Man gets job after standing in Tube station with CVs and sign – and bagging an interview within three hours

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"My friends were saying 'why do you want to go and stand around outside like a homeless man? You've got a degree. You're going to look silly.'"

Man gets job after standing in Tube station with CVs and sign – and bagging an interview within three hours

Image: Haider Malik makes his pitch for a job outside Canary Wharf station. Pic: Haider Malik

After months of unreturned emails, rejection letters and disappointing Zoom interviews, Haider Malik felt he had tried everything in his efforts to launch his career.

But when he ignored friends’ taunts and set up at a Tube station with a sign and a handful of CVs, he secured an interview within three hours and his dream job a few days later.

“I had no idea this would happen and I was obviously nervous about doing it, but I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone,” he told Sky News.

He graduated from Middlesex University in July with a first-class degree in Banking and Finance, but had been repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to enter the industry through all the conventional routes.

Man gets job after standing in Tube station with CVs and sign – and bagging an interview within three hours

Image: Haider Malik and his father, Mehmood Malik. Pic: Haider Malik

So the 24-year-old turned up at Canary Wharf station, along with a board he attached two QR codes – linking to his CV and LinkedIn profile.

He said he had been inspired to do so by his father – a 67-year-old retired taxi driver who came to the UK from Pakistan as a teenager – having been laughed at by friends.

“When I said to him ‘I’m planning to go to Canary Wharf tomorrow’ and do this, he said that could be good and that I should give it a try.

“My friends were saying ‘why do you want to go and stand around outside like a homeless man? You’ve got a degree. You’re going to look silly.’

“I’d had so many emails back from potential employers saying ‘sorry, there are no opportunities at the moment’, or people just weren’t responding.

“I could just feel myself sinking.

“I decided I needed to just get out there and speak to people. So I went down there at 6.45am and set my stand up outside the station.”

He said he initially felt awkward standing there “empty-handed”.

“It was really cold and I think people were just looking at me thinking ‘this guy looks lost’,” he said.

“So I started just wishing people good morning as they came past and that got me speaking to people.”

He said the 50 copies of his CV he had taken with him had been handed out within an hour.

Man gets job after standing in Tube station with CVs and sign – and bagging an interview within three hours

Image: Haider at his new place of employment. Pic: Haider Malik

“People were being really positive, coming up to me and saying ‘well done’,” he said.

Unbeknown to him at the time, one of those passers-by had taken a photo of him and posted it on LinkedIn, prompting a huge response.

Someone at the Canary Wharf Group saw the image and passed Haider’s CV on to one of the company’s directors – who contacted him to offer him an interview at 10.30am that day.

“I went back to my car just to warm up and try and learn something about the company before the interview,” he said.

“It was on the 30th floor of the building and I was just looking out over Canary Wharf while I was waiting to go in, in a state of disbelief.”

He was called back for a second interview on Friday of that week, shortly after which he was offered the job of assistant treasurer.

“It was such an incredible moment,” he said.

“I just felt like punching the air. It was such a weight off my shoulders.”

“I’d applied for graduate scheme after graduate scheme. I got quite a few interviews but there was always about 30 candidates and three recruiters, and over Zoom video calls I think it’s really difficult to get your personality across.

“I’d given the traditional methods of getting a job a really hard go, if this was a boxing match I went 15 rounds out of 12.”

He said he was “really enjoying” his new role – and that he had even managed to win the approval of his biggest inspiration.

“My dad’s an old school chap and not someone who smiles too often, but I saw him smiling when he was reading a report about this, so it was nice to get that reaction from him,” he said.

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