No doubt CRM powerhouse Salesforce has captured the imagination not only of everyone in the cloud computing industry but also people far afield of the business world. For example, just this week, US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called out the company for its proactive policies on equal pay in the workforce. 

And it’s no accident that Salesforce is one of the highest rated large employers on Glassdoor. It makes an effort to find and hire the right employees. Recently, to augment that endeavor it turned its external training program, Trailhead, inward to give hiring managers insight on how to onboard employees the Salesforce way. Other companies could also benefit by following these processes. The following is based on a Salesforce training deck.

Putting Yourself in the Place of Interviewee

Like any great place work, Salesforce is only good as its employees. Hiring the right people is the first step toward building a great company. And learning how to effectively interview candidates is where the hiring process begins.

To ask effective interview questions, it helps to put yourself in the shoes of the interviewee, according to Salesforce. Think about the most unusual question you have ever been asked as a job interviewee. Did it catch you offguard? Was your response impromptu and unrehearsed? Getting the most candid and relevant information from an interviewee requires that she moves out of her “comfort zone.”

Unusual job interview questions provide insight into the thinking process of candidates and can reveal if they fit the culture of Salesforce.

It helps to reflect back on your personal recruiting experience at Salesforce, the company says. What unusual questions were you asked? Were you asked, “If you were a plant, what care instructions would you come with?,” which is one potential leftfield question Salesforce lists on its blog.

Because Salesforce cares so much about its culture of Ohana (which means “family” in Hawaiian), it would rather take the time to find the right person then regret hiring the wrong one over the long haul.

Lead the Interview Process and Depend on Others

On a football team, there can only be one quarterback. In the Salesforce interview process, the quarterback is the hiring manager.

While Salesforce does not expect all its hiring managers to be Joe Montanas with four Super Bowl wins to their credit, most can be Trent Dilfer, an efficient Big Game manager bolstered by effective support players.

As the quarterback of a Salesforce hiring team, managers should always keep an eye out for new draft picks (i.e., talent). So they should go to college bowl games (e.g., startup events), check the transaction wire (i.e., see who’s working for the competition on LinkedIn) and so on.

Recruiters and others on the Salesforce talent management team do a lot to source new personnel, but Salesforce feels it helps if hiring managers give them leads. Working together, Salesforce hiring managers and their offensive line of HR partners can move the ball down the field and score in the endzone of employee success. But let’s get serious for a second. Here are the steps to the Salesforce recruiting process:
•    Recruiters conduct screening of candidates, keeping hiring managers in the loop
•    Managers use a tool called Talentforce to review resumes and provide feedback
•    Managers identify interviewers on their teams who:
o        Know the position best
o        Have previous interviewing experience
o        Provide diverse perspectives based on role, function, etc. (at least two)
•    Managers define who will cover which job competencies
•    Managers ensure a consistent candidate experience
•    Managers meet quickly with their team post interview to integrate candidate information—same day if possible

Next: Preparation and structuring interviews