Job interviews can be tricky, especially when it comes to demonstrating your mastery of technology. To demonstrate that you’ve mastered something you’d generally have to go into detail at great length and that’s not usually what interviewers are looking for. You don’t want to appear to be filibustering your own interview!
The objective is to give a concise, yet comprehensive, answer that demonstrates your knowledge without going on for too long. You want to pause to allow the interviewer to move onto something else, while conveying that you could go deeper if they’d prefer.
Try mentioning a use case that you’ve experienced using the feature if you can. Another option is to mention a potential use case that the interviewer’s organization might have based on what you know about their organization or industry.
It’s also worth mentioning that not all of the interviewers are necessarily going to be experts in the tech they are asking about. They might not be admins themselves; they could be managers, human resource representatives, or application stakeholders, so it’s often best to tailor your answers to their background. They aren’t trying to certify you, only gauge the level of your expertise. Your confidence, professionalism, and demeanor are also important interview factors.
With that backdrop in mind here are some likely Admin Lightning Interview Questions you should be prepared to answer.
The questions are grouped into the following topics:
- Data Security and Record Sharing
- Data Relationships and Field Types
- Process Automation
- Change Management
- User Interface & Reporting
- Data Management
Data Security and Record Sharing
1. What is a Profile?
Profiles and Roles work together to determine which records users can see and what they can do with them. Profiles are always required and control which objects and fields users can access. They also determine whether users can create, edit, or delete records.
More: Profiles help article
2. What is a Role?
Roles are technically optional, but it’s a good practice to use them. Roles are predominately about sharing records to users. When organization-wide default sharing is set to lower than Public Read/Write for an object, you can use Roles in Sharing Rules to determine which records (and whether they’re Read-Only or Read/Write) that users can view. Roles also have a hierarchy like an organization chart, so that the sharing can cascade beyond records users need, but also for managers to access their team’s records.
More: Data Security Trailhead module
3. What is a Permission Set?
Permission Sets are add-ons to Profiles. They generally have the same settings and are used to increase users’ permissions above what the Profile provides. The benefit to them is that you can give users slightly different permissions without having to create separate Profiles. They reduce the overhead for Administrators in that way. It’s useful to think of Profiles as the base set of permissions that many users have in common while Permission Sets are the “extra” permissions that fewer users need.
More: Permission Sets help article
4. What is a Public Group?
Public Groups are similar to Roles what Permission Sets are to Profiles. An Administrator can create ad hoc groups of users (naming them individually or by Roles) to be able to share records to them. A common use case is to share records to users of a similar level, say Directors. As there are probably Directors spread throughout the organization, they aren’t likely to be under each other in the Role hierarchy, but an Admin could create a Public Group with all of the Director Roles in it and share records to the group.
More: Public Group Considerations help article
5. What is a Queue?
Queues are similar to Public Groups in that they are bespoke groupings of users (named individually or via Roles), but they are used for record ownership rather than Sharing Rules. The classic use is for Cases where you’d want to assign an open one to a team of people, so whoever was available first could handle it. Queues are not available on all standard objects, but they have been added to Tasks in the Spring ‘20 release.
More: Set Up Queues help article
6. What is a lookup relationship?
A lookup relationship allows you to relate records to each other, creating a parent-child schema. Generally this is done between different object (such as Accounts and Contacts), but it can be one one object (such as Parent Accounts). Relationship fields allow for users to specify how records affect each other and help with reporting.
More: Data Modeling Trailhead module
7. What is a master-detail relationship?
Master-Detail relationships are similar to lookup relationships, but have a few special features. First, Master-Detail allows for Roll-up Summary fields to be created. This relationship type also affects security in that the Detail (or child) record does not have a record owner. It inherits its visibility from the Master (or parent) record. That can be very beneficial, or limiting, depending on your use case.
More: Relationships Among Objects developer guide
8. What is a Roll-up Summary field?
A Roll-up Summary field is available on the master side of a Master-Detail relationship. It allows administrators to aggregate data from related detail records (count them, sum a numeric value on them, etc.) in real time. Ability to have Roll-up Summary fields is the top reason why you’d consider a Master-Detail relationship.
More: Implement Roll-up Summary Fields Trailhead unit
9. What are different types of fields?
Field types define the type of information you expect users to enter for that field. Examples include Text, Number, Date, Currency, etc. It’s important to match the field type to the data because it affects your ability to report on and analyze the data. For example, you could store numbers in text fields, but that would make performing calculations on them needlessly challenging.
