August 2021

As we as a culture become more and more intertwined with technology, companies who may not have experience in sourcing tech talent are facing the challenge of setting the appropriate budget and defining the necessary responsibilities in their search for qualified talent. We offer companies insight into how to hire for the teams they need to meet their objectives.

When is Someone Considered Senior Talent?

The short answer is: it depends.

As nice as it would be for companies across the globe to agree on what exact criteria make for a senior level employee, this has never been the case in any industry, let alone one as diverse as tech. A mix of many factors determine what qualifies a senior level role for a company, industry, or a tech professional. Each group values weighs and measures responsibility and abilities differently.

The six factors separating senior talent from entry-level:

  • Certifications
  • Years of Experience
  • Project History
  • Network Value
  • Work Ethic
  • Culture Fit

Sheldon Simmons has a straightforward measurement for Salesforce specifically: "two years of experience and two relevant certifications." This amount of real-world experience indicates that the skilled professional has gone through a few cycles within their industry and has learned to apply their knowledge and training to organizational needs. 

Also within this time, they will have identified what responsibilities about their roles they have enjoyed and what parts they would move away from in their ideal role. Whether they choose the specialist path or the generalist, their value to an organization or a project is discernable based on real evidence of performance.  The exposure to workplace politics, an art and a science in balance, has allowed them to learn interpersonal diplomacy and communication that comes from experience and adaptation, in tandem with development of a personal brand.

Advice to Hiring Managers in Tech

Jennifer Lee describes a recent survey of Salesforce Administrators to determine the top skills needed in ideal tech talent.

  • 30% Communication
  • 24% Problem Solving
  • 21% Technical Ability

This recognition sets apart good candidates from great talent who will deliver better results more consistently.

Look for additional skills that supplement the skill you're hiring for.

Someone resourceful with a creative and growth-oriented mindset is inherently more valuable as a candidate than someone who remains stagnant in their skills development. New team members will be interfacing with other stakeholders within the company, so their ability to understand business processes on a more intricate level will reduce friction and increase fluidity in team communication.

When Jennifer was hiring her team, she asked of interviewers "what is your favorite feature of Salesforce and why?" This information revealed how up to date the candidate's knowledge of the platform was and spoke to their eagerness to learn. 

Enter a hiring process with a strategy.

As a hiring manager, whether for a large organization or a small one, whether for project-based work or full-time employment, there must be an agreed-upon description of exactly what the company needs in their talent. Brigette Sjoboen's advice: hire to scale if you want your end results to be effective.

  • Don't position the team under a Sales umbrella
  • Do research to know how competitive the salary is or should be (most companies undervalue a position by over 30%)
  • Market your open roles optimally for the intended target
  • Know your budget limits and flexibilities
  • Decide on the value of experience vs formal training for the position (for mid-level and above, focus on experience)
  • Ask your network for a recommendation

Don't look for senior-level talent at junior-level rates

Hire for the abilities you need rather than expecting someone without adequate abilities to figure things out as they go. You will be setting the new hire up for failure in a role they cannot possibly fulfill to offer deliverables that are likely to be sub-par. To build a team that performs quality work and achieves the desired objectives, be prepared to pay a fair salary for the responsibilities involved. Consider the value added to the organization and the consequences of poor work. 

History of Organizational Employment

While this is not necessarily an indicator of technical skills, enterprise-level experience speaks to a candidate's ability to communicate effectively within a large organization or on a team within a department. A proven track record of collaborating to administer tasks at a large scale adds value to a candidate's marketability under the right circumstances, but can detract from value for smaller teams wherein everyone "wears many hats." 

Within the Salesforce community in particular, enterprise-level experience is often an indicator of a professional's capacity to implement complex Salesforce customizations and trust in other team members' abilities. 

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