the interview. Leverage your skills and your greatest asset – your individual personality – to guide the experience towards a healthy, two-way conversation that flows from topic to topic.
Interviews shouldn’t be scary, and like any other skill it can be improved over time with practice. I think we have all had our social skills deteriorate a little bit over the course of working remotely during the pandemic, so it’s important to keep yourself fresh. The best way to do that is by networking!
If this post helped you please like it and share, and leave any questions down below 👇 I’m passionate about introspection and self improvement and I’d be happy to help you out any way i can.