Luz Mary Mora D

Assistant professor of the Department of English


Headhunters also known as cazatalentos are specialized enterprises in recruiting highly educated and motivated professionals to connect them with well renowned corporations.  According to some prestigious Headhunters, as well as to several recruiters, the success of a qualified new graduate is based on a set of professional and personal skills along with competences. As stated by Forbes[1] “To fill a job, we usually see no more than 10 candidates and present the client with a “shortlist” of three or four of them. Only one will be hired, so your chances of getting the job when there’s an opening are 25-33%.” In other words, getting the right job requires more work than a newly graduate may think.   Actually, to answer the questions: What are the Headhunters looking for? Bachelors, Masters, Languages, or Experience? It is necessary to reflect on the skills required by the companies when recruiting employees and the skills analyzed by the recruiters that represent the companies’ needs. In addition, the job-hunter should be aware of the necessary skills and competence to become not only successful, but also recognized into today’s work environment.

According to the Project Tuning[2], it is necessary to “sharp” the educational structures in Latin America to offer competitive programs. In fact, to exchange educational information and collaborate for “learning, involving the identification and definition of learning outcomes at the level of units and programs.” As for undergraduates, they should develop a series of skills to fit into the work environment, not only the technical skills to perform well a task, but also a set of social skills to establish satisfying social relationships. Besides, professionals, interested in management, should develop managerial or leadership skills, as well. These skills consist of dealing with people in such a way as to motivate, enthuse and build respect in the workplace, as well as decision making, time management, positive attitude,  self-motivation and the creation of a motivating work environment, moreover being charismatic and expressing empathy for others’ feelings is a quality of outstanding leaders.


The Project Tuning Latin-America distinguishes three types of generic competence: instrumental, interpersonal and systemic.  Each competence should be exceptional in any undergraduate and postgraduate professional who wants to catch the attention of recruiters, Headhunters and finally of any big corporations.

  • The instrumental or technical competence refers to the cognitive, methodological, technological and the linguistic abilities in the native language as well as proficiency in a foreign language. Additionally, it is necessary to have the corresponding certification in languages: for instance, in English proficiency, some the most recognized test and certifications are TOEFL, IELTS, BULATS, MICHIGAN, and FCE, depending on the communicative purposes.
  • The interpersonal competence is the individual ability, expressed in social skills, in other words the social interaction and co-operation. This competence is also known as the soft skills such as teamwork, collaboration, sharing, listening to other group members, and co-operating with the team, among others.
  • The systemic competence includes abilities and skills concerning whole systems, that is to say a combination of understanding, sensibility and knowledge: an attitude of openness for the acquisition of the instrumental and the interpersonal competence.


Furthermore, the globalized world of business, internships, and communication requires the development of a cultural awareness. The cultural awareness suggests the necessity for a great perspective that accounts for not only what the other culture and its cultural subjects are, the Otherness, but also for the development, an understanding of who I am as a cultural subject, in other words, my Myness. It is to focus on the development of the critical intercultural competence, an understanding of the diversity inherent to the human beings, their background and each one’s inheritance. It is also the acknowledgment, tolerance and acceptance of cultural diversity and indeed the ability to reflect critically about diverse social scenarios

On that subject, Byram (1995) claims that “the intercultural competence should embed the savoir-être, meaning a change of attitude towards the world. The savoirs or abilities to acquire new concepts, and the savoir-faire, which refers to the activity of learning through experience. In the framework of a critical perspective, learners’ change of attitude would be bi-directional, in the sense of assuming new views in front of his/her own culture and the target one; namely a comprehensive, informed and critical attitude.” The mastering of these savoirs would lead to critical intercultural awareness and to an openness to new viewpoints. Equally important, a competitive professional should always keep in mind that permanent professional training and updating play a significant role to keep up with the professional modern world and its requirements.

In conclusion, current undergraduate program students or newly graduate professionals, attempting to join the job market, should remember that the professional success is based on not only in having the proper credentials, understood as University degrees,  but also in developing the necessary skills and competences to fit in the business world.

Briefly, let us reflect on Colin Powell’s words “there are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”  Therefore, my humble suggestion is to encourage our undergraduates to better themselves constantly, and to make sure they get hands on as early as possible in their formal education, because Headhunters and corporations are looking for the “whole package”: Bachelors, masters, languages proficiency and experience.





Byram, M. (2000). Intercultural communicative competence: The challenge for language teacher training. In N. Mountford &. N. Wadham-Smith (Eds), British Studies: Intercultural Perspectives (pp. 95-102). Edinburgh: Longman in Association with the British Council.


Lennon, M.C., Frank, B., Humphreys, J., Lenton, R., Madsen, K., Omri, A., & Turner, R.1 (2014).Tuning: Identifying and Measuring Sector Based Learning Outcomes in Postsecondary Education. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.




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