Diverse and challenging: Graduate Paul Nickel about his current job as a HR consultant

Working with people can be found incredibly enriching but challenging at the same time. Paul Nickel who studied B.A. Media and Business Psychology at HMKW Berlin experiences this every day in his job. As a HR consultant he supports Berlin-based IT companies to find the right and appropriate staff. How do his studies help him in his profession and what does he love about his current job? Learn more about Paul Nickel and his work as a consultant in this interview.

Paul Nickel works for the consulting company Robert Half.

Paul Nickel works for the consulting company Robert Half.

What comes first to you mind when you think about your studies at HMKW?

First of all, I think of the outstanding professors and teaching staff, for example Prof. Kolrep and Prof. Freytag. Thus, the lecturers have a professional background from the economic sector they are able to share their practical experience with their students. That’s great! Even if this was not the case for any lecturer - generally speaking I was able to benefit from HMKW’s excellent professors and lecturers.

You studied the program B.A. Media and Business Psychology. What is your current job position?

I am working as a HR consultant for the consulting company Robert Half. One might also say that I am a headhunter. In my job I am responsible for the recruitment of IT experts. On behalf of Berlin-based companies I am searching for appropriate employees and accompany the whole recruitment process. Moreover, I am available to answer any questions concerning the process. Sometimes I am even participating at job interviews.

Could you gain any more experiences that you would like to share with us?

During my studies I did an internship in the HR department of Audi Berlin. That was pretty cool and I enjoyed my work a lot. My internship was very intensive and challenging but that was alright because in that way I was able to handle tasks that interns are not responsible for usually. So I was able to participate at job interviews or I started working in the management board. This internship made me realize that the field of Human Resources is the right for me. I discovered that I am more interested in working in recruitment than doing administrative tasks. During my internship I really enjoyed working with people and assisting during the recruitment process.

Towards the end of my studies a consultant company offered me a job via Xing. Therefore, I could already start to work during my sixth semester during the week while writing my bachelor thesis on the weekend.

Why did you decide to study the program B.A. Media and Business Psychology? And why did you choose HMKW?

I made the decision to study at HMKW for two main reasons. Firstly, I developed a reinforced interest in psychology during my time at school. Further, in high school I was fascinated by topics in the areas economy and finances. The study program Media and Business Psychology was the perfect match for me linking both of my interests - even if I was a little bit sceptical about the marketing courses. In retrospect, this field was much more exciting than I’d expected at the beginning. I started my studies at the age of 20. Since then I was able to broaden my mind significantly.

Which contents of your studies are part of your current job? How do your studies help you in your daily work routine?

In this case Mr. Tapper’s course “Basic of Media Psychology” comes directly to my mind. In his course I’ve learned quite a lot that I still apply in my everyday working life. For example, we discussed the Yale Studies intensively. The Yale Studies are dealing with issues such as the Psychology of Persuasion. Under which conditions people are changing their attitudes in response to persuasive messages? How is it possible to influence people in their actions? In this interesting course we learned more about these and many more psychological methods.

What are your plans for the future?

I am super happy in my current job. In the recruiting field it is an important matter to convince people. Therefore, this kind of sales activity belongs to the main tasks of my work. As a consultant you always should be able to ask the right questions and - even more important - you should have a fine sense for people and situations. I really enjoy my work. For that reason I would like to continue my work in the sales department.  


What do you love about your work and what are the biggest challenges?

Throughout the recruitment process the focus is on meeting new people, learning to deal with a range of different personalities and being able to assess someone’s character. In my job it is all about getting to know people and matching clients and applicants. At best, I bring people together. This task is interesting, demanding and variable.

The biggest challenge? Certainly, the main challenge is to work with people. For they have a will of one’s own. That should be respected. Most times they act irrationally and are influenced by their emotions. To handle and manage the recruitment process, to harmonize both parties and eventually being able to keep everything under control – that is one of the most challenging tasks in my job.

Do you have any advice for current students?

In retrospect, I would advise any student to exert himself or herself in every subject and to strive towards excellent grades. I think the most important thing is to discover your own strengths and to keep focussed throughout your studies. If possible, you should try to extend your knowledge as well in your free time. Specialist knowledge may be of great value at a later stage of your career path.

In your opinion, which characteristics a student of B.A. Media and Business Psychology should have?

I think that in general you want to have a fundamental need for understanding and assessing people. This defines the core of the study program. Also, a will to push through demanding subjects, such as statistics, will be necessary. There is no free lunch.

Thanks a lot for this interesting interview and your insights to your everyday working life as a consultant and recruiter. We wish you all the best and much success for your future career.