What Is a Conditional Letter of Employment?

By hrlineup | 22.04.2021

Recruiters go through several stages to find the right candidate to fill in a job position. Once the selection and interviews are complete, it is essential that the best applicants quickly receive an offer. At this juncture, applicants may be given a conditional letter of employment to start the hiring process. 

This is a contingent offer of employment, though it does have some criteria for fulfilment so that the applicant can take up the available position. Also, within this letter, there may be a list of conditions that the candidate should meet to commence their new job.

What is a Conditional Offer of Employment?

This is a job offer that provides essential details and requirements for the available position. This includes the job title, compensation and benefits, the date that employment will commence and what the employer expects from the new employee. With this letter, the final stages of the hiring process can begin as it communicates that the applicant has made the selection for the available position.

While the above outlines all that the conditional offer of employment is, it is worth noting what the conditional offer is not. The conditional offer is not an employment contract and reduces the legal obligations that the employer and employee have to each other. The job applicant will receive this type of offer as a letter.

Parts of the Conditional Offer Letter

Within the conditional offer letter, some of the conditions could include: –

  • Completion of the probation period without any incident
  • Submission of official transcripts for college qualifications and relevant certification documents
  • Agreement to carry out a background or drug check
  • Taking and completing required skill assessments
  • Proof of eligibility to work in the country

To ensure that applicants comply with the conditions of the employment letter, it may be necessary for them to sign documents giving the employer authorization to get the required information. When these conditions are not met, taking back the job offer is the likely result.

Conditional Offer of Employment Background Check

This is very common in most organizations. A conditional offer of employment background check is a job offer with background check conditions attached to it. The job applicant should satisfy these conditions to qualify. Such conditions include: 

  1. Medical screening
  2. Drug and alcohol examination
  3. Criminal background checks
  4. Employment history through reference checks
  5. Educational background checks

The employer will send this conditional letter to a candidate who, upon accepting, will allow the employer to conduct a background check on the candidate. Note that this letter is not an employment contract. However, it is still legally binding when the candidate signs it. After a background check is conducted and the candidate fails, this letter will no longer be valid since the candidate could not fulfil all the conditions. 

The conditional letter of employment communicates to the recipient that they are the first choice for the available job. However, it also allows the recruiter flexibility to select the next best individual if for any reason that conditions are not met. The advantage is that the employer is not yet legally bound to the applicant while ensuring that the offer can be withdrawn if necessary.

In the private sector, most successful job applicants are hired at will, which means that termination can happen when the employer sees fit. For this reason, conditional offer letters are not common in this sector. However, It is applicable in the public sectors such as the police department. This is due to the need to conduct thorough background checks as their positions in public not to be without reproach.

Conditional offer letters require timelines so that the conditions should be met. Allowing for 14 working days is ideal.


  • What does a conditional job offer mean?

A conditional job offer is like a job promise with conditions attached. When you fulfil those conditions, you qualify, and when you do not, the offer becomes invalid. 

  • Is a conditional offer of employment legally binding?

Yes. Whereas a conditional letter of employment is not a job contract, it is legally binding for as long as a candidate has fulfilled the conditions attached.

  • Can an employee withdraw from a conditional job offer?

Yes. If an employee feels like a conditional job offer is not fulfilling, they can withdraw since it hasn’t been signed into a contract. 

  • How do you respond to a conditional job offer?

The best way to respond to a conditional job offer is through the same means the offer was sent. If it’s via email, respond using email stating whether you accept it or not. 

  • Is a conditional offer good?

Yes. A conditional offer keeps you in the know of what to expect. Employers will also get the right candidates for their open positions. 

  • Can I accept two conditional offers?

Yes. Since a conditional job offer is still not a guarantee for employment, you can accept two. However, should you qualify on both sides, you will have to choose what favors you the most.