Keeping it human..
Who we are and where we come from.
Your success factors are ours, too: honesty, fairness and high-quality relationships. ifp is one of the largest independent consultancies in the German-speaking world for the search, selection, assessment and development of middle and senior managers. For nine years in a row now, ifp has ranked high on FOCUS magazine’s list of top executive search personnel service providers.
When the “Institute for Personnel Consulting and Management Diagnostics” was founded in the 1960s, we were the only personnel consultancy in Germany that used psychology as a core work tool. To this day, we have remained true to this visionary idea. Psychology is part of our DNA – as are our values, our strong convictions and the independence of our consultancy. These deep roots and consistent presence provide the fertile ground on which we’ve built our vibrant personal networks, and developed our business and innovations such as HumanIntelligence.
60 years of experience
as a medium-sized
Almost 50% of
are former candidates
who continue to
place their trust in us.
When Horst Will founded ifp in 1964, he was one of the pioneers of a young industry in its infancy. Today, the institute is one of the oldest and most established recruiting companies for executives in the German-speaking world.
The Beatles. The Berlin Wall. The Wembley goal. The flood of the century. LSD. Student protests. The pill. Bonanza. Pop art. The moon landing.
Recruiting consultants primarily from among psychology graduates was visionary in the Sixties.
How successful executives turn out to be often depends more on their personality than on their specialist knowledge. It was with this idea in mind that Horst Will founded ifp in December 1964, making him one of the pioneers of a young industry which was only just beginning to take root. Half a century later, a mere handful of the players from those early days would still be present in the market.
For Horst Will, one thing was clear from the very start: ifp was going to provide a special consulting service for assessing executives, and it would go beyond simply searching for specialists. To account for the relevant personality aspects of each executive, ifp established its own professional analysis model. And, always keen to improve, the company became its own most stringent quality inspector. Before long, the assessment process took on a meticulous structure. It was also backed up by the latest aptitude diagnostic instruments including all adjustments to future progress, and, to this day, remains our “trademark”.
Sturm und Drang
Hippies. The Warsaw genuflection. Red Army Faction. The oil crisis. Feminism. Fractals. Abba. Eastern Europe treaties. The first test-tube baby. Alien. Brain scanner. Disco.
Shared successes brought us together.
The most unusual of tasks make human resources consultancy one of the most versatile of professions. This was certainly the case for ifp as we began receiving assignments from more and more sectors, after having initially focused only on the insurance field. And it’s why our consultants were constantly facing new challenges – like joining police officers on their nightly beats in order to develop a recruitment strategy for the police force.
Horst Will tried out all kinds of things. The visionary entrepreneur soon established additional business units beyond ifp, some of which turned out to be highly successful.
Recession. Madonna. CeBIT. Nuclear weapons. Rubik’s Cube. AIDS. Aerobics. Apple. Shoulder pads. Punk. Chernobyl. The fall of the Berlin Wall.
ifp grew and established itself at the partner level. We gained access to over 30 markets before the decade of Web 1.0 had even begun.
This enabled us to tap into more and more human resources markets in a collaborative manner, whether for the search and acquisition of international executives or to fill key positions in German companies abroad.
Job ads by the broadsheet: ifp gained widespread recognition through advertising in all the major newspapers. However, relying on this search method alone turned out to have its limits. Which is why ifp developed its own systematic approach to researching executives, contacting them directly by telephone and recommending them to clients. This was extraordinarily successful – and multiple spectacular search mandates ensued: for instance, a contract to participate in the preparation of ESA’s D2 Spacelab mission and to select suitable astronauts. Our methodology defined our core service for our future development, along with our dynamic ability to adapt to the changing conditions of the times.
Concentrated expertise: Thanks to our sector teams, clients and candidates, we were able to find even more focused skill sets. We set up the first ifp sector teams for the insurance field as well as for banks and building societies, laying the cornerstone for our current market position.
Reunification. The digital revolution. Titanic. Cloned sheep. Schumacher. Lady Di. Floppy disks. Boy bands. Millennium.
Executive searches became the focus of our consulting services.
With a focus on our core business, we decided to spin off our successful diversifications as independent companies. Our segmentation by individual industries grew to include additional core areas. The respective industry teams grew into incubators: our clients and candidates in equal measure appreciated the concentration of specific knowhow along with the long-standing contacts to key players and decision-makers we had to offer them.
Deutsche Telekom IPO. Mururoa. Reemtsma. Chess computer. Insomnia. Dutroux. The German spelling reform.
When it comes to owner-managed family businesses and succession plans, there simply is no more authentic expertise to be had.
Founder Horst Will began the process of handing the business over to his son. Jörg Will, who’d learned about ifp from the bottom up after completing a banking apprenticeship and university degree, acquired his father’s company shares and took over the management of the consulting firm.
9/11. The Euro. The financial crisis. Angela Merkel. Smartphones. The Football World Cup in Germany. NSU. Stinginess is cool. Social media. Obama.
A new millennium, a new perspective! Human Resources Consulting and Management Diagnostics became independent business units.
The call of the market brings about entrepreneurial transformation. One of our Executive Search core competencies – assessing the job-related personality of a candidate and establishing whether an executive possesses the required profile – saw an increasing demand around supporting personnel development. This is why we pooled our expertise around the identification, assessment and retention of top performers and talent within the company. Management Diagnostics became a legally independent ifp unit.
