Wanted: Workers Who Speak English and Show Up Sober

job interview
job interview

By Rebekah Kebede and Mark Bendeich

KARRATHA, Australia -- Lucille Lievaux, a 25-year-old French geologist, commutes to work on a plane, a 1,300-km journey from Australia's Indian Ocean city of Perth to the mining town of Karratha, a smudge of suburbia on the continent's barren northwest coast.

Slim, blonde and passionate about her job, she sits in Karratha's busy single-storey airport, waiting for a jet to take her home. She has swapped her hard-hat and orange-striped overalls for a short-sleeved cotton top, jeans and sneakers. Wearing her sunglasses like a hairband, she looks out of place in a departure lounge crowded mostly with unshaven men.