Job Interview (i): Verb Tenses

Grammar Summary:

Part 1. Complete the sample conversation below by filling the gaps with verbs in the appropriate form and tense.

The vacancy being discussed is that of "Assistant Manager" in a clothing shop.

Conversation - verb tenses1. Arrival and first chat

- [Interviewer] Hello, are you Ben Grey?

- [You] Yes, hello.

- [Interviewer] I’m Isabelle Hall. I'm the general manager here. How do you do?

- [You] (1)...............................[to do]

- [Interviewer] Did you find us OK?

- [You] Yes, all fine. I (2) ......................... [to take] the train and (3)......................... [to walk] from the station.

- [Interviewer] Fine. I understand you've come in to discuss our vacancy for assistant manager?

- [You] Yes, that's right.

- [Interviewer] Great. Why don't you come through and we can have a proper chat.

- [You] Sure, thank you.

2. Questions about your current job

- [Interviewer] I (4) ............................ [to have] a chance to look at your CV yet. (5).......................... [to bring] a copy with you?

- [You] Yes, here you are.

- [Interviewer] Thank you. I see that currently you (6)........................... [to work] at ABC company as a senior sales assistant. What responsibilities (7)............................ [to have] there?

- [You] Well, on a day to day basis I (8)............................. [to deal] with customers in the shop area and I handle cash and card transactions. However in the last six months I (9)..............................  (to be given) other responsibilities, like taking customer complaints and supervising stock levels.

- [Interviewer] I see. Have you had any experience with purchasing stock as well?

- [You] Yes, I (10) .............. often ................ [to be asked] to collect input from other sales assistants when the store manager selects new clothing ranges. I (11) ............................. [to

visit] 3 of our suppliers with him recently and I often speak to them by phone.

- [Interviewer] Great. What (12) ............................... [to discuss] with them?

- [You] Usually it's queries about delivery and availability of certain items. But I also often negotiate returns of items that are unsatisfactory or damaged.

See answers below.

 


ANSWERS:


1. How do you do?

As you can see the correct response to 'how do you do?' is also (strangely) 'how do you do?' Not 'I'm fine thank you', etc.

2. ...took
Past Simple, for the finished past.

3. ...walked
As 2. above

4. ...haven't had
Present Perfect, indicated by the time expression 'yet'. (Note 'yet' is only normally used in negative and question sentences.)

5. ...Did you bring / Have you brought
Past Simple or Present Perfect.

Either tense is fine here, although there is a subtle difference in emphasis. With Past Simple ('did you bring') the emphasis is on the past (as if to say: 'did you remember to bring?'). With Present Perfect ('have you brought') the emphasis is on the Present (as if to say: 'do you have it now?'). 

6. ...are working / work
Present Continuous or Present Simple (stative form)- for an action happening 'generally now'.

7. ...do you have?
Present Simple - stative form. (We can't say "are you having" here).

8. ...deal
Present Simple - for habitual action in the present.

9. ...have been given
Passive - Present Perfect. Note the time expression 'in the last 6 months'. The Present Perfect tense indicates the past leading to the present.

10. ...am often asked
Passive - Present Simple. Again, Present Simple for habitual action (not Present Continuous).

11. ...have visited
Present Perfect. Note the time expression 'recently', which is normally used with this tense.

12. ...do you discuss?
Present Simple for habitual action in the present. (Note the preceding time expression of 'often'.)


In Part 2 of the Interview, we focus on linking words.

Printable PDFs for this lesson:

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