An ambitious job seeker who “took a chance” and set his own pop-up stand in central London managed to clinch an interview within three hours and landed a new job by the end of the week.
Haider Malik, 24, decided to head to Canary Wharf in the early hours of the morning on 2 November 2 in the hopes of finding a position in banking and finance, MyLondon reports.
Inspired by his father Mehmood Malik, 67, a retired cab driver who migrated from Pakistan as a teenager, he bought a board from a stationery shop and stuck QR codes to it so people could easily view his CV and LinkedIn profile.
Haider, who has a first-class degree in Banking & Finance from Middlesex University, had been searching for a role since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, but became frustrated with Zoom interviews where he couldn’t properly showcase his personality.
But when he arrived at the bustling station at 6.45am, nerves began to kick in as he stood and watched crowds walk by.
He said: “The first five minutes or 10 minutes I felt nervous because I was standing there empty handed.
Haider Malik (right), from Seven King, Ilford, east London, pictured with his father, Mehmood Malik
“I found it really awkward. I didn't know what I was doing, I found it really weird.
“I had all my CVs in my bag. I was standing there empty handed trying to look at people and hoping to meet people rather than being proactive and speaking to them.”
Instead, he decided to take a different approach and began smiling and initiating conversations with people on their way to work. Soon enough, passersby began to engage with him.
He continued: “I held my CV in my hand and I was just saying good morning to people, just trying to engage people in a conversation.
“A lot of people gave me their cards, they gave me their phone numbers, and started talking to me.”
Amid words of encouragement from passersby, one person on their way to work offered life-changing help.
Haider said: “There was one person called Emmanuel who actually posted a picture of me online.
“He actually came up to me, he put his hand out and said ‘I wish you well’.“
Haider landed a job at the Canary Wharf Group after promoting himself outside Canary Wharf Tube station
He said he wanted to do something similar two years ago but he didn't have the courage to do it.
“He was happy that I put myself forward to do it and that he wanted to share a picture of me on LinkedIn.”
Within an hour of arriving at the station, Haider had given out all his CVs. By 9.30am, he received a message asking him to come to an interview for a role as a Treasury Analyst at the Canary Wharf Group.
He said: “I got a text message from the director of the department at about 9.30am saying 'come in for an interview at 10.30am’.
“I had my car in the car park so I took the board and took all my stuff. I was like ‘wow, this is crazy’.
“They interviewed me on the 30th floor of a building and I'm overlooking Canary Wharf thinking ‘wow, I never expected to be interviewed here let alone potentially about to get a job’.”
After the interview, Haider went back to his car to head home to find that his story had gone viral on social media.
He said: “That same day my life changed because when I got back in the car to go home after my interview, I checked my phone and I had about 10 missed calls from loads of different numbers.
“I didn't know that the LinkedIn post went viral straight away and my number was on my CV so people were scanning it and calling me.
Haider Malik (right), pictured playing cricket at the Darren Lehman Cricket Academy in Pakistan
“For the first three days my phone was non-stop ringing, it never stopped ringing and LinkedIn was really busy.
“It was going crazy and I had to have my family help me to respond to DMs and get in contact with people.”
Haider attended a second interview on Friday, 5 November at the Canary Wharf Group and that same evening he was offered a job.
He said: “The first interview was the same day, which was a Tuesday morning, and then I got a second interview on Friday.
"And then by Friday evening they were happy with me and I accepted the role."
He said one reason he had chosen to go straight to Canary Wharf was because of what he feels are unrealistic expectations for graduates to have work experience.
He said: "Recruiters ask for two years experience and you've just come out of university and you're not meant to have that.
"That's one of the other reasons I went out [to Canary Wharf] as well.”
With a lot of determination, a bit of luck and help from a stranger, Haider's plan worked and he decided to thank the man who had posted his story on social media by taking him to lunch.
He said: “I wanted to get him some lunch to say thank you.
“It was really cool the way it happened – I took a chance."