A view from Dave Trott: When old is newer than new
A view from Dave Trott

When old is newer than new

Haider Malik is 24, he got a First-Class Honours degree in banking and finance.

But he’s been unemployed for two years since he graduated.

He registered with all the recruitment agencies, he’s had interviews but no feedback.

Like everyone, he got really frustrated, he said: “Because a lot of events and career events are now online, you end up talking to hundreds of people and human interaction goes out of the window. There’s literally no interaction. You don’t meet people. You don’t know how to put yourself across, and so many barriers were created because of the pandemic, in terms of communication. So I really wanted to get myself out there and get myself out of my comfort zone.”

Like everyone, he was frustrated but the difference was he did something about it.

He knew where most of the big financial companies were.

So at 6.45am on Tuesday 2 November, he set up a pop-up stand outside Canary Wharf tube, the exact time those companies would be coming out of the station.

He just had an old-fashioned flipchart tripod.

On the tripod was a board saying: BSC BANKING & FINANCE, 1st CLASS GRAD.

Beneath that it read: LOOKING FOR – ENTRY-LEVEL ROLE OR GRADUATE SCHEME.

Beneath that: APPROACH FOR MY CV – ANY ADVICE – OR JUST TO CHAT

And beneath that were boxes with QR codes for either LinkedIn or his CV.

Plus, he was handing out dozens of copies of his CV.

Some stopped and chatted, some gave him their cards, some their phone number.

One particular guy, called Emmanuel, took a picture of him and put it on social media.

Meanwhile, at 9.30, he got a call from the 30th floor of Canary Wharf, asking him to come up for an interview at 10.30.

While he packed up his old-fashioned flipchart he checked his phone, there were at least 10 missed calls from different companies wanting to contact him.

Later, after he had his interview on the 30th floor, he checked again.

That’s when he found that the photograph had gone viral and there were now dozens and dozens of different companies and news sites wanting to contact him.

Over the next few days there were so many calls he had to get his family to help answer them all.

Meanwhile, the company on the 30th floor called him back for second interview and offered him a job.

So, by Friday 5 November, he was assistant treasury analyst at Canary Wharf Group property company.

While everyone else, who depended on the recruitment technology, still didn’t have jobs.

The lesson is you don’t depend on the latest tech to do the job for you.

Sometimes the old ways, a tripod, a flipchart, and human contact, can do things that technology can’t.

I tried to explain this once to a young graduate.

She’d been asked to do a speech and heard my speeches were good, so she called me to ask for advice on how to do it.

I said: “Personally, I always prefer to use a flipchart and markers.”

She said okay, she’d arrange to get that and hung up.

A few days later she called back and said: “I can’t find where to download flipchart.”

Which pretty much explains the problems of relying too much on technology.

Haider Malik got himself a job when two years of relying on technology failed.

That’s the great thing about doing it the old way – nobody else is doing it.

Whereas by outsourcing your thinking to the same technology as everyone else, you become the same as everyone else.

Blindly following technology will just make you part of the wallpaper.

Dave Trott is the author of The Power of Ignorance, Creative Blindness and How to Cure It, Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three

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