What is a Contingent Job Offer?


Recruitment processes in companies can consume precious time while duties related to the vacant post remain pending to the detriment of the organization. To resolve this, hiring managers may request the candidate to report for duties while the final stages of the recruitment process are ongoing. What is a Contingent Job Offer?

The word “contingent” implies that a certain set of conditions must be met to receive confirmation for something. Therefore, a contingent job offer is dependent upon a given set of conditions, and confirmation of this role will only occur when the requirements are met. Let us review some of these conditional job offer terms:


  1. Notarization

Some sensitive documents or certificates need to be certified by a legal agency to confirm their authenticity. This may be a statutory requirement in a given sector or country. Employers desire to act responsibly, they would want to stay clear of litigation cases, and as a result, they try to put all checks and balances to reduce these cases. They also want to make sure that the certificates are authentic so that the quality of services is not compromised once the candidate is on board. There are a lot of criminals in society who want to take advantage of any system including unsuspecting business owners; hence notarization reduces chances of fraud and forgery. The business owner can also rest easy knowing that he is dealing with a certified professional who needs little or no supervision.

  1. Medical Examination 

The health status of an employee may be required depending on the nature of the job or employer’s preference due to a variety of reasons including risk management. Some test results need a longer time than others during processing. Some jobs have harsh working conditions and anyone with a medical ailment may not be suitable to undertake them. For instance, in field engineering where the employee has to work at heights, or underground with limited air circulation. These companies want to avoid lawsuits and insurance claims for overlooking employee welfare. It is therefore mandatory for recruits to take medical exams. In addition, some roles have extremely strenuous training drills which need a highly physically fit individual to successfully practice them. These include law enforcement, the army barracks, navy seals, among others. They will strictly enforce their medical standards to preserve human life. In other cases, employees could be confined in one location for prolonged periods of time together. Here, the medical exam is important to prevent the spread of highly infectious diseases due to the confinement aspect.

  1. Drug Testing

The use of illegal drugs and alcohol while at work is restricted in all organizations since it violates both professional and ethical standards. It also impairs the workers’ ability to undertake their duties. The tests to determine whether or not an employee is using these substances require a waiting period from booking, to testing and reporting. Pharmaceutical companies and medical facilities will particularly be keen on this because the employees have access to medicines and chemicals that can easily be abused as alternatives to illegal drugs such as high doses of some analgesics. In addition, all jobs need high concentration while working hence no employer wants their standards compromised. Any person abusing these illegal substances will lack this attribute. In some cases, we can have employees who are from rehabilitation centers or programs for drug addiction. The employer acts as an accountability partner to ensure this person does not lose track of their life.

  1. Skill Endorsement

A candidate may be qualified by certification but whether or not they can apply the knowledge practically is a different story altogether. The employer might take on an employee on probation to see whether or not they can handle the work practically. Many job applicants tend to exaggerate their capabilities, especially on the resume just to get shortlisted. In some job environments, these “white lies” can mean loss of lives through tragic accidents. For instance, in the aeronautical industry, police force, medical field, just to mention a few. Therefore the employer needs simulation of the activities several times before onboarding this particular candidate.

  1. Police Clearance 

The employer may require the criminal history of the candidate to know who they are dealing with. Law enforcement departments usually take a while before releasing conclusive reports of citizens. There is usually a waiting period for these reports. This does not imply that candidates who have completed their term in corrective facilities are not eligible for employment. Rather, the idea is to detect persons that are aiding and abetting fugitives, whether or not they are actual fugitives themselves. These are people who are trying to escape law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The massive records of facial recognition and fingerprint databases with law enforcement can identify such persons and assist both the employer and public at large through “whistleblowing” and tracking these criminals down.

  1. Reference Checks

This involves contacting previous employers or supervisors to ascertain the character or behavior of the candidate. It may involve going to educational institutions and companies where the employee studied and worked respectively. These could be several locations and tracking down some of these officials may not be easy. The process may also need a substantial amount of time and resources. An employer wants to know the personality and behavioral tendencies of their potential worker. This helps to know their suitability in various departments of the company. For instance, can the person work under pressure, interpersonal skills, and teamwork, among others? Only someone who has dealt with an individual directly for a long period of time can give such information. On the other hand, the employer might also want to know whether or not the candidate actually attended a certain learning institution and graduated from it. Some candidates forge certificates hence the need for this process.