An artificial heart. Fake news. Refugee crisis. Electromobility. Fridays for Future. Marriage for all. Crowdfunding. #MeToo. Alexa.
Nine industry teams became a permanent fixture of our human resources consultancy.
Over this decade, we continued to expand our business in a systematic way. Additional industry foci were created, and ifp set up new industry teams. Our clients continued to be impressed with our profound understanding of their specific requirements and the way our consultants managed to meet these requirements in the companies’ own market and corporate environment.
Networking was everything and everywhere. Our consultants developed deep personal networks within their respective industries, and thanks to teamwork, the range of opportunities grew exponentially.
Football champions. Crimea. Malala. Happy. Philae. Heatwave record.
The fiftieth anniversary remains a highlight for us all.
ifp turned 50 – an impressive milestone which, of course, called for a celebration. But where would we possibly find something to everyone’s liking in December? The choice fell on Mallorca, where the ifp team spent a fantastic weekend together.
Brexit. Notre Dame. Terrorist attacks. Road charge. Impeachment. Wuhan.
Things were looking good for ifp’s growth and resilience.
Our situation was stable before the Covid-19 pandemic: ifp was an industry frontrunner in Germany. With some 100 employees, we were serving customers in Germany and abroad.
We reshuffled our Management Diagnostics management team after one member retired from operational management. Dr Saskia-Maria Weh took over as head of Management Diagnostics.
Covid-19. Storming of the Capitol. Climate change. Traffic light coalition. Ukraine war …
The next generation gradually began moving up the corporate ladder.
Three young partners – together with an experienced colleague – now made up our new dual leadership. Sabine Lutzius joined us from our own ranks as partner for the Banking and Building Societies industry team. A new addition was Frederic Stein, who began co-leadership of the Real Estate and Construction industry team in 2021. And Joachim Heinemeyer took over the SME industry team alongside Jörg Will.
Women are more strongly represented in management positions at ifp than in the average German company. From the management and partner level to business unit managers, team leaders and executive consultants, female leadership is simply part of everyday life at ifp. Overall, the proportion of women at ifp lies at 73 percent.
An important part of our daily work is to provide guidance and assistance to people in their professional development. In addition, we seek to contribute to the development of other areas of society through our expertise. This is why we have supported and encouraged young people for many years now by offering them exciting opportunities.
The WORK4YOU project is an initiative of the Don-Bosco-Club in Cologne-Mülheim. Since 1968, the club has been providing effective and committed care for children and young people from difficult social backgrounds who have not had the good fortune of growing up in stable families in a supportive environment. Since January 2016, a pedagogical team has been supporting these young people with 24/7 care in an effort to strengthen their abilities and self-confidence, thereby making an important contribution to their integration into society and the job market. In 2019, we supported the project for the first time with a donation and are now proud to be able to make an effective contribution to their continued efforts.
Aimed at socially deprived youth with disadvantaged educational backgrounds, RheinFlanke has operated as a mobile welfare support for youth since 2006. The RheinFlanke non-profit GmbH was first established in 2006 under the name “Köln Kickt”. Today, its programmes are offered beyond the city limits of Cologne at six other locations along the Rhine. Local RheinFlanke branches are active in Bonn, Düsseldorf, Meckenheim, Grevenbroich, Bedburg and Bornheim. In 2014, Berlin became the latest location beyond NRW to offer this programme. Thirty-two staff members, temporary staff and volunteers reach some 1,200 children and adolescents each week.
Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne
In 1987, founded on Cologne’s historical background, a concert society was established to support the Gürzenich Orchestra. In the 90s, ifp was involved in establishing a Board of Trustees. Cooperating with other members, it has continued to be responsible for sponsoring soloists and promoting both the talent and the performances and recordings of the Gürzenich Orchestra chamber concerts.
ARD International Music Competition
The ARD Music Competition, held annually in Munich, is one of the largest international music competitions of its kind, attracting young musicians from all over the world. Many of today’s world famous artists have been able to use their award as a springboard for their careers, including, to name just a few: Jessye Norman, Francisco Araiza, Mitsuko Uchida, Thomas Quasthoff, Yuri Bashmet, Christian Tetzlaff, Sharon Kam, Heinz Holliger, Peter Sadlo and Maurice André. Since 2006, ifp has promoted this competition with a special prize for finalists.
The Cologne literature house for youth (Stiftung junges Literaturhaus Köln)
As a founding sponsor, ifp has been supporting the work of the Junges Literaturhaus and the communication of contemporary literature to young people through workshops and readings since 2007. The aim is to put this still young institution on a secure financial footing in the long term.
Ifp is an active member in the Köln Musik e. V. Board of Trustees. Since the 90s, we have ensured that tickets can be offered at a reasonable price, even for the most sought-after concerts. We offer equal support to both innovative music series and the commissioning of works by aspiring composers.
Master Plan City Center Cologne
Since 2006, together with the association Unternehmer für die Region Köln e.V, (Entrepreneurs in the Cologne Region), ifp has been a sponsor of the Masterplan Innenstadt. We have actively promoted and supported the city planning framework concept, aiming to continuously improve the design and functionality of the city of Cologne.
Multichannel jugglers. Haystack searchers. Power women companions. Talent pearl divers. Skill bloodhounds. Team support sunbeams. Industry fishermen. Board career ignitors. Dream job truffle hunters. Executive floor networkers. Lifework connoisseurs. Potential detectors. Future opportunity sensors. High potential scouts.
What can we do for you?