Robeela Ali 2022-08-04T14:59:06+00:00

Salesforce Job Seeker Case Study: Robeela Ali (Candidate Background)

Salesforce Job SeekerToday we want to share Robeela Ali‘s story of working with Resource on Demand to develop her Salesforce career.

Before developing a new career within the Salesforce ecosystem, Robeela had worked in the media and advertising world for Time Inc.

In this case study, Robeela shares her experience going from being a Salesforce champion as her media company introduced Salesforce as their new CRM to developing her career working with Salesforce.

An Overview of Robeela’s Career to date

Sharon: I understand that you have worked with the team at Resource On Demand on several occasions. I’m intrigued about how you initially became aware of ROD and what took you back a second time?

Before we get into that detail, it’d be lovely if you could share with our readers your background.

Robeela: Many years ago, I worked in media advertising. This was before I came on to the dark side as such. The company I was working for then implemented a new CRM system: Salesforce.

Being a large organisation, they needed people to champion the new CRM and do the training once it was implemented. Before that, they needed people to transform from one system to another.

They had their own IT department and were keen to have champions and leaders who would be able to promote the new CRM system to the rest of the company; After all, it was a media and not an IT company.

In those days, we didn’t have many IT supremos or much experience using systems that well. That’s why they needed people to be able to promote it and push it in such a way that it would be an asset as opposed to a hindrance because adoption is difficult at the best of times.

That’s what they were looking for, and where I came in, and I volunteered.

I said, “Hey, guys, I really like this, and I’d like to volunteer to do this.” As it turned out, I quit advertising and widely worked on the training and adoption of Salesforce across the company. That’s how Salesforce entered my life.

Then, once that particular project was over, I decided I didn’t want to go back into advertising anymore. I like Salesforce and the ecosystem, so I left that particular company and then went on to find my first job in Salesforce.

Sharon: What about the Salesforce ecosystems were so attractive then?

Robeela: For me, it was simplicity. In those days, we used a system in the advertising world called Maxim and Business Objects. It was incredibly clunky. It was down quite a lot, and it was not user-friendly.

With Salesforce, the journey was a lot simpler, and visually it was much nicer to look at, and the adoption was easy. People bought into much quicker.

Sharon: You sound like a great advocate; To be honest, people are passionate about Salesforce as a service and product. I think we probably all can relate to what you are saying.

As you have built your career, what has been your experience working with other recruitment companies, and how have they assisted you or not in finding the right role for yourself?

Robeela: The first company I worked with was one of the bigger recruitment companies with a team working within Salesforce. Sometimes larger companies can be quite aggressive in how they pitch you.

They listen to you, but they’re not listening to you, if that makes sense?

It was like, this is who you are and what you can do. We’ve got 15 jobs that we can put you forward for. They literally put you forward for everything, whether it’s suitable for you or not, or even if it’s relevant to your particular skill set.

I didn’t know what was involved in this because I didn’t know. It was my first experience with recruitment agencies within that sector; I assumed this was normal.

Sharon: You don’t know what you don’t know sometimes, do you?

Robeela: Absolutely. Sometimes a bad experience is a good experience because you know what to avoid. Do you know what I mean?

Sharon: Absolutely, yes.

Robeela: As it turned out, it was an entry-level role I was going for as a junior Salesforce administrator. That was good because it put me where I wanted to be. It was the first step into the beginning of my career. They sent me to a company that, again, I just thought, “Oh, is a nice young company; they were very exciting, they sounded very exciting, they got me excited saying things like, “This is the place to be.”

I didn’t appreciate that the recruitment company also sent me for interviews just because they needed to send people for interviews to show this company that they had multiple candidates when they knew perfectly well that I would never get this job because I wasn’t suitable for it.

Again, it was my first experience, so I didn’t know.

Sharon: So what happened?

At the end of that process, I was offered two positions and had to decide which one to go with. My experience with this particular recruitment company is that their advice was to go with whichever one pays them the greatest commission. Both jobs were from the same company, and I found it quite uncomfortable because the two consultants argued amongst themselves about who found me first. They wanted their commission from me, and why am I even considering the other job?

I found that a little bit underhanded and unnecessary, as in, hang on, I’m the applicant here. Why am I being involved in your company politics?

Anyway, as it turned out, I went to a company that was not necessarily the best for my career. In hindsight, every job you have leads you to your next post, and every job you have gives you a level of experience that you build and develop to go on to your next role.

Had I chosen the other company, I probably would’ve had a different level of experience, and maybe I would’ve been in a different area, but I always look back and think that was meant to be.

They taught me quite a few things, and I learned a lot from them. As an entry role, I was grateful for them giving me the opportunity as the job was instrumental in launching my career.

Sharon: So what was your next step Robeela?

From there, I then went on to work for another company. The first one was an SI partner. The second one was an end customer. Again, it was from the same recruitment consultancy. However, I was a little wiser this time, and I ensured I was in control.

