THIS POST IS AIMED IN-HOUSE HR OR TALENT ACQUISITION STAFF, RECRUITING SALESFORCE TALENT FOR THE FIRST TIME. Sep 2019.
Recruiting Salesforce developers in the current labour market is tough. You’re likely searching online and pushing ads to various job-boards. You may not have a relevant network but you ask them anyway. Yet you still come up empty-handed. Does that mean you’re out of luck?
Not necessarily. There are options to find talent outside of the current Salesforce developer pool. Java Developers, in particular, are worth considering. They’re much more numerous, and have directly transferable skills to the Salesforce development realm.
They may also come in under-budget if they’re motivated to make a change. Once you can get your hiring managers on board, and withs a good training structure in place, hiring from this talent pool could be a real option to grow your Salesforce team.
Before we explain this why detail, let’s quickly survey the state of the talent market.
Two Ways To Think About Recruiting Salesforce Developers
Let’s start by recognizing some marketplace realities. Java development is much larger than Salesforce development as a career niche. When we consult LinkedIn’s database (data as of July 2019), we can see the talent difference even more sharply. In Ireland and the UK, Java developers outnumber Salesforce developers considerably.
- Java developers: over 18,000
- Salesforce developers: over 5,000 (though the actual number is closer to 1500)
- Java Developers: over 90,000
- Salesforce developer: over 68,000 (again, a large overestimation by Linkedin search)
LinkedIn is not a comprehensive database of all Salesforce developers (and the numbers are very far off being representative of qualified professionals), but it does highlight patterns in this talent market.
A simple reading of that data would suggest that recruiting Salesforce Developers for your company is going to be that bit more difficult given current demand. That’s not necessarily the case however. You can find other developers with transferable skills in different technologies (Java!) and transition them to Salesforce development.
How exactly do Java skills transfer to Salesforce Development?
Specifically, there are four reasons you should look at Java developers to fill your Salesforce roles. First, there are significant similarities in how Java classes and Apex classes work. Apex is the programming language used for Salesforce. Second, Apex and Java are both object-oriented programming languages. That means programmers fluent in one language will have a good starting point for working in another language. Third, Java and Apex are both commonly used for web applications, which means that developers in both areas are fluent with the challenges in developing for the Internet. Fourth, significant parts of the Salesforce platform itself was created in Java. For these reasons, a Java developer will have a good foundation to learn Salesforce development. Add to that the high growth projections for Salesforce talent in the next five years, and it may not be such a hard sell for your internal TA team.
Determining If A Java Developer Can Graduate to Salesforce Development Work
IN HER BESTSELLING BOOK “MINDSET,” CAROL DWECK OUTLINES TWO WAYS THAT PEOPLE TEND TO THINK ABOUT THE WORLD: FIXED OR GROWTH.
Some simple steps can compliment your talent attraction efforts. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Making the leap from one skill set to another is always tough. Some technical professionals strongly identify with their chosen focus. Persuading them to make a move to a different field is going to hold challenges for them and your team. Assessing whether a Java developer is a good fit to transition to Salesforce could be viewed from a psychological perspective, bearing in mind the Person-job fit approach.
(PJ fit refers to the congruence between the abilities of a person and the demands of their job (Edwards, 1991)).
In her bestselling book “Mindset,” Carol Dweck outlines two ways that people tend to think about the world: fixed or growth.
According to Dweck, a fixed mindset means “[you] believe their talents are innate gifts).” With this outlook on the world, children and adults assume that their abilities, including the critical capability to learn, are relatively fixed. If you’ve ever said that you’re “just not a maths person,” such a comment suggests you may be operating from a fixed mindset. If you recruit a Java developer with a fixed mindset, they are unlikely to transition to Salesforce development smoothly.
On the other hand, a growth mindset means you look at the world in different terms. As Dweck writes: “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset.” You may not be able to learn and do everything. However, you can learn and grow substantially. You focus on effort. You persevere through problems and challenges.
How To Use Dweck’s Mindset Insight To Recruit Flexible Developers
To apply Dweck’s insight requires the right interviewing approach.
We recommend asking about how they have addressed professional development challenges in the past. Ask about side projects the developer may have been involved with as a contributor or creator. Ask how they learned new versions of Java. If possible, find out how they surmounted a new professional or technical skill barrier in their career. Together, these answers will help you to understand if they bring a growth mindset worldview to their career.
The attitude and behavior of the manager plays an important role in helping the transition. Ask the manager to reflect on their history of developing people. What strategies have they used to help your people to develop new skills? Do they need training for their new task of aiding a transition?
Alternatively, they might be able to pair a new hire with an experienced Salesforce developer already on the team. With the right development plan, you can have a flourishing Salesforce developer on your hands in a matter of months.
Finding Java developers with an interest in transitioning to Salesforce development is not going to be easy, but it is achievable if you are struggling to find Salesforce talent with the exact skills your hiring managers need. Not all suitable candidates for the transition are actively exploring other technologies, so incorporating this approach in Job-advertisements could be considered. This could be achieved by something as simple as “Java developer to Salesforce developer” as one job title, instead of simply “Salesforce developer”. Be sure to follow up with details in the first paragraph.
Finsearch is a specialist in Salesforce recruitment, with a deep database of the best Salesforce development and current market knowledge.
Contact us today to discuss your Salesforce recruitment plans.
Carol Dweck. “What Having a ‘Growth Mindset’ Actually Means.” Harvard Business Review, January 13 2016
Gary P. Latham. “The motivational benefits of goal-setting.” Academy of Management Executive, 2004.
Kiril Anastasov, Java vs Apex 5 Key Points, LinkedIn, August 27, 2018.
Edwards, J.R. (1991). Person-job fit: a conceptual integration, literature review and methodological critique. International Review of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, 6, 283-357.