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Own Your Onsite Interview

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Learn what to expect during the interview process.
  • Identify best practices for acing your interview.

What to Expect During the Interview

At Salesforce we use your onsite interview as an opportunity for you to connect with a number of different engineers. That way you can ask all the questions you might have about how we work, and we can make sure we’re getting a 360-degree view of you as a person and a potential member of our team. 

On the day of your interviews, you meet with at least four different people. This gives you the chance to see a variety of perspectives on the role you’re interviewing for and helps us make sure we’re hiring inclusively. Expect to have three interviews with different engineers and one lunch interview with the hiring manager. We ask that you block out the entire day for us so that we can spend as much time getting to know each other as we need. 

Each interviewer will ask you both behavioral and technical questions. These might be similar to the ones you encountered during the technical screening, but since you are onsite and were trying to discover whether we’re going to work well together, these are more in-depth than those in the earlier screening. 

Salesforce candidate doing an in-person interview.

At Salesforce, we look for culture “adds,” not culture “fits.” As part of our dedication to building a workplace that reflects society and bringing in diverse perspectives, we’ve taken care to design behavioral questions and scenarios that help you express the success attributes you bring to the role for which you’re applying. The behavioral questions are designed to help you communicate what you value, how you think and collaborate, and the ways that you solve problems. 

For the technical portion of these interviews, expect to be on a whiteboard with every person you meet. While the remote programming test is your opportunity to show what you can do on your own, the whiteboard portion of the onsite interviews is your opportunity to show what you can do in the moment. 

Think of your onsite interviews like showing off your culinary skills on a nationally televised cooking competition. It’s your chance to show off your best skills, in real time. It’s a fun, high-pressure situation. On the flip side, the remote programming test is more like a four-star chef working alone in their test kitchen—it’s a controlled environment where you get to carefully prepare your dish. Bottom line: Prepare to take things up a notch during your onsite interviews. 

Because we’re interested in giving you the best idea possible of what life at Salesforce is like, we also sometimes add or substitute interviewers midstream based on your interaction with the panel. This is to test your ability to adapt, but it’s also because in the collaborative culture we value here, we’re looking for people who are open to interaction and who can explain what they’re doing and why they are doing it. 

Each interviewer leaves time at the end of the interview for you to ask questions about our teams and Salesforce culture. Remember, this part of the process is a two-way experience. While we want to evaluate whether your hard and soft skills are a good match for Salesforce, we also want to give you ample opportunity to evaluate whether our Salesforce community fits with your personal and career goals. 

Prep Tips to Nail Your Onsite Interview

After you complete the virtual screening and impress the recruiters with your remote programming test, you’re ready for the final step of the interview process. It’s your time to really shine, and in order to do that, make sure you are prepared to rock this day of interviews and real-time tests. Here are some tips to help you get ready. 

  • Do your research. Make sure to look up all your interviewers on LinkedIn. Do an online search to find recent publications or conference presentations. Write down a question or two that is specific to the interviewer to demonstrate that you’ve done your research.
  • Identify your strengths. How can you best represent your working style? Practice discussing your individual and team strengths. Make sure you can explain how you’ve worked through school or workplace challenges. Be ready to talk about why your skills and experiences are an asset to the role.
  • Be your authentic self. At Salesforce we believe that everyone should be able to bring their full, authentic self to work. Tell us about yourself and how our values or culture resonates with you.
  • Get to know Salesforce. Salesforce is a dynamic workplace, so do your research about our teams and our products, and be prepared to talk about what career trajectory you’d like to pursue if you join us.
  • Get ready to code. You will be asked to write code in real-time on a whiteboard during your interview, so if you haven’t written code recently, we strongly recommend Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell as a refresher of the kinds of questions we like to ask.
  • Dress for success. Our dress code is casual, but check with your recruiter to confirm the appropriate attire.
  • Narrate, narrate, narrate. The whiteboarding challenges are your opportunity to show off your problem-solving skills. But your interviewers are not mind readers! Practice thinking out loud while you solve unfamiliar problems, and make sure you can narrate your decisions for your interviewers. Ask your interviewers for clarification if you don’t understand a question and feel free to take the time you need with responses.

Salesforce candidate whiteboarding during the technical portion of their interview.

Let’s Sum It Up

Congrats—you made it through the engineering interview process. By now you have a solid understanding of what the process is and how best to succeed at it. The only thing left is to go do it! So, do your research to help you rock the technical screening; prep to impress on the remote programming test; practice the kinds of questions you can expect to see; and prepare to shine during your onsite interviews. We can’t wait to see what kind of coding and communication skills you can bring as we continue to grow our company and serve our customers and communities.