A jobseeker set up his own pop-up stand on a Tuesday morning, got an interview within three hours and had a new job by the end of the week.
Haider Malik, 24, decided to head to Canary Wharf in east London on the morning of November 2 hoping to find a position in banking and finance.
With a first-class degree in banking and finance from Middlesex University London, Mr Malik had been searching for a role since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
But he said he became frustrated with Zoom interviews where he couldn’t properly showcase his personality.
Inspired by his father Mehmood Malik, 67, a retired cab driver who migrated from Pakistan as a teenager, Mr Malik took a chance and within days he had secured a job offer.
He said: ‘The first five minutes or 10 minutes I felt nervous because I was standing there empty-handed.
‘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.’
Haider Malik, 24, pictured, set up a pop-up stand outside Canary Wharf station seeking a job in banking. Mr Malik handed out copies of his CV to commuters and had QR codes so people could download his information
Within hours of erecting his pop-up stand, Mr Malik was invited to interview at the Canary Wharf Group, who later offered him his dream job
Mr Malik said he was inspired by his father Mehmood Malik, who arrived in Britain from Pakistan
Instead, Mr Malik, of Seven Kings, Ilford changed the plan and began smiling at people, engaging them in conversation and handing out copies of his CV.
Ahead of his trip to Canary Wharf, Mr Malik purchased a board from a stationery shop in Romford and attached QR codes to it so people could easily download his CV and view his LinkedIn profile.
He began his morning job seeking at 6.45am to catch the early commuters arriving at Canary Wharf station.
Mr Malik said: ‘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.’
While some people gave words of encouragement, one person on their way to work offered life-changing help.
Mr Malik 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”.
‘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.’
Mr Malik, pictured at the Darren Lehman Cricket Academy in Pakistan said he
The graduate had given out all of his CVs within an hour of arriving at the station and 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.
Mr Malik 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, Mr Malik went back to his car to head home but quickly realised his story had gone viral on social media.
Mr Malik 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.
‘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.’
Mr Malik attended a second interview on Friday November 5 at the Canary Wharf Group and that same evening he was offered a job.
Mr Malik 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.’
Mr Malik said another reason he felt motivated to go to Canary Wharf was because of what he feels are unrealistic expectations for graduates to have work experience.
Mr Malik 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, Mr Malik’s plan worked and he decided to thank the man who had posted his story on social media by taking him to lunch.
Mr Malik said: ‘I wanted to get him some lunch to say thank you.
‘It was really cool the way it happened – I took a chance.’