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Job profile: headhunter
Job profile: headhunter

What does a headhunter do? What training do you need? And how family-friendly is the job? Kerstin Roubin is one of the most successful in her branch - she provides us with answers that are worth knowing.


Kerstin Roubin, 47, has been working as a management consultant and headhunter for 20 years. Together with three other colleagues, she founded the company "Boyden Austria" in 2009. The group is present in 43 countries and is looking for the best national and international executives for its customers around the world.

For us, she answers the most important questions about the job: What do you earn? How's your career prospects? How do you even become a headhunter? And what do many in this industry underestimate?

Kerstin Roubin, headhunter
Kerstin Roubin, headhunter

What are headhunters?

"They are executive search consultants, which means that they approach suitable managers in the industrial environment directly about a position with your customer Evaluate the candidates to see whether they really fit the position. They do not place advertisements or process applications - that is what classic personnel consulting does, but they also support tenders and hearings."

How do you become a headhunter?

"For example, I started working part-time in 1998 during my business studies in the back office. At that time there was no internet and telephone, the fax was our main means of communication. The consultants still had secretaries and dictated their correspondence. But I was lucky, the advice was already great back then internationally active and I was later able to handle many international projects in research. I spoke with Asian candidates in the morning and with contacts in the USA in the evening. And although I originally only started in consulting to earn money, I have not been since then Got away from executive search and it still fascinates me today.

I wouldn't say that you need a degree - a very successful German consultant, for example, studied Sinology. Some consultants don't even have a degree. Of course, it helps to have an economic understanding and intercultural competence. For the partner level you definitely need sales skills."

What are the tasks as a headhunter?

"You help customers to fill their open manager positions by approaching potential candidates directly at international and national level. To do this, they recruit suitable candidates for their customers from their industrial environment. "

Which properties are important, which are more of a hindrance?

"A high degree of flexibility is important - every customer is different. A good grasp of things is also essential: You have to quickly grasp the customer's company, its industry and its problems. Persistence, a high level of frustration, knowledge of human nature and empathy also help. As a partner, the ability to graduate, absolute reliability and competence are the top priority.

It is not very helpful if you are looking for orderly structures, fixed working hours, and cannot deal with complexity and 24/7 availability."

What do you have to be prepared for in this job?

"We are changing people and their families because most of our candidates also move for the new position and it's not a 6:00 p.m. job where you drop your pencil. But the nice thing is that you change life."

What do many in this industry underestimate?

"It is an emotionally very demanding job, where you are exposed to high pressure."

How family-friendly is the job of a headhunter?

"The working hours are flexible. This can be easily reconciled up to the consultant level.

If you are primarily responsible for customer projects, i.e. a partner, you are internationally active and time management becomes more difficult: It's like in any sales job, if you are away from the market for a longer period, you lose contacts."

What career opportunities do you have in the industry?

"Consulting is certainly a good entry-level job to get to know extensive market knowledge and various companies and their processes. Most of the time, you develop into the HR department. Career - in the sense of management positions - in consulting is difficult due to the flat hierarchies. In any case, there are a lot of 'Old Gray Hair Men's' networks in our industry, women in the top league in executive search are generally rare in Austria. In comparison, there are many women in traditional personnel consultancy."

What are the earning opportunities?

"That depends on the area of responsibility. Ours Employees also participate in bonuses and receive corresponding bonus payments based on the success of the project. Together with the basic salary, you can earn well, depending on how many projects you can successfully manage in parallel. On average, I would estimate around 50,000 euros a year. Headhunters earn very well at partner level - there are consultancies that pay a fixed salary of 180,000 euros or, like we have an entrepreneurial bonus model, in which the majority of the bonus also depends on the success of the project."

What would your professional plan B have been?

"I always had so much fun that I always responded negatively to offers from customers. After more than 20 years of consulting, I am sure that today I can no longer be placed in the industry."

Why do you enjoy your job?

"I am learning every day new people and companies, products, industries, and much more. I look after great customers with a great, open, funny, professional and respectful culture of conversation. This makes it all the easier for me to present our mandate to potential interested parties in an exciting and detailed manner."

When choosing staff: what is most important to you?

"Besides the actual Qualification and a sustainable career - Above all, an appreciative interaction with one another, sincerity, laughter and that someone does not take themselves too seriously all the time.

What doesn’t impress you at all?

"Arrogant and babbling blenders, who adore themselves and believe they are the center of the world."

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