He made his debut for Austria in May 1968 against Romania and was a participant at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. He earned 39 caps, scoring five goals. His last international match was at the World Cup in 1978 against West Germany, a game dubbed The miracle of Córdoba which the Austrians won 3–2.
Since retiring as a player, Hickersberger has worked as a football coach. He was the coach of the Austrian national team at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. However, after the sensational and embarrassing 1–0 defeat against the Faroe Islands in the first qualifying game of UEFA Euro 1992, he decided to quit and after that coached Fortuna Düsseldorf (1990–1992) and Austria Wien (1993–94).
On 10 December, he signed a contract by Al-Wahda FC (Abu Dhabi) as head coach until 30 June 2009. After finishing fourth, therefore earning a play-off berth in the Asian Champions League, and leading the team to the Etisalat Cup Final in his first year at the club, he signed a one-year extension. He also brought along two of his former national team assistant coaches, including Klaus Lindenberger.