I'm in the process of getting a new job. I've had a several phone interviews, and I have several in-person interviews lined up. I work in IT. I've been asked why I want to leave my current employer. I mention safety issues due to the location, which is a legitimate reason, because I've been threatened multiples times walking to work, a co-worker was assaulted, and I was once very late due to a murder in the garage I pay several hundred each month to park in (I don't mention those examples though). I also mention the location due to a lack of on-site parking and a lack of adjacent public transportation. However, there is a lot of nepotism that goes on at my current job. Some (out of many possible) examples are:

  • People who have been promoted into IT from operations or customer service did not receive a pay raise, but people who got into sales, marketing, or accounting from those departments got a significant 20%+ raise.
  • Some groups/departments get semi-annual and quarterly raises, which are larger than the annual raises of other departments.
  • Some random employees get their parking paid for in an adjacent parking garage, which is a very expensive perk.
  • Overtime is handled in an unethical manner. Some employees get overtime only after they hit the number of working hours for the month. Other employees of some departments get 2.5x time if they work past 5 PM, or if they work on a Saturday regardless of hours worked.

The Question

Is it okay to mention managerial favoritism as a reason for seeking a new job? Should I dive into specifics if asked?

  • 2
    FYI, nepotism means "the act of favoring one's relatives". What you give as example is nepotism if the people are relatives of the granting manager.
    – L.Dutch
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 5:21
  • Do the answers to this question help you? Why is it not a good idea to "badmouth" a previous employer? Would you be able to discuss the nepotism in the interview without it sounding like badmouthing?
    – Masked Man
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 6:27
  • @L.Dutch, No, nepotism means "the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs." so it can apply to friends, but I agree, if user441767 had to leave a review on glassdoor, I'd call it "blatant favoritism and every day unequal treatment of employees", not necessarily "nepotism". Commented May 31, 2018 at 7:11

3 Answers 3


Unless they specifically ask "was there nepotism at your workplace" I'd leave it. Those other reasons are more than enough to want to leave anyway without having to risk appearing to badmouth your previous employer.

  • 1
    I agree with this. You can't really talk about these forms of nepotism without appearing resentful that you've not had the same treatment.
    – user44108
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 6:52
  • Exactly this. There's nothing to be gained by talking about the nepotism issues and plenty to be lost by appearing to badmouth the ex-employer.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 7:50

Truth can have many layers.

You can say "safety issues due to the location" and "lack of advancement opportunities within my department". Basically, you can say the truth without needing to go into details.

If you want to give out details, do it on glassdoors and leave a review. Other prospective job-hunters will appreciate your inside information, which will permit them to ask questions about overtime and demand that the specifics be written down in their offer letter or in their contract.

In fact, that may have been what happened for the special perks you speak of. If someone needs their parking paid at an adjacent lot, the best time to ask for such a perk is at the time you're getting hired (not afterwards).

As to different departments getting different pay, that can be pretty normal. In one company I worked in, the Sales department was the revenue generator of the company, the people working in that department were paid a lot more and totally pampered by the company.

Unfortunately, IT departments and HR departments are often seen as cost centers, not as revenue generators.


Think of an interview as an exam. Just to frame your thinking a little: the purpose of an interview is to establish a little more about you and your character, and what your ideas, concerns and expectations are around the potential post on offer.

Generally in an interview you want to project a positive and enthusiastic affect and minimise negative traits because your non-verbal cues are being subconsciously picked up and influence interviewer thinking (and therefore scoring) without them realising.

Raising nepotism as an issue in an interview is likely to demonstrate negative traits and body language - so it's best avoided at best. At worst - you can find yourself in a very sticky situation having to explain your thoughts which can be perceived as slander if not backed up by evidence.

I would frame the question into the positive: think of the question as 'what do you want to see in your new employment that you didn't see in your old position?'

I'd personally opt for an answer which goes: 'In my current role I am responsible for X, but I'm really looking forward to taking on a job which would enable me to develop my skills doing Y'.

Instead of projecting a negative view of your old employer, you're turning your answer into a positive view of why you're looking at the interviewer's job. You can then expand on why Y is so great, and/or why you realise working for the new company will be great for meeting your needs there.

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