By Emmanuel Nduka
A NIGERIAN living in the United Kingdom (UK), Inein Victor Garrick, has narrated how his decision to remove his native name from his CV triggered multiple job offers for him.
34-year-old Garrick who was born in Southwest Nigeria, currently works as a Safety Inspector at Transport for Wales.
Speaking with Mirror UK, he said he began using his middle name Victor after struggling to get job offers years after graduating from South Wales University in the UK.
“I never seemed to get past the first application stages even though on paper, I had all the necessary requirements for at least an interview.
“In addition, the few calls I had, the recruiters had an issue in saying my first name correctly.
“I started using Victor’s as first name due to the barriers I faced whilst applying to jobs after university.
“With comments like your name is difficult or hard to pronounce. I always felt I was on the backfoot and sent some unconscious bias.
“The moment I changed to my middle name Victor, on my CV, within a week, I had multiple calls for interviews,” Garrick said.
When he moved to the UK aged 22, he began to experience people mispronouncing his name.
At first this did not bother him, but it started getting challenging because people were not making attempts to get his name right.
Rather than call him Inien, people choose to him Victor – his last name because it was easier to pronounce.
Garrick said he “really felt the effect of it when I was trying to get a job. On paper, I had the necessary qualifications to at least get an interview.”
“That was always the start of the conversation, oh your name is difficult and then asking where I’m from.
“But when I got to the interview stage, I’d answer when they call out my name and I’d be asked again, almost like ‘are you sure that’s you?” he added.
The Nigerian however, feels he was “hiding part of himself” and has decided to stop going by Victor and return to his Nigerian name.
“I think it did really hit me. Last year, I almost felt like I hid a part of myself all those years,” he said, adding that “It wasn’t shame per se but I wasn’t my true self.”
“People would hear Victor and assume I was British or English and I wasn’t highlighting my true identity.
“I’m proud of where I’m from and I think I hid behind Victor. This opened that door to talk about Nigeria and my cultural heritage, it’s a fantastic conversation starter,” he added.