I tried Google’s new interview practice tool and I want to cry


I tried Google's new interview practice tool and I want to cry

Two mature businessmen congratulate a young professional.

I came with my lawyer just in case.

Morsa Images/DigitalVision/Getty Images

I admit I’m out of practice.

Surely the last time I was interviewed for a job was when America was sane.

However, I never really prepared myself for certain questions to be asked. I was just afraid that the first question would be, “Tell me about yourself.”

Because that told me that the interviewer probably hadn’t read my resume, or if he had, didn’t remember anything. And I didn’t care.

Google’s stretching exercises

So when I saw that Google had released a new online tool to help you practice for a job interview, I was intrigued and my soul ready to be sad.

Google’s Interview Warmup promises that it will help you practice key questions, gain insight into your answers, and feel more comfortable interviewing.

Of course, this is all accomplished by a glorious AI that only wishes it could stare intently into your eyes. That’s because this tool doesn’t turn on your camera, it just activates your microphone.

At least I thought so.

What I later found out is that you can actually type your answers instead of Google listening to them and typing them out for you.

What I also discovered is that you can use Interview Warmup to practice for interviews in everything from data analysis to e-commerce.

Why this? Please why is that?

There are five questions for each job type.

For the data analysis, the first question was: “Could you please tell me something about yourself?”

Ah. Oh.

Has nothing actually changed? Interviewers are still as lazy as they used to be? And is there a good way to answer this?

“Hi. I was recently released from prison where I spent five years for constantly defaming technology leaders.”


“I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.”

No, I wouldn’t be a great interviewee. Still, because every technology needs to categorize, this tool provides insights into three distinct areas: job-related terms, most-used words, and talking points.

Oddly enough, my above answer didn’t give Google’s AI a single shudder. In fact, the tool told me that it didn’t detect any talking points in it.

It also told me that I hadn’t used any job-related terms. It seems that neither “Tech” nor “Leader” are in any way related to a job in data analysis.

I’ll leave that to you to analyze while I tell you that I also practiced for an e-commerce interview.

Question: “What do you do when you need to learn something new?”

I knew “I’m crying” wouldn’t be a good answer, so I tried reaching out to Google’s AI.

I replied, “That depends on what it is. If I need to learn a new dish, I google a recipe. When I need to learn to swim, I google ‘swimming instructor’. And if I have to learn Serbo-Croatian, I google. Get these wonderful new Google translation glasses.”

Surely this answer would stimulate further discussions. The AI ​​said it wouldn’t.

The more I tried, the less I managed to be even remotely interesting. To a robot, that is.

Creativity is not welcome here. Or is it?

I couldn’t believe it when I got this question while preparing for an ecommerce interview: “Explain the benefits of ecommerce platforms to someone who doesn’t know ecommerce at all.”

This had to be a question that needed a creative answer.

So I tried this: “Hello. How are things in space? Down here we have this thing called e-commerce. It works on something called the internet. Why am I telling you this? already know that. Anyway, we’re hoping to send our top ecommerce expert, Jeff Bezos, over to you so he can show the intricacies and we can set him free here.

This apparently offered no discernible talking points. I was ready to break down

Until I finally made a breakthrough. One question in my data analysis interview was, “Tell me about a time when you had multiple competing priorities to fulfill. What did you do and what were the results?”

I replied, “There are no competing priorities. So I first choose the one that benefits me the most personally.”

I was hoping that wording might confuse the AI. Instead, it commended me for, oh, setting an example.


Finally a breakthrough.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/ZDNet

The AI ​​tries to be helpful. It gives you a list of keywords to choose in an interview. There are many of them.

On the other hand, it highlights the words you use more than three times and tells you that this is “not necessarily a bad thing”.

It doesn’t have to be a good thing either, so please, oh robot, can you be a little more helpful?

After working through a few questions in different job fields, I only asked myself one thing: “Is this what interviewing at Google is like?”

In fact, this tool is specially designed to help people get Google Career Certificates which UK citizens can use to improve their digital skills.

It may well be that those who are particularly nervous during job interviews will enjoy being able to talk to a robot. It can be more concise than practicing in a mirror or with a friend holding a glass of wine.

But this all feels a bit like an interview as a test. Google has certainly reinforced this impression in the past. We are so smart, so we will test how smart you are.

I still can’t help but wonder if the best job interviews are the ones that are unstructured, when two people start talking, find each other interesting, and find the experience extremely enjoyable.

I’m an idealist, I know.

You May Also Like