Yes, time is running and 4 month before my 40th birthday I think it's time to look back to the last 25 years I was in touch with work, learning and a lot of experiences.
As a headhunter you work with people, knowledge and experience. When I look back to the last 25 years I see, that this experience was perfect to understand people, their professions and ending up as an orientalist in headhunting, but let's start from the beginning.
I had an interesting childhood, growing up in an intellectual art family in germany, my father was an art historian and my mom an interior designer and yoga teacher. I went to 9 schools during 14 school-years before my graduation, not because of being a hooligan, but for job reasons of my partents, moving to different places for work (universities) in germany.
When I became 16 it was time to work, my partents said, not becoming a son-only-teenager, so I started my first job experiences and this was good and boring in the beginning.
1992 - 1997
From 16 to 21, during the last High School Classes I worked for pleasure, to afford Diesel and Levis jeans, books, travels and my first mobile phone.
So I had the opportunity to work as a house painter, assembly line worker at VW, as a Ice-Man at San Marco Cafe, as Pizza Man, bakeing by clients wish a lot of Pizza Funghi without mushrooms, as a construction worker and as a Bar Keeper.
For a bookworm like me, it was not my idea of work I want to do, looking back to these times, it was good for my personality, getting in touch with people from all social classes and understanding, what it means to work not in a nice office, but to work with people.
1997 - 1998
After my graduation from High School and before starting my Islamic Studies, I didn't went to military service, I did a social job at the emergency room on a local hospital for 15 month, dealing with badly injured people, death and all that stuff nurses deal every day for small money. During this time I learned respect.
Respect from life, human beings and fast cars, people didn't had under control.
It was a great motivation and being greatful that I could study after 15 month of this social service, because my parents gave me this opportunity.
1998 - 1999
The student life started, but with 3 days of work per week, to finance my private libary, many trips to middle east and some drinks for party time.
So, I started to study Islamic History of Art and Islamic Studies in Freiburg, Munich, Cairo, Teheran, Istanbul and London.
During the first year I worked in bars and a hospital in night shift, but after 1 year I was bored of this 'Bread-and-Butter-Job' and so I discovered Headhunting by an simple job ad, this was in 1999, 16 years ago.
1999 - 2009
I had no idea, that this job will exist before and the reaction of my grandpa
(a selfmade entrepreneur) was: "So, you get paid for stealing companies their employees and putting them into new jobs at new companies ? Really?!
- Strage world!"
Yes, strage world, he was right, welcome to the international headhunting business and so I started as a classical researcher, telling bullshit stories via telephone to companies, to get informations about their best employees, feeding our homemade database with this.
This was fun, because in school I also liked to play theater.
This was recruiting 1.0 without social media. There were good times in headhunting between 1999 and 2005 in Munich and I remember many nice parties in Ibiza, P1 or Kitzbühel, burning this easy headhunting money.
And I learnd everything from beginning ending up as an consultant, but generalist like this entrepreneurs from 'old-times' knowing everything of the process, because they worked in each position during their career.
My idols were this bosses, who had build something from the start. If there was trouble in a project, they could help every employee also in research calls and this is something, which got lost during the last years in many jobs, having bosses, who know the job by best practice.
After finishing my studies in 2007 I worked for 1 year as a actor in some commercials for german television and it was something new for good money, but then Hollywood didn't call me, so I decided to move back to headhunting, after trying to enter other job fields with 412 applications.
So back to the roots, working with people, their biographies and headhunting.
This was it, what I did since years and my experience from other wite and blue collar jobs helped me, to understand people and their skills.
2009 - today
In Vienna, I am now since 6 years, where I worked for local companies as well as establishing my own business BREADHUNTER, concentrating on international executive search, social media and innovation.
Since 2014 I joined Talentor to manage 180 consultants in 20 countries and being responsible for new partner acquisition,innovational tools and workflows.
My work and headhunting experience from the last 25 years helps me everyday to understand the needs of clients and potential partners accross the globe.
I am also happy, that I could bring 6 new countries to the network this year, together with Michael Sarsteiner, CEO of Talentor and maybe it will be 7 until December 2015.... ;-)
Thomas Zahlten is