Salesforce certifications are a huge part of the ecosystem.
Consulting companies go after certified Salesforce professionals to boost their partner status with Salesforce. Job applicants use certs to signal to companies that they know about the platform.
So if certifications have some value, then why wouldn't hiring managers want their applicants to have every certification under the sun?
Let me set the context
Salesforce boasts there'll be more than 4 million jobs in the ecosystem by 2024. On top of that, they say the average Salesforce professional will make around $80,000 per year.
Their marketing claims that anyone can be a Salesforce professional if they put their mind to it.
That value proposition is super enticing for people who hate their current jobs and want some autonomy in their day-to-day life. Salesforce offers a proper lifeline for these people.
So, the people come en masse.
Here come the cheaters
Because there's a market for people who want to become Salesforce professionals and Salesforce certifications offer some proxy for competency on the platform, this creates a black market for people who want to cheat to get certified quickly.
Shadow companies exploit this by selling "certification dumps," containing the questions and answers to the certifications these cheaters want.
How their cheating impacts you
Certifications will be de-valued
The impact of this trend is that employers will subconsciously discount job candidates who have many certifications or a specific type of certification, because they'll assume you earned it by cheating.
Your org becomes a security risk
If a cheater got the job, I guarantee you they'll cheat once they're on the job.
It's not uncommon for cheater developers and admins to pay others to do their work on places like Fiverr or Upwork. This means they give this random person access to the company's Salesforce instance to get the job done.
Someone you don't know has access to your customer data, business processes, and other sensitive information!
They slow down the hiring process
A cheater makes a fake resume and tricks the recruiter into thinking they have experience. The recruiter sets them up for an interview with the hiring manager over Zoom.
The hiring manager ends the call early because he's wasting his time on the call. He asks the recruiter to submit the next person in the pipeline. He's frustrated.
The next person in the pipeline does well in the interview and passes him on to the rest of the interview panel, which passes him with flying colors. The hiring manager is ecstatic and extends an offer, negotiates it, and closes the candidate.
Fast-forward to their first day on the job: a completely different person shows up.
The hiring manager is furious! They just wasted the entire interview panel's time! And project work keeps piling up.
The hiring manager, fed up with this nonsense, decides to outsource the vetting of applicants to a staffing agency, but it costs money and isn't fool-proof.
Months pass, and leadership decides to close the position because the Salesforce team couldn't find someone to hire. That's a job opportunity you missed out on because of cheating.
And it happens all the time.
They can hurt your career
Story time: Martin, a senior developer, was in charge of moving Process Builders over to Apex triggers. Because management wanted this done quickly, his manager pulled two existing Senior developer contractors from another team to help "get the project done faster."
Martin had a suspicion these contractors were cheaters, but didn't work with them directly. This was his first time.
By the way, the contracting company was billing each developer at $125/hour. By the way, if you're interested in becoming a Salesforce developer, click here to read more.
So, when Martin told the contractors how he wanted to divide the work, they responded: "We don't do that. It's too complicated. Just keep the Process Builders." That was code for "I don't know how to do this. Please don't find me out."
When Martin told his management that the contractors weren't going to cut it, he was told that "you will have to make do with what you have." Eventually, Martin just did the migration on his own and the contractors went back to doing junior Admin tasks, even though they were being paid for a Senior dev title.
Martin eventually left the company because management wasn't valuing his input and the contractors finished out their contract doing the bare minimum.
What you can do about it
Salesforce has a process for reporting violations of the Salesforce Credential and Certification Program Agreement and Code of Conduct. Side note: if you have a defeatist attitude, keep it to yourself and don't bother reporting any violations. Just let it keep happening.
Look for warning signs
Do they have long resumes (3+ pages)? Is it laced with grammatical errors (ex: using "SalesForce" and not "Salesforce")? Does their work experience even make sense? Look at the project work they've done: can you tell what they contributed to the project? More often than not, the resume is an excellent indicator of a cheater.
What about their LinkedIn? If they have one, check the recommendations they've received and ensure the people giving the recommendations don't look fishy.
Keep up-leveling your career
Are you volunteering to lead projects at work? If so, you're putting yourself in uncomfortable positions that help you gain experience and grow as a professional.
Lastly, build relationships with other Salesforce professionals in your industry and give to them without expecting anything in return. Meet people, learn about how their orgs work, and share information. You won't have to worry about these cheaters harming the you this way.