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How to Hire Salesforce Architects “On Demand”

By Kristin Langlois

Experienced Salesforce talent is difficult to find and not easy to keep – especially when it comes to technical and specialized roles. As companies continue to invest in digital transformation initiatives, specialized experts – Industry Clouds, Experience Cloud, CPQ, Mulesoft, Einstein, and Tableau – will become increasingly harder to find.

The result? Technical architects are in high demand. They’re also aware of the value their skills bring to the table and the weight of their earning potential. This is why some of the ecosystem’s best architects work as independent consultants on demand. At the same time, the reality is that most customers’ program goals don’t command the need to hire a full-time architect. It’s a win-win scenario!

Why are Salesforce Architects Important?

Our 2020 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report found that the YoY global demand growth for Salesforce technical architects took a considerable hit. At the same time, developer demand flourished.

We won’t pretend to have all the answers, but that kind of imbalance might pose a problem for customers. Higher demand for development work may be indicative of organizations shifting away from long-term, strategic focus in favor of quick-win customizations and add-ons. This can, unfortunately, result in an accumulation of unmanageable technical debt over time.

Developers are only a piece of the pie when it comes to getting the most out of Salesforce. Having a good architect on deck is an absolute necessity. They’re the deeply experienced, technical platform experts that will validate the type of technology to use, provide contextual insight, and call out the risk areas of any plans – all this while helping with design decisions about integration architecture or data migration strategy.

Find a Good Salesforce Architect: Checklist

According to our 2021 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, technical architects make up only 1% of the global Salesforce talent supply. This poses a problem for customers strictly looking for full-time talent.

Partnering with independent Salesforce architects is the key to making informed strategic decisions and minimizing technical debt. Companies that expand their recruitment strategy to include independent consultants gain a wealth of new, on-demand talent to partner with to make business goals a reality.

As 10K’s Chief Talent Officer, I vet Salesforce Architects every week. Here is a checklist that any company can use when engaging and hiring architects.

Step 1: Prepare

First, confirm that it’s the proper time to bring an architect in. It’s wise to have one on hand in the beginning stages of any new project. Without an architect helping you make the right decisions from day one, you run the risk of blowing past your budget or timeline. Front-load that expertise as you’re building your plan and you will get the most ‘bang for your buck’.

With timing confirmed, it’s time to create an outline that defines your ideal architect profile.

Step 2: Identify must-have and nice-to-have attributes

The non-negotiables are equally as important as being flexible in finding the “ideal” candidate. It’s important to complete this exercise before anything else. These qualities will help hone in on what the best-fit expert looks like, saving time and energy in the long run.

Must-have and nice-to-have attributes include technical skills – clouds of expertise (CPQ or Service Cloud, for example), industries, etc. – and professional soft skills. Do they have a strong command of Salesforce development? Have they managed a data migration? Do they need client-facing experience? Will they be interacting with specific internal stakeholders? These details create a blueprint to guide you to the architects with the right technical, soft, and core skills.

Step 3: Determine how much bandwidth is needed to get the work done

The reality is that most companies don’t need a full-time architect, and this is great news because good architects charge premium rates – so why pay for unnecessary hours? Try organizing Salesforce projects in sprints. This helps identify where an architect needs to step in and when (ideally, this should be at the onset of a project or implementation).

Step 4: Outline a recruitment gameplan

After defining the qualities of the ideal architect and the hours needed for a specific project, it’s time to outline a recruitment strategy. There are a variety of talent channels to tap into, including recruitment consultancies, talent brokers, online job boards, and on-demand consultancies.

To get started, give this recent post from 10K a read: Are You Set Up to Attract, Engage, and Partner with Independent Salesforce Consultants?

How to Outline an Architect Vetting Process

With the preparation checklist complete, it’s time to determine a vetting process. In an ideal world, vetting an independent architect is a two-step process. If hiring strictly full-time talent, the vetting process will take much longer.

1. Confirm the person’s experience, background, and technical prowess

This is where step one of the preparation – a list of must-have and nice-to-have attributes – comes into play. The goal is to effectively screen candidates in or out based on the criteria from that list. Ultimately, this will save internal resources and time by filtering out people who aren’t a good fit to start with.

Every conversation will look different. However, the conversation should cater to specific needs and project goals. To confirm a person’s experience, example questions could include:

  • How many projects have you led?
  • Which industries do you work in the most?
  • What are your clouds of expertise?

If alignment with company culture and work styles is a must-have, then ask questions that gauge their passions, motivations, and soft skills:

  • Do you prefer to be client-facing or internal?
  • What kind of projects excite you?
  • Are you comfortable working directly with our c-suite?

If the conversation reveals alignment with the attributes checklist, then it’s time to talk compensation and start date availability. Good architects are in high demand – they can afford to charge premium rates and have the luxury of choosing projects. It won’t bode well to drag out the process only for them to find out expectations don’t align.

2. Perform an in-depth technical review

At this stage of the architect vetting process, the following has been successfully confirmed:

  1. The person presents as a strong fit – both culturally and technically.
  2. Compensation expectations will be met.
  3. Hours per week and start date.

Now it’s time to verify the granular details of the architect’s technical expertise. Asking technical questions specific to the architect’s skill set will determine if they’re adept.

A common tool is a skills assessment guide. Choose 4-5 must-have skills to validate that are specific to the project work, and outline questions that will confirm if the person has those skills. It’s important to make these questions consistent to effectively compare candidates against the same criteria. Also, it helps to partner with someone who has technical knowledge and can verify the person’s answers. Here are a few examples:

  • How comfortable are you with documenting solutions and technical designs?
  • The goal of this project is to implement an Experience Cloud Community. Tell me about how you would handle requirements that are leading towards a very complicated security and sharing model?
  • In terms of designing an integration, what are some key factors/requirements you are listening for to help decide the best path?
  • Tell me about a time you had to design and describe a complex solution with nontechnical stakeholders?

Final Thoughts

Before engaging, interviewing, and vetting a Salesforce Architect, it’s essential to start with internal stakeholder buy-in – they need to be involved in recruitment strategy from the onset. As a team, outline project-specific business objectives (is the goal to migrate and restructure data, automate a process, or implement a new cloud?) and expectations for the role (hours needed to get the job done, compensation, stakeholder communication protocol, etc.). This process will help find the best-fit architect everyone will be eager to work with.

Architect talent demand is hot. A streamlined vetting process guarantees a better shot at engaging and partnering with top Salesforce Architects. The Salesforce talent community is tight-knit, as well as vocal, and a positive interview experience makes all the difference in attracting top talent.

The Author

Kristin Langlois

Kristin is the Chief Talent Officer at 10K.

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