More: Custom Field Type help article
10. What are Validation Rules?
Validation Rules allow you to enforce specific business logic to help with your org’s data integrity. You can specify conditions on an object that aren’t allowed to exist. For example, you don’t want a user to mark an Opportunity as Closed Won if they Account doesn’t have a Billing Address. You can add a Validation Rule so that when a user tries it won’t update the Opportunity record and displays an error message explaining what they need to do.
More: Create Validation Rules Trailhead unit
11. What if you need roll-ups on a lookup relationship?
Sometimes you’d like to aggregate child data on a parent record, but you can’t use Master-Detail due to the security limitations not aligning with your use case. In those situations you could write code or use Flow Builder to replicate the functionality of Roll-up Summary fields. Mostly likely, however, you’ll want an app from the AppExchange to make configuration easy. In fact, an app like this is one of the first things you should look to install in your org (in a sandbox first, of course.)
12. What is a junction object?
A junction object is a term to describe an object that is designed to have two different parent objects (generally with Master-Detail relationships) which forms a many-to-many relationship. There is nothing labeled “junction object” within Salesforce; it’s a definition applied to an object based on its function in the data model.
A common use case is something like Classes in a school. The school will offer many Courses and have many Students. Each of those will be connected to many Classes.
More: Create a Many-to-Many Relationship help article
13. What is workflow?
Workflow is a basic automation tool which allows Admins to trigger and action (such as updating fields or sending emails) when a certain data condition exists. They are the simplest type of automation to implement and also the most limited.
More: Workflow help article
14. What is Process Builder?
Process Builder is a more advanced automation tool than Workflows. While still following the If This Happens, Then Do That concept, Process Builder allows Admin to control the order of actions as well as offering more actions such as creating records, posting to Chatter, and launching other automated tools.
More: Workflow Rules vs. Process Builder blog post
15. What is a Flow?
Flow is the granddaddy of declarative automation tools. The logic required to perform actions is less rigid than the other tools, so you can do things like have branching decisions and looping through actions. You can also perform additional types of actions such as deleting records or creating/editing records unrelated to the original starting point. Beginning with Winter ’20 you can even schedule Flows to launch at a specific time rather than when something happens. The redesigned Flow Designer introduced in Spring ’19 really went a long way to make it feel like an Admin tool more than a Developer one. Finally, Flow is the only declarative automation tool that allows admins to build custom screens to interact with users and can greatly improve the user experience in Lightning (which is required for Screen Flows.)
16. What is an Approval Process?
An Approval Process is for very specific automation use cases. Naturally, it’s used when something needs to be approved and tracks when and who approved or rejected something. It covers notifying approvers, locking the record from edits, conditional logic for who should approve, and varied approval models (for example, all approvers or any approvers.)
More: Build a Discount Approval Process Trailhead project
17. What is Apex?
Apex is the language in which Salesforce code is written. While a tool for Developers more than Admins, it’s important to know that code can extend your org to do pretty much anything you need.
More: Apex Basics & Database Trailhead module
18. What is a Community?
A Community is a way that you can allow your customers and partners to access your Salesforce org. With this special licenses they can have user accounts and a special access portal, customized with a bevy of Lightning features that are able to be configured without any code. It’s also very simple to layer in security so they can only see or edit the objects and records you want them to.
More: Community Cloud Basic Trailhead module
19. What are Guest Users?
Guest Users are people without user accounts in your org. They are also called unauthenticated users because they don’t need to log in. You can make pages (and data!) publicly available. These users can even create or edit records. Naturally, there are a lot of considerations and limitations to evaluate, but leveraging this feature can solve a lot of use cases and do it economically as guest user licenses are free. Take a look at how the National Aquarium leverages guest users licenses to allow constituents to manage email preferences.
More: Guest User Profile help article
20. What is the difference between managed and unmanaged packages?
Applications you install from the AppExchange are in the form of packages — a collection of all of the elements required to make the app function correctly. The creator of the app decides whether the package is managed or not. At a high level unmanaged packages, once installed, behave like things you have created yourself in the org, whereas components of managed packages are locked down from being edited kind of like apps you install on your smartphone.
More: AppExchange Basic Trailhead module
21. What is a Change Set?
While not exactly the same as an AppExchage package, a Change Set is quite similar. It’s a collection of components that you want to migrate between related orgs (generally from a sandbox to Production, but also sandbox to sandbox, and other configurations.)
