Karen exhales through gritted teeth as she takes off the headset and smooths down her hair, checking that she has terminated the Skype call.

“In every other way,” Karen tells our reporter, “she’s a great candidate. She’s got CELTA, DELTA and MTESOL. She’s been in the industry for twelve years, teaching on four continents and she speaks five languages. She’s willing to cover at weekends and doesn’t mind a heavy workload but…” Karen bites her lip and grimaces. “She says pronounciation instead of pronunciation.”

Karen opens up the CV and scrolls down the thoughtfully crafted PDF file with accompanying images.

“I’ve contacted her last employer and you can imagine what I got in response. Diligent. Punctual. Professional. No sick days taken but says pronounciation as though the second syllable was the word noun. They haven’t ticked the box which says I would be happy to re-hire this employee.

Karen leans back in her chair, tapping a ruler against the keyboard and making a popping sound with her lips.

“Only one other person has applied. He’s been in Thailand for six months and sounded a bit drunk. I couldn’t hear clearly because there was music thumping in the background but he didn’t seem too keen on the idea of a criminal record check. However, he did say pronunciation correctly, so maybe I shouldn’t rule him out.”

As our reporter left the office, Karen was clicking between the Skype profile pictures of the two applicants, drumming the fingers of her other hand on the desk.

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