I didn’t go to them. I found the position, and it just happened to be with them. I was very firm and said, “I only want to go for this position. Please do not put me forward for anything else. This is all I want.” They put me forward for it, and I got the job on the first interview.

Again, my learning there was that it’s okay to be firm, and it’s okay to say to a recruitment consultant what you want and not be afraid of saying what you want. I think that my experience was that if I tell them this is the only position that I want and please don’t put me forward for anything else, they won’t put me forward for the particular role that I had applied for.

Again, I learned from that as well, and I also learned how to control the number of calls or people calling me about the same job. It’s one job, and only one person can fit it. There’s no point in seeing different recruitment consultants for the same job because, regardless, you’re going to one company and having one interview with one person.

I learned to be firm in that as well. I had no idea how big this particular sector was. I had no idea how diverse it was, so the whole thing was a massive learning curve.

Sharon: It is great to be clear about what you want and take ownership and manage the process. You went in initially as a system administrator, so this was a step up.

Robeela: My first role was a sys admin, but it was for an SI partner. Then it was the same role but an end-user this time.

However, now I am really grateful to Lee at ROD because he is responsible for my career, and I will hand on my heart tell anybody when you find someone that you trust with your career, allow them to give you advice because that advice will be to your benefit. It took me a long time to find Lee and the Resource on Demand team. I would not trust anybody else with my career.

Sharon: That is incredibly powerful to hear you say that.

How did you come across Lee?

Robeela: When working for an SI partner, you are not working on one organisation. You are working on several organisations, sometimes in parallel; regardless of the volume of work you are doing, you never really get to know that particular organisation well.

When I moved to the end-user, I got to know that organisation inside out. I knew every nuance about it. There wasn’t anything that I did not know, and the buck stopped with me. I was responsible for it, so I knew every single piece of code. I knew everything, every record.

However, after two years, you become a bit stale where you think, “I know everything about this org, I know all their ecosystems, I know everything. How can I make my life a little bit more exciting? I know. I’ll talk to a recruitment consultant and see what they have available.”

I called Lee and was like; Look, I’m not looking to move. I’m not in a hurry; I want to see what’s around, and I don’t want to work for a consultancy because I never get to know a Company Org and want to know them properly. I want to understand them better because that’s how I can best do my job.

He said, “No, Robeela, you can get to know an org better, you can do your job, and you can have the variety that an end-user doesn’t give you,” which happens after a couple of years.

Sharon: Of course. When you work with a consultancy that allows you to be more embedded and know more, consultancies are different, aren’t they?

Robeela: They are different. The variety of work you get can give you the fulfilment you require depending on your project. You can be on a project for five years; you can be on a project for five months. The larger the company, the more flexibility you have in what you want to do and where you want to go, whereas there is only one place to go with an end-user. I think Lee opened my eyes there.

It took him about six months, and I’m truly grateful. I wouldn’t say that I’d never work for an end-user, but I think that the experience working for a consultancy has given me, particularly a large consultancy, is priceless. It’s opened up different avenues. It’s developed my skill set in areas where I wouldn’t have even dreamed of excelling. This consultancy, my current consultancy, has managed to get me, or rather, I have qualified in eight certifications in three months.

Then they said, “Well, hang on. You’ve got an additional skill set here,” They then encouraged me to do Microsoft Azure, in which I am now certified, which can only enhance my experience and where I go.

Again, this goes back to Lee. I’ll stop saying Lee; I’ll start saying your recruiter that you trust because it’s not just Lee; it’s whoever I deal with on the Resource on Demand team.

If you have a recruiter that you trust, a good recruiter will not just look at you as who you are as a person and your CV. They will look at; the previous work that you have done; they will look at where you can develop; look at you as an individual, your personality, your characteristics, and then match you with what’s out there.

As individuals, we’re often blinkered as in, “This is what I do, this is what I’m good at. Don’t you dare take me off this particular train.”

Sharon: It’s like saying this is my comfort zone.

Robeela: Yes. This is my comfort zone, and don’t even think about taking myself out of it because I don’t know how to do all these things.

A good recruiter will take you out of your little box and say, “Think outside of your box and look at these opportunities that you didn’t even think you could do, and look what it opens up.”

I think it’s trusting your Salesforce recruiter. I think it’s finding that person first. Once you find that person, never let them go. Just hold onto them.

Also, a good recruiter will periodically call you to see how you are doing. Then after a period that is subjective to you and them, they will start making recommendations, but they work at your pace; They don’t work at their pace.

With ROD, it’s not like the first consultancy I went to, where it was a numbers game; this is about you. This is about developing you, finding your niche, and then developing that niche. I think there’s a degree of satisfaction that they get out of that as well, that they find incredibly rewarding, and that they put someone in a position that fits all their criteria and requirements.

Sharon: Obviously, you think highly of Lee. Am I right in thinking that more recently, you’ve also worked with Shaylina, who is part of the team as well?

Robeela: Yes, Shaylina. We get on really well because we are the same people, almost, with the same personality and characteristics. I think that it’s, for me, it’s not Lee, it’s not Shaylina, it’s Resource On Demand.