More: Change Set Development Model Trailhead module
22. What are the different types of sandboxes?
There are Developer, Developer Pro, Partial, and Full sandboxes. The difference is what data is included in the sandbox when it is created or refreshed. The Developer ones have no data initailly (they differ in the amount of data it can contain) and the Partial and Full start with some or all of your Production data. It’s important to note that they also differ in how often they can be refreshed: Developer daily; Partial every five days; Full every 29 days.
More: Sandbox Types help article
23. What are Record Types?
Record Types allow you to create separate kinds of records for each object. They control the page layouts, picklist values available, and other business logic. A good example, is a call center. You’d likely need different fields visible and required for Cases involving customers’ mortgages compared to car loans.
Here’s a tip: I almost always create a Record Type when I make create a new object even if I’m only planning to use one type. It’s so much easier to add a second one when you need them than it is to to go back an introduce Records Types to an object that already has records.
More: Create Record Type Trailhead unit
24. What are List Views?
List Views are the queries you can present to your users to help them review they records that interest them. Most often found when they click on a tab in an app, but they could also be displayed in via Lightning Components on other Lightning Pages. List Views can be be filtered how they are needed and display whichever columns are relevant. Users can also pin their default List View on each tab.
More: Create and Customize List Views Trailhead unit
25. What are Reports and Dashboards?
Reports are similar to List Views, but they can do so much more. They can group records and create summaries. Dashboard allow for visualizations of the data.
More: Reports & Dashboards for Lightning Experience Trailhead module
26. What is a page layout?
At a high level a page layout controls which fields are visible for a specific record, but they control more than that. They can also control which fields or editable or are required. Additionally, page layouts control buttons, related lists, and some other elements too. It’s worth noting that Dynamic Forms were announced at Dreamforce ’19 and are expected to be available in 2020. This Lightning Experience feature will represent a paradigm shift in managing Lightning pages and page layouts!
More: Page Layouts help article
27. What are Lightning Components?
Lightning Components are where the magic of Lightning Experience really comes alive. They are modular features than can be added, moved, or rearranged on Lightning Pages. They are the Record Details, Chatter elements, Highlights Panel, Path display, etc. There are dozens of standard Lightning components and you can also create your own custom Lightning Components or get them from the AppExchange.
More: Lightning App Builder Trailhead module
28. What is the difference between a page layout and a Lightning page?
In Lightning Experience page layouts are basically represented by Lightning Components that display its content (mostly the Details and Related List components), but Lightning Record Pages house so much more! The Lightning Page controls all of the other Lightning Components you can leverage. You can also make all of the components conditionally visible. The conditions can be based on things like the user’s profile or data in the record. There are other types of Lightning pages too: Home pages and App pages. Those pages won’t have any individual records, but could enhance the user experience by containing things like charts, list views, Lightning Screen Flows, and more! The limit is almost anything you can think of to make things better for your users. You can even make Lightning Pages function differently between desktop and mobile instances.
More: Embed Dashboards and Report Charts on Lightning Pages Trailhead module
29. What is Data Loader?
There are a lot of ways to import and export data in bulk from Salesforce (including Import Wizard, exporting Reports, and third-party tools such as dataloader.io), but the Salesforce Data Loader is the original. It’s a downloadable client application that is free and provides all of the options you need.
More: Data Management Trailhead module
30. What is a Custom Metadata Type?
Once a tool primarily for Developers, Custom Metadata Types have increasingly become useful for Admins. Custom Metadata is kind of like a custom objects, but rather than store data for your organization, it’s data about your organization. Things like discount rates, blackout dates, sales goals, etc. are good uses cases. The metadata becomes available to you in formulas, automation, etc. Also, because it’s metadata and not data, it’s automatically available in all sandboxes you create or refresh.
More: Custom Metadata Type Basics Trailhead module
Job interviews can be tricky, especially when it comes to demonstrating your mastery of technology. This post has covered some likely Admin Interview Questions you should be prepared to answer from some of the most popular topics for day-to-day Salesforce Lightning administration.
Remember, the objective is to give a concise, yet comprehensive, answer that demonstrates your knowledge without going on for too long. Try mentioning a use case that you’ve experienced using the feature if you can. Finally, not all of the interviewers are necessarily going to be experts in the tech they are asking about, so it’s often best to tailor your answers to their background. They aren’t trying to certify you, only gauge the level of your expertise. Your confidence, professionalism, and demeanor are also important interview factors.