“I had all my CVs in my bag."
A jobseeker set up a pop-up stand at Canary Wharf station in the hope of finding a job in banking and finance. It ended up paying off.
Haider Malik, aged 24, of Ilford, decided to head to Canary Wharf on the morning of November 2, 2021.
He had a first-class degree in banking and finance from Middlesex University. He had been searching for a job since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
However, Haider said he became frustrated with Zoom interviews as he could not showcase his personality properly.
Inspired by his father Mehmood Malik, a retired taxi driver who migrated from Pakistan as a teenager, Haider took a chance and got a job offer just days later.
He purchased a board from a stationary shop and stuck QR codes to it so people could easily view his CV and LinkedIn profile.
But when he arrived at the Zone 2 station at 6:45 am, the nerves began to set in.
Haider 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.”
He then decided to smile at commuters, prompting them to approach him.
Haider told MyLondon: “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.”
Some people gave words of encouragement but one person offered life-changing help.
“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.”
Within an hour of arriving at the station, Haider had handed out all of his CVs.
At 9:30 am, he received a message, asking him to come to an interview for a role as a treasury analyst at the Canary Wharf Group.
Haider continued: “I got a text message from the director of the department at about 9:30 am saying ‘come in for an interview at 10:30 am’.
“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 headed home but quickly realised his story had gone viral.
“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.”
Haider attended a second interview on November 5 at the Canary Wharf Group. That evening, he received a job offer, which he accepted.
Another reason he went to Canary Wharf was because of what he feels are unrealistic expectations for graduates to have work experience.
Haider continued: “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.”
On the man who posted his story on social media, Haider said:
“I wanted to get him some lunch to say thank you. It was really cool the way it happened – I took a chance.”