Tomasz Hamerla

Tomasz Hamerla

at the intersection of software & data engineering

5 actionable takeaways from organizng mock interviews

How to improve your interviewing skills

Tomasz Hamerla

3-Minute Read


Back in 2022 I was hosting mock behavioral interviews with Shawn Axsom, director of engineering at Docker and Bura Chuhadar, manager at Docker on Twitter using Twitter Spaces. This article summarizes 5 actionable takeaways from decision makers that you can implement to improve your interviewing skills.

Multi-cultural awareness

Shawn highlighted the importance of multi-cultural awareness, especially in remote companies hiring diverse workforce from the entire world. Having that awareness helps you find commonalities during interviews and makes it easier to work if hired.

As Taylor Desseyn, a recruiter puts it:

“Job interviews can feel like a loop of presenting your most polished self to potential employers. But according to Tim, being authentic is the way to go. That means finding commonalities with hiring managers and teams on a personal level. It could be something as simple as adding a personal interest note to your resume and LinkedIn profile”

Finally: How to improve the cultural awareness? Shawn recommends the book The Culture Map

Practice storytelling

That one was brought up by Jonaed. Don’t let your interview be the boring copy of the job description. Tell the story, tell about you doing things and gaudge the interest of the interviewers!


As Timothy James, engineering manager at Google puts it:

“A great strategy for preparing for an interview is to review some softball questions and come up with 3-4 compelling and interesting stories that stand out from your education or from your career.”

It’s all about trust

That one was raised by by Semi Evolved Mamal who worked in talent acusuition for 15 years: the interview process is about building that trust, so that they know that you can do the job.

How? He recommends finding 3-4 things that you do well & make you unique and presenting them well.

Formal framework for the rescue

Bura recommended a formal framework called STAR and wrote an article on the topic. Worth checking out!

However, as Jonaed warned: It’s important to balance using the framework. You don’t want to sound robotic and unauthentic! As Eddie seconded it quoting EddieHub motto: “collaboration first, code second”. The framework is here to help, as a tool. The goal is to show that you can do the job collaboratively and that you will be a great teammate.

Finally, as Tiffany pointed out: Result in the STAR method can be replaced with Reaction - describing what you could have done differently/better.

Interview preparation & safety

Osmar Mansoor described how he hired the wrong candidate and the consequences of it on the team.

Here are the takeaways

As a hiring manager

  • Watch out for candidates overselling themselves
  • Take notes and review them afer some period of time - it helps to approach it more rationally

As a candidate

  • “de-risk yourself” (as Danny Thompson puts it) - present to the company that you would be easy to work with and won’t cause troubles once hired
  • Watch out for red flags of the company: The interview preparation is important - research the company and ask former employees

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