Conditional Job Offers

By Andrew Willis
19 Sep 2019

The job process can be a long-winded one for all involved. From creating the job specification to interviewing, background checking and other related activities. It can take weeks or months before you make an offer to an applicant.

During this stage, you can make a conditional or unconditional job offer. The latter isn’t based on any conditions.

Once a candidate accepts your terms, it’s a legally binding contract of employment between yourself and the applicant.

In this piece, as well as defining a conditional job offer, we’ll also explore the process for making it.


What is a conditional job offer?

It’s an offer of employment that’s based on an applicant meeting certain criteria or requirements. If accepted, it means they’d need to meet these conditions before commencing employment.

In most cases, you’ll base these conditions on the needs of the specific role and its responsibilities. Examples of contractual conditions include:

  • Drug tests.
  • Gaining specific qualifications (educational or professional body).
  • Medical examination (mental or physical).
  • Credit check (depending on industry or institution).
  • Satisfactory references (education and professional).
  • Successful completion of criminal background checks.
  • Eligibility to work in the UK (passport, residence permit, birth certificate etc.).

There’re instances where applicants respond to a job offer negotiating conditions. In these cases, you may reconsider the conditions of employment.

However, to avoid claims of discrimination, the conditions should be consistent for all applicants. It’s important to remember the individual isn’t officially your employee until they’ve met all conditions set out in the offer.

It’s worth noting that either conditional or unconditional the employment contract may include wording relating to the successful completion of a probation period.

This clause means your employees would need to spend a specified period (normally anything from one to six months) in your employ before gaining a permanent contract.


Withdrawing a conditional offer

While it could be unlawful to withdraw an unconditional job offer after the applicant has accepted it, the case differs for conditional contracts.

It’s not uncommon for a potential employee to have their conditional job offer withdrawn. In most cases, it’s because they didn’t fulfil the conditions set out in the offer.

You should tread carefully though. If they meet the conditions you set out but decide to withdraw the offer, you may be in breach of contract and open to tribunal proceedings.

While you aren’t required to inform applicants of the reasoning behind the decision, it’s good practice to do so in other to maintain good relations.


Conditional job offer letter sample

It’s beneficial to have a template letter you can use when making job offers. It eliminates inconsistencies and encourages fairness.

Below we’ve provided a job offer letter with conditions you can adapt and use for your organisation.


*Template start*

[Employer name]

[Employer address]


Dear [employee name],

[Company name] is pleased to make you a conditional offer for the position of [job title].

Your assignment is contingent on the result of:

  • Feedback from your professional references.
  • Criminal background checks.
  • A medical examination.

This is a full-time position with a starting base salary of [amount]. If you accept the offer, you will report to [name of line manager], [manager’s position]. This position has a start date of [starting date].

Please see the attached job description and benefits package for details on your duties, health insurance, and pension and requirements for eligibility for our bonus program.

If you agree to these terms, please sign below and return this letter on or before [date].


[Employer name]

[Employer position]

*Template ends*

Disclaimer: This is a general conditional job offer letter. Remember to amend for your organisation before use. Croner takes no responsibility for the misuse of this template.


Expert advice

If you’d like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Croner on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.





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