Tentative Job Offer- What Does It Mean and What To Do?

Tentative Job Offer: What Does It Mean? What To Do?

A tentative job offer refers to the preliminary job offer provided to an employee by an employer. However, unlike regular job offers, tentative job offers may not always lead to employment.

The reason they provide such an offer is to have various candidates whom they will choose. Then, through various testing, your employer will decide if they want to hire you for a position.

What exactly is A Tentative Job Offer?

The word ‘tentative’ means not fixed or subject to change. Hence, a tentative offer simply refers to an unfixed offer that firms provide to the candidates before hiring them. The offer is on the table, but it does not lead to any confirmed employment. Confirmed employment only happens after signing or accepting a formal letter.

But as it is with most, the offer is variable depending on the firm or the position. So it is essential to understand the regulations or meaning of your specific tentative offer and then answer accordingly.

A tentative offer might mean that you get selected for the position, and the firm needs to do some tests and check on your profile and skills to see if you are a perfect fit for it or not. On the other hand, lightweight also means that the company wants you to wait until their applications are all gone through. They then select you or your fellow candidates for the job, depending on your skills.

Why are Tentative Job Offers Made?

Again, the reasons for a tentative job offer made by a firm broadly vary in their nature. Your work requirements, skill set, performance, and other factors may influence it. Nevertheless, here are some of the main reasons a company might make a tentative offer:

  • The firm may make a tentative offer when the application review process isn’t complete. Usually, while hiring, companies go through each resume and decide which candidate to choose. But sometimes, candidates catch the eye of the employer, and they get shortlisted as probable candidates. 

The offer does not mean you hired yet; it only means that you are their top or one of their top choices. It ensures perfect candidates do not leave and gives them a ray of hope helps candidates wait for the application process to end. 

  • The firm may make a tentative offer when they like your skills but haven’t reviewed your details yet. Of course, many firms love candidates through their skill sets or presentation, but that is not all the hiring process. They also need to check the background and other proceedings of a candidate before hiring them. 

So a firm might send you a tentative offer solely based on your performance on the interview or assessment. But, again, it is to let you know that they would love to hire you if you pass the further tests and checks. But, again, it does not mean that you are employed; there is only a very high possibility of it.

  • The firm may make a tentative offer as a prior routine to formal job offers. Some firms immediately send tentative offers to candidates they appreciate. They might even do it as a part of their standard hiring process. It means that they want to convey that the candidate will need to perform in other tests and, upon passing, will be hired.

What to Do When You Receive a Tentative Offer?

Now that we know about tentative job offers let’s see how to go about with them. There are multiple things you should keep in mind while deciding or replying to a tentative offer. These points will help you evaluate if you should rely on the offer too.

Discuss Details

Even if you receive a tentative offer, it’s essential to decide details, including your pay, working hours, etc. Discussing details ensures that you become aware of all the responsibilities and perks of the work. And do not hesitate to negotiate the pay or working timings if you feel the need.

Sometimes, when people don’t discuss such details initially, they might change these variables too. So even though nothing decide, ask about the details regarding your work. Be informed even though you might not take up the offer.

Show Appreciation

Whether you receive the tentative offer through an e-mail or any other form, make sure to reply positively. You should always thank your potential employer for presenting the offer to you. These small gestures go a long way when it comes down to the final decision.

Even if they have given you ample time to think about it, you should reply and thank them after receiving the offer. And even though you do not accept the tentative or final offer, make sure to show some appreciation like you would for a formal one.

Figure it Out Slowly

Generally, accepting a tentative offer is ideal since it is not precisely binding and is still an introductory offer. However, it’s great to ponder over these decisions before doing anything. Take your time to figure out what you want to do with the request.

You should also measure your pros and cons regarding the work and then see if you should accept the offer or not. Usually, companies provide some time for the candidates to think about the proposal. However, if your firm doesn’t do that, you can politely request them to give you some time to think about it.

Even After Accepting, Do Not Depend On It

Even if you have received a tentative offer, do not rely solely on that firm. As mentioned before, uncertain job offers not to fix whatsoever. They might change over time and depend on your performance. You might even cancel them altogether if the post gets removed from the firm.

So until you receive a formal offer, including a contract or an offer letter, make sure to keep your options open. Keep looking for other jobs and participate in other application processes until the review period is over.

Don’t Quit Your Current Work.

One of the biggest problems with accepting or even receiving such offers is that many people confuse them with a regular job offer and quit work. For example, let’s assume that you have this inspiring firm you want to work with, firm A. Your current firm is not as intriguing as your dream one, so you apply for a post at firm A. 

They send you a tentative offer; you accept and quit your job immediately. However, you fail to pass the tests, or the position gets removed due to a lack of funding in the firm. Now, what will you do?

The above example shows how haste may lead you to make poor choices in case of such offers. Therefore, even though you have accepted a tentative offer from a firm, wait for the actual formal job offer to arrive before handing in your previous job resignation.

Are Tentative Offers Risky?

Yes, tentative offers are generally risky because they are variable. Since there is no fixed outcome or decision from the employer yet, you can’t just assume how it will go. So receiving such offers and accepting them is not a big deal, but solely relying on them might be risky.

It is best to keep your options open even though you receive and accept a tentative offer from a firm. Whether you are unemployed and trying out for work in multiple firms or a worker looking for better opportunities, it is best to assume the worst. However, if you plan with the possibility that you might not make it through, you will still have a stable job or further options to pursue.

So take care while responding to tentative offers, and if you follow the above steps, you will be able to respond well. After responding, you need to perform the tests and sit back and hope for the best.


Tentative offers are the previous job offers made to the candidates when nothing fix. Their nature is to be variable, and they do not confirm your position. While they are convenient for firms to shortlist their candidates, things may get confusing for candidates.

All you need to do is reply to the offer after considering all the work details and wait for the result to come out. In the meantime, you can either resume work or continue looking for more opportunities just in case things go south.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Should I accept a tentative offer?

You should consider the merits and demerits of the work to decide your answer. It is safe to accept tentative offers, as long as you do not depend on them solely.

  1. Does a tentative offer guarantee the job?

No, unfortunately, a tentative offer does not guarantee your position. It is merely an introductory offer that gets followed by tests and evaluations.

  1. Is it possible to withdraw a tentative offer?

Yes, a firm might withdraw the tentative offer if you fail the assessment or tests. It is also possible if the firm removes the position altogether.

Tentative Job Offer- What Does It Mean and What To Do?

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