Sharon: Yes. It’s the team. It’s the way that they work.

Robeela: Yes, it’s the ROD team, and the team knows me, I know the team, and more importantly, there is that trust element. When someone calls you up and says, “Look, I think you should consider this.” When you trust that person, you then consider it, which is what happened with my current role, and the position I’m about to start in it’s about the trust element.

Thinking of the company I’m currently with, I would never have dreamed, in a million years, that I would ever be working for a firm like this.

ROD has excelled in helping me every single time. I wouldn’t have ever imagined that I would develop to where I am at the moment at such an early stage in my career.

Sharon: Well, it’s funny because two things come to mind. One is having a career partner, someone you get to know and who takes the time to listen and understand you. Secondly, because they know the ecosystem so well and have a network both in the consultancy and the end-user side, they have a sense of what businesses and culture would be a good
fit for you.

They’re almost able to chart a path and sometimes a path that you don’t necessarily, as you were describing, dream of or see for yourself.

What’s important is that over time, as you grow and develop, you’ve got someone saying, “You could reach for this now. You could do this. This would offer you some of what you’re describing. I think it’s time to consider this.”

To put your trust in someone to do that is very powerful.

Robeela: It is, yes. I am the type of person that will always put myself down. I always feel that someone else is always more experienced than me. I always am that person that is, oh my God, I don’t think I have the ability or the skill set for the particular role that sometimes I’m being put forward for.

I think that Shaylina and Lee have brought the best out in me and given me the confidence to do it, and here I am. Where I never imagined myself to be. I never imagined myself to be an authority, speaking even in this forum.

What are some key things that make the way Lee and Shaylina work stand out?

Robeela: I think someone recognises your ability and helps you release that confidence to believe in yourself. Sometimes we’re all guilty of not having the ability to believe in ourselves as in; I don’t think I’m capable of doing the roles that sometimes people put me forward towards. I think that’s what they’re very good at; identifying people’s skill set and matching it to a particular role.

What Lee and Shaylina do, is building that confidence and not just sell you the company. It matches your skill set to that particular role.

Believing that you are the right candidate for that particular role gives you that confidence. That confidence comes out in many ways. It doesn’t just come out in the words that you say. It’s the persona, and it’s how you present yourself.

Sharon: Yes, absolutely. If you’ve got that real belief that this is the right role for me and I am the right one, then that will get communicated in multiple ways. Whether you’re on a camera like this or face to face?

Robeela: One of the rare things I’ve noticed about ROD is that they’re not a recruitment consultancy. They’re more than that. They know the technical side of each job, so it’s almost like they’re the interviewers. They know what’s required of the position. They know Salesforce. They know the Salesforce ecosystem so they can support you.

More importantly, they can do role plays with you, which sometimes is important. Sometimes, when you get a brief, they can help you answer it. I’m not saying that they’re technical experts or anything like that, but they know what they’re doing, so they can support you with some questions, not just on the recruitment side. They can support you on what Salesforce is about, the emerging technologies, and where it’s going.

ROD are really on top. They do their research on market developments. That’s really important as well.

What do you think, in your experience, are some things the Resource On Demand team does to help employers change their perceptions and ideas of who the right fit might be for them?

Sharon: Sometimes, I imagine employers look at CVs and make judgments based on what they are reading. However, when you have a recruiter like Lee, Shaylina, Nick or anyone on the Resource on Demand team when say, “this is why this particular candidate is a better fit”, even though, at first glance, their CV might not match the client’s initial perception of what they should be looking for can be of huge value.

I wonder what thoughts you have around that?

Robeela: That’s a really interesting question. I would say that it’s about relationships and experience. When we started this conversation, my first experience was with one of the companies whose focus is interview filling.

Whereas I think that with ROD, the trust is not just with their candidates; it is with their clients. I would imagine that their clients know that when anyone from ROD puts a candidate forward, they will be relevant with the appropriate skill set that matches their roles.

I’ve been on the other end where I’ve done interviews at my existing company where they sent candidates to me, and that candidate ticks every box. I think that trust is the key here. ROD’s clients know they’re not going to send someone just to fill their slot, as in, “Oh, you’ve got five slots. We’ll take in three and just put anyone forward.” They know that the candidate they will send will be able to do that job successfully and meet all their expectations.

The difference here is that they aren’t afraid of not putting a candidate forward, so they don’t ruin their reputation. I believe that they’re very confident in saying, “We don’t have anybody at the moment, so we’re not going to put anyone forward,” and maintain their reputation as opposed to, “Oh, we’ll just put someone forward anyway, even though that we know they aren’t suitable for this job.” I think that’s what makes them stand out.

Sharon: That’s an interesting point. It’s about doing the right thing for the client, doing the right thing for the candidate, and having that confidence to say, “Right now, there isn’t that ideal person for you,” knowing that at some point, they will come across the ideal candidate.

Robeela: When they do, their customers know that it’s only a matter of time before they’ll find someone, and when they put someone forward, they are confident that this will be the suitable candidate for them.

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