A Nigerian man living in the UK has shared how life was difficult for him due to his inability to secure a job because of his Native Nigerian name which acted as a hinderance on his CV.
Inein Victor Garrick, 34, who was born in the southwest of Nigeria, began using his middle name after struggling to get any job interviews with his native name following his graduation from from South Wales University.
He said he noticed a change immediately he began using his middle name.
Speaking to Mirror.co.uk, he said: “I started using Victor as first name due to the barriers I faced whilst applying to jobs after university.
“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.
“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.”
Inein moved to the UK aged 22 and it was here that he began to experience people mispronouncing his name.
He said: “I didn’t mind at the time.
“I think the challenging aspect was people not making an attempt to get it right.
“People were calling me by my last name because it was easier.
“I 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.
“But the few calls I had, the starting point was that my name was quite tricky. To me it’s very simple, it’s five letters.
“That was always the start of the conversation, oh your name is difficult and then asking where I’m from.
“Again, there was always so many ways it could do.
“So I decided to put Victor as the first name on my CV, and within a week, I had numerous calls for job interviews.
“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?’
“So it got me through the first stage but then there was an uphill battle.”
Inein eventually started working with Transport for Wales, where he’s been ever since.
But he realised last year that he was “hiding part of himself” and decided to stop going by Victor.
Last October in Black History Month, Inein spoke to his colleagues about how he’d been going by his middle name.
He then formally reverted to his native name, changing everything including his email signature, with the company creating a phonetic template for employees to use.
He said: “I think it did really hit me. Last year, I almost felt like I hid a part of myself all those years.
“It wasn’t shame perse 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.”
Speaking about the impact it has had on his life, Inein says he feels “reborn” by using his first name again.
He said: “I hadn’t heard it in so long. I’ve been in the UK since 2009 and besides my immediate family, no one’s ever called me by my first name, until the last year.
“So when you think about it, you can’t believe it’s been that long.
“There’s a lot of joy but there’s also a bit of sadness as well that is taken that long.”