Salesforce Architect Interview Questions & Answers
If you are looking to make a leap to the next level within the Salesforce ecosystem, there is a good chance your targeted role includes the word “architect”. It is a position that a lot of folks aspire to obtain, yet the path can also be quite ambiguous when trying to put together a career plan. This is made slightly more unclear by the fact that there are two very distinct architect roles, namely Solution Architect and Technical Architect.
Before we investigate common interview questions, we need to differentiate between these two job functions. Both a Solution Architect and a Technical Architect will need to possess a strong understanding of concepts for delivering an excellent user experience. They will both be responsible for designing solutions that are scalable and sustainable. And they will have vast experience with both on the Salesforce platform
The main differences will likely come from where your domain expertise lies. A Solution Architect usually has knowledge and experience within the way a business operates. This often materializes as an understanding of common challenges in the industry, best practices for business processes unrelated to Salesforce, or even work experience as an “end user”. On the other hand, a Technical Architect will most often have a background in technology beyond just Salesforce. This includes things like leading developers on an agile technical implementation and building integrations between tools, which require a more advanced knowledge of coding, technical tools, etc.
A final point to mention regarding the positions is that Salesforce certifications do not by themselves qualify you for either. If you have earned Application Architect status, you will not necessarily have the experiential knowledge required to succeed as a Solution Architect. If you have passed the grueling Certified Technical Architect evaluation, while you likely have years of deep experience with Salesforce, the certification alone is also probably not enough to succeed as a Technical Architect. Obtaining a position as an architect will be a multi-year endeavor if you are just starting out, so be intentional about the roles and opportunities you are taking in the time leading up to making the leap!
For both Solution and Technical Architect positions, you can expect your common behavioral or cultural questions, usually from a recruiter or someone that might not be responsible for validating your expertise with the Salesforce platform. For both, you might also be required to complete a case study to demonstrate your understanding of out-of-the-box solutions versus when it is appropriate to get creative.
- Here are a few things to keep an eye out for when completing a case study:
- If you are provided specific requirements, build it in a free Developer Org. The hiring team may tell you this is not necessary, but folks overwhelmingly prefer hands-on learning over someone verbalizing theoretical ideas at them for an hour.
- If you are provided with vague requirements, prioritize building it in a free Developer Org. If parts of it just are not possible without more information, a simple proof of concept may aid you in conveying the different options for solving any given requirement.
- Look out for organizations seeking free consulting or solutions. On occasion, you may be presented with an ultra-specific issue that seems unique to a single client. If you get that sense, it probably is, and it would be a good time to question if the organization is the right fit.
- Do not be afraid about being right or wrong. Often you have an extremely limited amount of time to address the requirements provided, so interviewers are not expecting perfect solutions. They want to see that you can design a cohesive tool and if they do end up poking holes in your suggested build while reviewing it live, that you can think on your feet to address issues and make enhancements.
Ultimately, a case study may not be part of the interview process. My personal perspective is that if a case study is part of the process, you have some validation that the coworkers you will be joining have passed the same level of challenge as you, thus giving additional confidence in the quality of the team’s skill and experience. If there is no case study, you might benefit from a little more in-depth analysis on your end, like talking to current or former employees or reviewing projects that have been completed by the organization.
With that, here are a few sample questions for each role specifically, as well as what an interviewer might be looking for in an answer:
Solution Architect Q&A
Tell me about a time when your proposed solution was not well received by your client, users, or team?
With your answer, it would be important to demonstrate an ability to adapt, not taking negative feedback personal, and perhaps relying on the team around you to get to an acceptable solution.
Provide an example of a solution you are really proud of.
Let the creative juices flow with your answer - this is an opportunity to show off!
How do you evaluate when to use an out-of-the-box solution vs. a custom solution?
The answer to this question often depends on what value a buyer puts on marginal enhancements. If someone has a lot of spending cash and really cares about something specific, custom might be suitable. But in several use cases, you can get 95% of the way to the desired state without customization, so it might not pay off to do so especially given that Salesforce iterates on its own features, not custom features.
What measures do you take to ensure your designs are scalable?
This is pretty open-ended depending on what you have worked on in the past, but the idea is that you should describe the measures you have taken for your solutions to work with 1 user or 1000, or 1 record or 1 million.
What measures do you take to ensure your designs are easily maintained?
Similar to above, this will depend on specific work you have done, but will involve things like referencing Custom Settings or Metadata for business logic instead of requiring updates directly to Flows or Apex. The goal is to show that something an architect designed and built does not require an architect or developer to perform regular maintenance.
Technical Architect Q&A
What does an ideal technical implementation look like operationally?
Use a question like this to demonstrate your knowledge of different methodologies like waterfall, agile, or adaptive - and specifically, how your client’s Salesforce experience going in can impact how you perform discovery, sprint, demo, deliver, and iterate.
What was the most clever or useful integration you have supported?
Another opportunity to show off - stress your creativity and any complexities here!
What are the benefits and drawbacks of different integration architectures like messaging, middleware, or event-driven?
This is a fairly “textbook” question, meaning that there are generally accepted right and wrong answers (think Salesforce’s Integration Architect certification). Brush up on your knowledge in advance!
What is your approach to delivering solutions for simple requirements that do not require code, but could be coded?
This philosophy also likely depends on the individual client’s preferences and resources, even though most architects will have their own opinion here. Demonstrating flexibility for clients with a strong opinion is important, but you also should have a well-informed recommendation for clients that may be unsure.
What is your approach to proactively identifying and addressing product issues?
Proactive is better - meaning, have you built things like a custom error log that inserts a row with details any time there is a fault in a Flow or an exception caught in your code? Do you have a means to review and resolve the issues that appear in the log? In short, if you wait for end users to identify bugs, you are not setting yourself apart from other candidates.
These questions are obviously not an exhaustive list, but hopefully give you an idea of what to expect. A final important piece to note is that if you are not getting these types of challenging inquiries, it can be a red flag about how serious the organization is with their Salesforce project or identifying where a prospective candidate might need support. No single individual is an expert in 100% of the possibilities that Salesforce offers, so a quality employer will be documenting your areas of weakness to augment your skillset with additional resources or learning opportunities.