Grow with Google’s Interview Warm-up: Ahead of Its Time, or Just a Waste?

Published on May 17 of last year was Google’s first announcement of a new resource for their certificate program: Interview Warmup. In this YouTube video, Google Software Engineer/Researcher Jasmine Rubinovitz relays the history behind developing this website. With growing hardships thanks to the pandemic and increasing competition for jobs, “Google started the Career Certificate Program to help people make that career transition,” Rubinovitz stated. “But we found that the one thing they had a hard time with was interviewing. We were working on other conversational AI research at the time, so we tried to think, could we use machine learning and large language models to build a tool to help you practice for a job interview?”

“We launched Google Career Certificates to help people learn the skills they need to qualify for roles in those fields helping drive economic opportunity and mobility,” Google’s announcement states. They launched Interview Warmup to help “land that job.” The resource was designed to help those obtaining a Google Career Certificate (this is why there are six specific fields to choose from before beginning), “But it’s available for everyone to use and has general questions applicable to many fields.”

Thus, Google Interview Warmup was born. Now, over a year later, users are finally able to use the tool as a resource to prepare for their important calls. However, is it a step in the right direction for A.I. use, or is it a waste of time for users? 

According to their announcement, Interview Warmup “lets you practice answering questions selected by industry experts, and uses machine learning to transcribe your answers and help you discover ways to improve.” After clicking “Start Practicing” at the center of their home page, you answer what field you will be interviewing for. This then sets up a series of questions that pertain to what you may be asked. You can immediately start the interview, or you can click “See all the questions” at the bottom. 

When you feel you are ready, you may start the interview. The questions come up one at a time, giving the user the option to speak their answer aloud or to type it. “Your answers are transcribed in real time,” their announcement shared, “so you can review what you said. You’ll also see insights: patterns detected by machine learning that can help you discover things about your answers, like the job-related terms you use and the words you say most often. It can even highlight the different talking points you cover in each answer, so you can see how much time you spend talking about areas like your experience, skills and goals.” 

In order to better understand the features and determine if the resource is a tool I would use in the future, I decided to check out Interview Warmup myself. 

While answering through voice, my speech was accurately transcribed, but I was also given the option to edit the text myself. After you finish your response, you may click on the three topics that can be detected in your answer: job-related terms, most-used words and talking points. I believe it was beneficial to see what words were unnecessary or decreased my clarity and what information was important. 

With that said, what are the implications to inputting your personalized answers into this program? With Google recently being sued for allegedly harvesting their users’ personal data, how does this resource turn into a reason for worry? On the website’s Frequently Asked Questions page, they have dropdown questions under the following titles: The Basics, Insights, and Editing and Saving Answers. Their question, “How does this use machine learning?” is answered with, “Because all of your Interview Warmup data is private to you, none of your responses are used to improve machine learning models.” Additionally, they have the question, “Does Google have access to my answers?” to which the following answer was provided: “No. We don’t save your audio or the transcripts of your answers. That means all your Interview Warmup data is private to you. If you would like to save your answers, you can do that by copying the text of a single response, or downloading the full transcript at the end of the interview.” 

I do believe Google’s Interview Warmup can be beneficial to those who lack prior experience in this stage of securing a job. While the questions under “General” were very generic, talking aloud and reviewing your transcribed answer can certainly be beneficial to crafting the best answer you would like to share. If you have the time to complete the roughly 10-minute practice interview, I would say to try it out. However, if you would prefer some quick advice, you may check out their dedicated page for Interview Tips or The Watchdog’s piece on how to ace your next job interview.