  1. Credit Reference 

These reports reveal your financial obligations in the past or currently and whether or not they are being honored or defaulted. Financial institutions such as banks will be keen on this type of candidate background since they often extend lending facilities to their own employees. A bad credit history more often than not reveals that a person is irresponsible or often lives beyond their means. No employer will want to be associated with such a character. It can also imply that the candidate will be prone to compromise to meet their debt burden such as fraud in the company. It is therefore important that we do not neglect our debts.

  1. Work Permit 

Full-time and permanent positions often require proof of citizenship; hence work visas are mandatory in such cases. These also have a predetermined waiting period. In most national legislations, citizens are given priority when it comes to employment, and only a small percentage is left for immigrants or refugees. To enforce this legislation, company policies have to include this clause in some shape or form in their handbooks. This is the genesis of work permits or visas. They ensure that only foreigners who have certain requirements are given opportunities to serve in the country and a given capacity. A candidate may have all the requirements and the permit may be delayed for a genuine reason at the government office. However, they can be given provisional waiting documents by the relevant government department to allow them to work as they wait. 

  1. Relocation

The office and home of the employee might be in different locations such as districts, countries, or even continents. The employee in this case may want to move with their family to meet work obligations. Moving an entire family is a complex and lengthy undertaking since it may involve children’s schools, finding a home, getting travel visas, and so forth. The employee may report for duty while all these arrangements are made.

  1. College Graduation

Most corporations have management trainee programs targeting fresh college and university graduates. Some percentage of the candidate pool may be winding up a few academic units in their final year, hence opting to work part-time until completion. In other cases, the process of arranging graduation by the respective educational institutions is lengthy. The candidate may not get their degree or diploma until after a certain waiting period.


  1. Termination – the candidate risks losing the job if they fail in meeting the conditions.
  2. Employee Benefits – the candidate is yet to be confirmed hence they do not have similar privileges to other staff members.
  3. Performance Level – the candidate may not give optimal input or commitment in the job since they are not sure of their employment status.
  4. Emotional Problems – the candidate may develop anxiety or depression during this review period.
  5. High turnover – the candidate may get a better offer without conditions during this review period. Since it is employment at will, the choice to move will be an easy one. 


  1. Hiring managers should ensure that recruiting processes are not prolonged unnecessarily to reduce the need for contingent job offers. They should ensure all requirements are met before offers are issued.
  2. Contingencies requested should be feasible and minimal to reduce the waiting period that the candidates have to go through. 
  3. Colleagues, supervisors, and HR departments should empathize with the candidate and offer emotional support when the need arises.
  4. Keen monitoring to ensure the process is not used as a discriminatory and abusive tool against the candidate.
  5. Development and adherence of policy that regulates and guides contingent job offers and the appropriate waiting period.


Contingent job offers are not as bad as they sound. With the right support, policies, and procedures the process is seamless and affected employees will hardly ever notice that they went through this waiting period. Candidates need not shy away from these offers since oftentimes it is merely an administrative control and not a way of violating employee rights. When all conditions of the contingent job offer letter are met, the candidate should be made aware and their new employment status confirmed in writing.


  1. Is there a difference between contingent and normal job offer letters?

The content of a contingent job offer letter is similar to the “normal” job offer letters issued by any human resources department. However, it will indicate the specific contingency required by the company, a time frame, and implications of failing to meet the requirements.

  1. What happens if I don’t agree with the contingencies issued in the job offer? 

Like many job offers, the decision to accept or decline the terms of engagement is entirely up to the candidate. It is advisable to seek legal advice before signing the offer letter to understand the implications of the conditions.


******* Company Letterhead *******

[Candidate Names]
[Postal Address]
[City, State, Country]

Dear Mr. /Ms. ………………….,
Following your interview last month, we are pleased to offer you the position of (insert job title) in our company. You will be reporting to (insert job title) in the (insert department title) with effect from (insert date).
You will receive a gross monthly salary of (insert currency and amount) subject to applicable state taxes and deductions.
Other terms and conditions of your employment are contained in the attached contract and job description.
This offer is contingent on a satisfactory reference check, receipt of notarized professional certificates, undertaking a medical exam, and processing of a police clearance certificate. The relevant documentation for each must be received before/on (insert date) to finalize your appointment.
If the terms and conditions are acceptable to you, sign and return a copy of the letter, contract, and job description to us no later than (insert date).
We look forward to working with you.

Yours sincerely,


[Job title]


Staff Acknowledgement
I accept the terms and conditions of this job offer.
Names: ………………………………………………………..
Signature: …………………………………………………….
Date: ……………………………………………………………
What is a Contingent Job Offer?

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