Exclusive chat with the head of Brand and Reputation at Google Africa about the Google interview warmup tool

Eberechukwu Etike
Exclusive chat with the head of Brand and Reputation at Google Africa about the Google interview warmup tool

With the Google Interview Warmup tool, young Africans now have more opportunities to practice for job interviews and land the right jobs.

This tool will change the game for job seekers, allowing them to practice potential interview questions to feel confident and prepared during the hiring process.

The Google interview warmup tool was unveiled at the second Google for Africa Event in October 2022, and the main goal of the technology is to help students participating in Google Career Certificate courses become more prepared for upcoming job interviews. The tool is now available for all users.

Read Also; How to use Google’s Interview Warmup to land your next job

Technext spoke with Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Brand and Reputation at Google Africa, to discover more about the potential of this tool, particularly for the African continent, where millions of young Africans are pursuing digital tech skills and competing in the global market.

We talked about this Google Interview Warmup tool, how it works, and solutions to possible challenges users might face with the tool.

Q: Several ed-tech solutions focus on helping Africans acquire skills that will enable them to compete globally. Many are opening placement platforms, but quite a few are designed to make users for certain roles. What inspired the Google team to design the Google Interview Warmup tool?

Thank you for that question. So in the next 5 years, over 300 million Africans will come online, but most of these folks are young, creative and entrepreneurial, and as a common man, it is important for them to reap the benefits of being online as well.

That is why in the last few years, we have invested heavily in the Digital Skills for Africa program, where we pledge to train 10 million Africans on digital skills and have trained over 6 million Africans on digital skills.

We’ve also done many programs to help young people reap the benefits of digital technology. One such is the Google Global Career Certificate, launched a few years ago to help them learn skills around e-commerce, data analytics, projects, management, etc.

For interviews, it is sometimes about building the skills and landing the opportunity, but there is a gap. For us, this is about helping people to cross that gap between building the skills that they have and being able to demonstrate those skills to get the right job opportunities. According to a stat, for every job hosted in Africa, there’s an average of 2400 applications.

So, for one job, 2400 people are in the race, which is an average stat because this differs across countries, especially in countries where youth unemployment rates are higher. It’s really staggering.

There’s a huge competition there. You know that interviewing can be very, very daunting for anyone, especially if you don’t have the right access to tools or mentors. That’s why we developed the Google interview warm-up to help job seekers take it from acquiring skills to demonstrating to interviewers their competence with the skills they have acquired.

Google interview warmup
Google Interview Warmup tool
From our observations, folks are unsure if the Google interview warmup tool can provide user-specific, situation-specific contents that will be most helpful when needed. I mean, is the app designed to provide personalized guidance, maybe with the google hiring team, or what is it about?

Questions in the google interview warmup tool were created by experts, industry experts and interview coaches. The questions cover three major areas around your background and situational questions.

So, questions about your background are about things you experienced, your skills, the schools you went to, and your education. Then, situational questions are more around, you know, activities, challenges like if you know you were doing X in the situation X etc.

We observed that the Google interview warmup tool is available only in the English language now. Knowing that Africa has a vast language demography, are there plans to include other languages?

Yeah. We’re very excited about launching the interview warmup, especially across Africa. I mean, a lot of work has gone into developing the tool, but I must say that the tool is still in its early stages.

We are still developing, improving, and evolving the tool, and we also invite jobseekers to help us by giving feedback about the tool and to help with the improvement.

Things around languages and features and things like that and definitely things that we’ve been getting feedback about. We are exploring how to make it better going forward with all the feedback that we are getting.

Q: We read that the Google interview warmup tool provides tips to users before, during and after interviews. Can you just briefly describe how this works?

Thanks. The way the Google interview warmup tool works, when you get on the tool, you pick a topic that you want to interview for. When answering, the tool works via voice prompt, and you can also type, right? So basically, you can speak to the tool, and the tool automatically transcribes what you are saying into text form, and you can always edit the text.

You can type your answers into the tool, and based on the answers you give, the tool checks, using machine learning, on several areas, like the job-related terms you are using. It checks on your most used words and tells me that I have used the word maybe three times, four times and things like that.

It also checks on the talking points, giving you insights to help review your answers. You can also practice as many times as you want and choose if you want to, improve what you said before, see what you are repeating maybe too many times and bring out specific keywords that help highlight some of those areas. You can always go back and practice and things like that.

Q: We observed that the fields the platform presently supports include Data analytics, E-commerce, IT support, Project management, and UX Design. Generally, we know that digital skills that people learn these days in Africa are mostly tailored to a specific role. Are there plans to integrate other fields like product management, software engineering, and sales in the future?

Yes, as I said before, we are getting lots of feedback, and right now, there is a link to add feedback on the Google interview warmup platform. We’re inviting people to give us feedback because we don’t store any information about the user around the tool and what they would like to see going forward, and based on all of that, we would explore the device for the future.

Q: So you said you don’t store users’ data?

No, we don’t. With the Google interview warmup tool, you don’t have to sign in if you go onto the platform today. It does not ask for any sign-in details, so you don’t need to sign in with your email or anything. We don’t store the transcript or the audio, so it’s private, completely private.

The interview warmup is designed to be a safe zone where you can practise. Almost like, you’re speaking to your mirror, and you’re practising in the privacy of your own space, and we used certain google privacy standards in developing the tool. So yeah, we don’t store the data,

This is great because many people when preparing for interviews, get scared or something. So, I think this is very good.

Exactly. It needs to be a judgement-free zone, and that’s what the Google interview warmup tool is created to be.

Q: The Google interview warmup tool is free at the moment. Is it temporary, or is Google looking at adding a cost in the future, maybe when the app gains so much traction?

If you follow some of the work we’re doing on the continent, you’ll know that this is, I mean, not out of the norm for us to create free solutions because we wanted to reach as many people as possible.

We do not want cost to be a barrier to helping people to build the right skills and land the right opportunities that helps them to have, you know, economic empowerment. So the tool is free, and that’s also in line with our commitment to helping young people get the right opportunities and using digital technology to grow their careers.

Q: Lastly, is there any additional information about the tool and its impact in Africa that you would like to share?

We just launched the tool in Africa, as you said at Google for Africa in October, and we’ve seen a lot of, you know, activity. It has been incredibly well received by many.

We’ve also been able to test with some users. You probably have seen the video of the launch of the interview warmup tool, so we’ve seen users across the country using it and giving us suggestions and feedback in terms of it, helping them to build their confidence.

So we’re very encouraged because it’s a validation of the fact that this is a real need, and we’ll continue to work to improve it and solve it together with job seekers.

Thank you very much.

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