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 on to 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 Salesforce Admin 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.
2. What is a Role?
Roles are technically optional, but it’s a good practice to use them. Roles are predominately about sharing records with 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) 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.
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 is that you can give users slightly different permissions without having to create separate profiles.
This reduces the overhead for administrators. 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. You can also group multiple permission sets together by job function via Permission Set Groups for simpler and more consistent administration. Salesforce and Trailhead have useful articles on the subject.
4. What is changing regarding Profiles and Permission Sets?
Salesforce have announced that permissions on profiles will be retired as end of life (EOL) as of the Spring ‘26 release. Profiles will still exist; however, permissions on profiles will be retired and permissions will be available only on permission sets.
What will remain on a profile:
- One-to-one relationships: Login hours/IP ranges
- Defaults: Record types, apps
- Page layout assignment: The future is App Builder/Dynamic Forms, so we will not invest in bringing page layout assignment to permission sets.
What will be available only on permission sets after EOL:
- User permissions (system and app permissions)
- Object permissions (object Create, Read, Update, and Delete [CRUD])
- Field permissions (field-level security [FLS])
- Record types (not defaults)
- Apps (not defaults)
- Connected app access
- Apex classes
- Visualforce pages
- Custom permissions
Administrators can now begin to change the security model in preparation for the ultimate change by migrating permissions from profiles to permission sets and enabling Field-Level Security for Permission Sets During Field Creation under User Management Settings.
5. How are Public Groups and Queues different?
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 with users of a similar level, say directors. As directors are probably spread throughout the organization, they aren’t likely to be under each other in the role hierarchy. However, an admin could create a public group with all of the director roles in it and share records with the group.
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 that whoever is available first handles it. Queues are available on all custom objects and many standard objects.
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 the different objects (such as accounts and contacts), but it can be one object (such as parent accounts). Relationship fields allow for users to specify how records affect each other and help with reporting.
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.
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. The ability to have roll-up summary fields is the top reason why you’d consider a master-detail relationship.
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.
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, if you don’t want a user to mark an Opportunity as Closed Won if the 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.
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.
Most 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.)
Learn more about Declarative Lookup Rollup Summary (DLRS).
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, and each of them will be connected to many classes.
13. What is Flow?
Flow is an admin’s primary declarative automation tool. Flow can perform actions such as creating, updating, and deleting records, as well as sending emails, outbound messages, launching other flows, and calling Apex code. Flow is also the only declarative automation tool that allows admins to build custom screens to interact with users and can greatly improve the user experience.
Flow Trigger Explorer allows admins to determine the order in which flows run so that automation can be efficient and not create conflicts.
There’s also a tool called Flow Orchestrator that allows admins to develop multi-user, multi-step automation.
If you’re interested in learning more, don’t forget to check out the following resources:
- Build Flows with Flow Builder
- Automate Your Business Processes with Salesforce Flow
- Flow Orchestration Basics
14. What is happening with Workflow Rules and Process Builder?
Salesforce has announced the retirement of workflow rules and process builder. Both declarative tools were predecessors to Flow and are no longer necessary (now that Flow can do everything they can do!).
It’s important to know that existing workflow rules and processes continue to operate as they have (and can be edited and activated/deactivated) but can no longer be created as of Winter ‘23 and Summer ‘23, respectively.
Because an admin can expect to work with orgs that have existing workflow rules and processes in place, understanding them remains vital. For further reading, check out Workflow Rules vs. Process Builder (Feat. APEX & Flow) and Process Builder vs. Flows – Become the Ultimate Admin.
15. What’s going on with AI?
Salesforce have had a suite of Einstein AI products for years, which have largely served as analytical and predictive tools. Recent AI advancements have led to GPT tools, which are generative AI – meaning that they can create auto-generated content.
Probably the most important thing to know is that GPT products use what is called large language models (LLMs) to learn. Salesforce’s AI Cloud uses the Einstein GPT Trust Layer, which allows data within a Salesforce org to be used by the AI while protecting it.
- Get Started with Einstein GPT
- Get Started with Artificial Intelligence
- Salesforce AI Day: Calling All TrAILblazers
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.)
17. What is Apex?
Apex is the language in which Salesforce code is written. While a tool more for developers than admins, it’s important to know that code can extend your org to do pretty much anything you need.
18. What is Experience Cloud?
Experience Cloud (formerly Community) is a way to allow your customers and partners to access your Salesforce org. With these special licenses, they can have user accounts and a special access portal, customized with a bevy of Lightning features that can 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. Check out the Experience Cloud Basics module for further context.
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 many use cases and do so 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.
Admins can combine Experience Cloud, guest users, and screen flow to solve some fairly complex use cases, such as the National Aquarium reservation and education experience applications.
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.
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 you want to migrate between related orgs (generally from a sandbox to production, but also sandbox to sandbox and other configurations).
Salesforce has also launched the DevOps Center, which “makes it easier to collaboratively build, test, and deploy custom solutions across Salesforce – including automations, applications, and experiences – that connect to real-time customer data.”
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 initiailly (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.
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 creating a new object, even if I only plan to use one type. It’s so much easier to add a second one when you need them than to go back and introduce records types to an object that already has records.
24. What are List Views?
List views are the queries you can present to your users to help them review the records that interest them. Most often found when they click on a tab in an app, but they could also be displayed via Lightning components on other Lightning pages. List views can be filtered on how they are needed and display whichever columns are relevant. Users can also pin their default list view on each tab.
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. Dashboards allow for visualizations of the data.
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 are editable or required. Additionally, page layouts control buttons, related lists, and some other elements.
It’s worth noting that now Dynamic Forms have been released, this will represent a paradigm shift in managing Lightning pages and page layouts!
27. What are Lightning Components?
Lightning components are where the magic of Lightning Experience really comes alive. They are modular features that 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.
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 also other types of Lightning pages: 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.
29. What is the Data Loader?
There are many 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’s free and provides all of the options you need. You may want to take a look at the 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 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 use 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.
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 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.
Check out some of our other Salesforce interview questions below…
- 30 Salesforce Consultant Interview Questions & Answers
- 30 Salesforce Developer Interview Questions & Answers
- 50 Most Popular Salesforce Interview Questions & Answers