Jobs: Creative Job Speed Dating

Services | Margaret Childs | September 2013

“Daters” talk shop candidly, but only for a total of five minutes (Photo: CJSD)

"OK ladies and gentlemen, let’s begin, you have 5 minutes starting now."

We were seated at a long black table in a 16th-floor suite at Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom. The five pairs engaged in conversation, asking questions, writing notes on carbon paper.

I "dated" a food editor for Woman Magazine, an editor at a corporate publishing start-up, Managing Editor of the business magazine Format, a consultant at a corporate branding company and a recently unemployed advertising salesman, all in 25 minutes.

Creative Job Speed Dating (CJSD) is the brainchild of interior and set designer Rikki Wieland, and fashion and advertising photographer Michael Dürr.

They had invited mostly members of the press and PR community to this third session.

The idea grew out of Dürr’s birthday party in early 2013, where he had set up a room for traditional speed dating.

While guests did seem to enjoy themselves and it served as a fast track for his friends and colleagues to get to know each other, those who were spoken for felt wary about joining in.

But they had plenty of reasons to talk, and so the idea for quickie "dating" for creative professionals was born.


Networking made easy

The classic idea behind speed dating is a series of brief encounters: encapsulated life stories, informing, and perchance enticing the conversation partner in all of 5 minutes.

As freelancers, most people in the creative industry rely greatly on networking, but not everyone has the time or energy to go to event after event, hoping to strike up a helpful conversation. CJSD aims to make this easier. Some were sceptical about the idea at the Sofitel event in June, but then again, how bad could it be?

The worst that can happen is that you spend a few minutes talking to someone you’ll never work with. And the best case scenario can be a new job or project, or simply inspiration. So far, the "speed dating" events have drawn between 20 and 80 people.


Polite pretention

Some call it "working the room" – roaming around, introducing yourself and striking up conversations. While perhaps pushy, this is a necessary evil as a creative freelancer. In the CJSD setting, it is not crass to brag about ideas or projects you are proud of.

Even asking professionally "personal" questions like "how much does that cost?" or "how much does your company rely on ad revenue?" is normal, even expected.

In the "waiting room", invitees said they actually got pitches for projects and ways to cooperate, simply because that’s what they were there for.

In September and October the team will be inviting fashion professionals to a Vienna-fashion-week-themed event, and in October it’s all about art, as Vienna is taken over by the VIENNAFAIR. So if you’re a designer, makeup artist, or fashion photographer – keep checking CJSD’s Facebook page for

future dates and venues.


Sept. & Oct. events for fashion and art professionals will be listed on CJSD’s

Facebook page:


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