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New Google Tool Helps Job Seekers Prepare for Interviews

A man working on a laptop in his living room.

​Google recently launched an artificial intelligence-powered preparation tool that will assist job seekers with the only tried-and-true method for getting better at interviewing for a job—practice.

Google's Interview Warmup asks common interview questions selected by industry experts, transcribes responses in real time and uses basic machine learning to provide feedback.

"Interviewing can be hard, especially if you don't have access to friends, family or mentors in the field who can help you practice and prepare," said Jesse Haines, director of the Grow with Google initiative in the U.S., which offers free training, tools and events to help create more economic opportunities for people. "Preparing for interviews will always take a lot of work, but we hope this tool can make it a little easier for anyone to become more confident and grow comfortable with interviewing."

The tool asks general job interview questions such as "Tell me a bit about yourself," and asks about past work experience. It also asks questions about how the applicant may handle specific situations and technical and skill-specific questions related to jobs in data analytics, e-commerce, project management, IT support or user experience design, roles stemming from the Google Career Certificates program.

In addition to transcribing the mock interview for personal review, the tool's machine learning identifies job-related terms and overused phrases and generates common "talking points" to improve responses.

"You can see how much time you spend talking about areas like your experience, skills and goals," Haines said. "Your responses aren't graded or judged, and you can answer questions as many times as you want. It's your own private space to practice, prepare and get comfortable."

Interview Warmup is free and currently only available in the U.S. The audio and transcripts from interview sessions are not saved, though users can manually copy or download transcripts.

"It's definitely helpful," said Chris Russell, managing director of RecTech Media, a recruiting technology consulting and research firm in Trumbull, Conn. "Anything that helps you practice interviewing is a good idea. The ability to practice even when you can't find another person is the main draw. It also helps you craft better responses based on feedback."

Carolyn Kleiman, a career coach, resume consultant at and senior career counselor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., was surprised at how much improved the technology is compared to other interview prep tools on the market.

Other products typically offer a recording of the practice session, which is then either sent to someone who reviews it and provides feedback or to the user for self-evaluation, Kleiman said. "These tools can also be helpful, but Interview Warmup breaks down your answer, lets you know what is good and why and what could be improved, all on its own. The feedback is also nonjudgmental and unbiased, something you won't get practicing with another person." 

Job seekers can practice interviewing as much as they want, at all times of the day or night, without bothering someone else. And practicing in private can reduce anxiety.

"Interviewing is stressful," Kleiman said. "Doing it in front of a person can be intimidating or awkward, even if it's with a friend, or a career counselor like me, who's there to help you."

The benefits of interview prep tech are compelling, but experts recommend practicing in front of other people as well. Only another human—at this point, at least—can evaluate an interviewee's entire presentation skills, physical and verbal cues, and ability to improvise based on interaction. The technology lacks a level of connectivity that only a person can provide. And at this time, the machine learning does not generate follow-up questions based on the applicant's responses.

"At some point, you will need to prepare with an actual human," Kleiman said. "The person's feedback is subjective, but that subjectivity may be an advantage to the job seeker. Until then, using whatever tools and techniques you can to build your interviewing skills to be able to interview in person is important."

Both Kleiman and Russell see the tool as the beginning of more AI being used in job interviewing.

"The AI technology has room to grow, and the next phase could be something more conversational," Kleiman said. "But this is a step up from simple automation used to screen resumes. This technology provides more context in its feedback."    

Russell said the tool is a glimpse into a future of robot recruiters which will conduct initial applicant screening, especially for high-volume employers. "A robot will call you, ask some basic questions and provide some feedback," he said. "It will then make the decision to move you into the hiring funnel."


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