How to Handle a Conditional Job Offer With Letter Examples

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You made it through the interview process, beat the competition, and now you’re the proud recipient of a job offer letter. There’s just one wrinkle: As you read the terms, you see that it’s a conditional job offer, contingent on completing one or more additional steps.

What is a Conditional Job Offer?

Depending on the job, you might be asked to undergo a background check, credit check, pre-employment physical, or drug or alcohol screening. You may need to complete these checks before your offer is valid, or you may have a set period of time (30 to 90 days, for example) in which to complete them after starting your job, during which time you’ll be a probationary hire.

In any case, failure to complete these requirements—or failure to pass them—can result in the company revoking the offer or terminating your employment.

Conditional job offers are not uncommon, but it's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of such an offer.


  • The employer values you and your skills.

  • Meeting conditions is often a matter of routine.

  • Even conditional job offers provide peace of mind.

  • An offer in hand can provide you leverage with other employers.

  • You don't have the job quite yet.

  • You might be unwilling or unable to meet conditions.

  • Deadlines might leave you feeling rushed.

Conditions Employers Can Place on a Job Offer

Most workers in the United States are employed at will, which means that their employers can terminate their employment for any reason, or no reason at all, provided that it isn’t discriminatory. Similarly, employers can revoke job offers for almost any reason—with a few exceptions.

What Employers Can Require

Employers can ask prospective employees to undergo various kinds of pre-employment screenings, including background and credit checks, pre-employment physicals, and drug screening. However, there are restrictions on how this information can be gathered and used during the employment screening process.

Limits on Conditions

For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates that employers must inform candidates in writing and get their written consent before conducting a credit check. In the event that the offer is revoked based on information discovered during the check, the FCRA requires employers to notify candidates and provide them with information on how to dispute the report.

Similarly, although it’s generally legal for employers to ask for a pre-employment physical once they’ve extended a conditional job offer, they require all applicants to undergo the same exam. The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits asking for a medical exam before making an offer.


It’s not common, but some states have exceptions to at-will employment in certain circumstances, including revoking a job offer. For more information, contact your state department of labor.

Conditional Job Offer Letters

Review an example of a conditional job offer letter, with details of the offer and an employee acceptance section.

Conditional Offer Letter Example

Jane Smith
Human Resources Director
Acme Corp
123 Main Street
Anytown, Nebraska, 68001

November 9, 2020

Joseph Sanchez
37 Maple Drive
Anytown, Nebraska, 68001

Dear Joseph,

Acme Corp is pleased to offer you the position of Business Analyst, contingent on completion of a background check and mandatory pre-employment drug screening.

This is a full-time, exempt position with a starting base salary of $_______. If you accept the offer, you will report to Kelly Quinn, Senior Business Analyst. This position has a start date of November 30, 2020.

Please see the attached job description and benefits package for details on your duties, health insurance, and retirement benefits, stock options, and eligibility for the bonus program.

If you agree to these terms, please sign below and return this letter in the next seven business days.


Jane Smith
Human Resources Director
Acme Corp

I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understood the terms and conditions of this conditional offer of employment, and I accept the offer. I understand that my employment with Acme Corp is considered at will, meaning that either party may terminate the employment relationship at any time.



How to Respond to a Conditional Job Offer

Don't wait to respond. Respond as quickly as possible to a conditional job offer. If you need more time to weigh other offers or consult with family members, ask for this time as soon as you can. Failure to respond in a timely fashion may cost you the job offer.

Include the following: a thank-you for the offer, your written acceptance, the terms and conditions of the offer, including the salary and job title, and the starting date.

Keep it professional. Follow the hiring manager’s lead in terms of tone and format. If they use a formal salutation, e.g., Ms. Johnson, in their offer letter, do the same in your response.

Return enclosures and attachments. Include all requested enclosures, such as a signed offer letter, noncompete agreement, or other information or documents listed in the offer.

Conditional Job Offer Acceptance Letter Example

Here's an example of a letter accepting a conditional job offer.

Sample Acceptance Letter

Joseph Sanchez
37 Maple Drive
Anytown, Nebraska, 68001

November 12, 2020

Jane Smith
Human Resources Director
Acme Corp
123 Main Street
Anytown, Nebraska, 68001

Dear Jane,

I’m excited to formally accept your offer of a position of Business Analyst at Acme Corporation, starting November 30, 2020. I’m looking forward to working with you and Kelly and getting to know the rest of the team at Acme.

As we discussed, my starting salary will be $________, and my benefits will be ______________.

I’ve enclosed my signed offer letter, and am happy to provide any other information that will be useful during the employment screening process. Please feel free to reach out to me on my cell at 555-555-5555 if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Joseph Sanchez

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  1. SHRM. “Conducting Background Investigations and Reference Checks.” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

  2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Discrimination by Type.” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

  3. The National Conference of State Legislatures. “At-Will Employment – Overview.” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

  4. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know.” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

  5. Federal Trade Commission. “Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know.” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

  6. SHRM. “Testing: Physicals: What are the Compliance Issues Involved in Conducting Pre-Employment Physical Examinations?” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

  7. The National Law Review. “Can an Employer Legally Withdraw a Job Offer after It’s Been Made?” Accessed Nov. 9, 2020.

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