You conduct several rounds of screening to hire the best candidate. However, hiring doesn't just end with candidate selection. You must offer the candidate the job.
This isn't as simple as informing them.
You must offer the letter of employment that encompasses all details relevant to the role they're filling in. the candidate must be well-informed before they hop in.
Employment offer letters can be of two types - conditional and unconditional - depending on whether you require further verifications or not.
This guide throws more light on the whats and whys of the conditional offer of employment.
What is a Conditional Offer of Employment?
A job offer that entails some conditions to be fulfilled by the candidate before being hired by the employer is called a conditional or contingent offer of employment.
These conditions or contingencies are the only things that stand between your chosen employee and their onboarding. You can view them as the final round of screening before you can finally let the candidate through your gates.
Why Should Employers Prefer a Contingent Offer of Employment?
While it does involve a few more steps in your hiring process, it is still better to offer contingent offers. Let me explain.
The contingent offer letters provide in detail the terms and conditions of the offer and what is expected of the candidate. It leaves no room for doubt.
On the other hand, non-contingent offers are considered as incomplete wherein you cannot be sure if the candidate understood those conditions. Also, you might skip some essential aspects of the role leading to miscommunications and dissatisfaction.
Contingent offers stand compliant to the prevailing labor laws as the role of the candidate is clearly specified. You cannot be sure if the same is clear in a non-contingent offer letter.
Not only does that lead to chaos but it can also brew complexities on the legal front. Non-compliance to the labor laws is seen as a severe offense and you might end up facing litigation.
We strongly recommend you choose contingent offer letters to ensure clarity in communication and to stay compliant with local labor laws.
How to Draft a Contingent Employment Offer Letter?
Like any usual offer letter, a contingent employment offer letter contains all the essential details of the role being offered. Adding to those details will be a section of contingencies that the candidate must satisfy.
Let us boil down the essentials you should enclose in your conditional employment offer letter.
Job title and description
Start with the basics. Enclose everything that communicates what the candidate is up for. Leave no room for doubts.
Be sure to include:
- The job title
- Job nature enclosing whether the role is: full-time or part-time / remote or hybrid
- A brief job summary that states the duties the role holds
- Who would they be reporting to?
- Worksite information, etc.
Finally, be sure to include that the offer letter and their duties are subjected to change. Also, throw in a disclaimer that it only holds good when the contingencies are cleared.
Mere verbal confirmation of crucial dates is as good as no communication. Hence, ensure you include them in your offer letter.
The important dates would be:
- the last date for accepting your contingent employment offer letter
- the date of verification of the contingencies
- the last date for submission of verification details (physical examination reports, documents, drug tests, etc.)
- date of joining, etc.
It is best practice to tabulate them in the offer letter. Tabulation highlights the dates and ensures that the candidate remembers them.
Their salary is the best compensation the employee gets.
Enclose their complete annual package, their gross and net monthly incomes detailing the salary breakups. For part-timers, it is best to include hourly rates and when the payments will be done (after completion of projects or after fixed timespan).
What other compensations your company offers?
The candidate must be aware of the perks of becoming your employee. Benefits get them more interested in joining your company and motivate them to work harder after becoming a part of your team.
Some usual benefits covered by employers are:
- Annual incentives and bonuses
- Stocks in your company
- Health coverage plans
- Insurance plans for the individuals and their dependents
- Paid Holidays
- Paid-time offs
- Team trip allocations, etc.
Remember to mention that compensation (and benefits) might be subjected to modification and is at your company’s discretion.
The offer letter must describe to the candidate, the core values of your company, and you function together as a single entity. The company's policies and culture give them a headstart on those.
It is easy to muddle it up by including all your policies. But that isn't the goal.
By explaining your company’s culture and policies, you should strive to explain your vision to your employee. This section is to help them identify and relate to you in terms of goals and if their goals align with yours. Creating numbered lists of the policies that pillar the working of your organization can help you keep things crisp and to the point.
Again, be sure to disclose that the policies are subjected to revisions and are at your discretion.
Your company culture defines you who you are and what you stand for as an employer. Highlighting your work environment and culture prepares employees to embrace and get acquainted with it earlier.
You can also add a few words on how excited you are to get them on board and work with them. Including this section makes them feel welcome. After all, excitement is contagious.
Sliding through what they can expect of you, we finally arrive at what you should enclose to let them know your terms and conditions.
The statement of at-will employment means that the company or the employee can terminate the arrangement at any time.
This section lets them know that there are no binding contracts and both the parties are entering the agreement of their own will, purely for informational purposes. You can also disclose your termination or resignation policies. However, avoid words of assurance or promises in this section.
Your employees gain access to all the insider information about your company. Data Leakage can cause legal complexities and severe damage to your business and your reputation.
Thus, the confidentiality agreement is one of the must-have sections in your contingent employment offer letter. It prohibits them from using your information for their personal benefit.
List of contingencies
Until now, we covered the sections that are common to any employment offer letter. The list of contingencies that they must fulfill differentiates the contingent employment offer letter from the rest.
The section must start with a disclosure that the offer holds good if and only if these contingencies are satisfied. Spell out the terms to give clarity and prevent any misconception.
This brings us to the next question.
What Contingent Conditions can you Include?
You don't have a pre-defined set of conditions that you can directly include. There is no rulebook.
You frame your contingencies based on your company’s policies and the position you're looking to fill. You can also cross-check with the specific requirements of the country you are hiring from, to ensure you cover all the bases.
Some generic contingent conditions that you can include are:
- Satisfactory background checks
- Passing the drug and alcohol tests
- Successful verification of the authenticity of the documents provided
- Satisfactory results on physical examination
- Valid reference checks, etc.
Apart from these, some roles require the fulfillment of some role-specific conditions.
A role that requires the employee to travel around would require a license and passport verifications. A job role requiring physical strength and fitness, like that of a pilot, might mandate a physical fitness examination.
You must include a space for signature to confirm that the candidate has read all of the above contingencies and provides consent to let you verify.
Can an Employer Withdraw a Conditional Offer Employment?
Yes. A conditional offer of employment offers the leverage to revoke the offer letter at your own accord, the edge your hiring strategy needs.
The first case is when the conditions in the offer aren’t met. The purpose of contingency offer letters is to ensure the candidate satisfies them. Thus, in such cases, withdrawal of conditional offer of employment letter only seems logical.
The at-will statement provided earlier comes useful here as the candidate is aware that if they fail to satisfy the conditions, the offer becomes invalid.
You also have the right to revoke the offer for any non-discriminatory reasons. A best practice is to disclose the reason for rejection.
However, make sure that you do not contradict any labor laws or that your reasons seem discriminatory. Gender discrimination and marital discrimination are not tolerated in several countries and are considered severe offenses.
Advantages of a Conditional Job Offer
Hiring talents who bring in more value is the goal. The conditional offer of employment scouts out several advantages to help you onboard the best fit.
Gives you consent to verify the essential details
People are fighting against non-consent every day. Consent has waxed out to be an elementary clause in any agreement.
Indeed, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was created to regulate customer consent. According to the act, you can perform background verifications, validation of candidate details only after they give the nod.
Including the contingencies as clauses in your conditional offer of employment is the best approach. This lets them know that these conditions are essential for the role and gives them the option to accept or reject the conditional offer.
Confirm a candidates qualification
In hiring, compromising on quality is a big no. The background and other morale checks help you assess if they are completely qualified and fit perfectly with your company culture.
Further, if the job role requires a physical examination, the test lets you know if the candidate is fit enough for the job role.
Assess their work attitude
You have selected the candidate based on several factors. However, checking with their previous employers and other contacts will let you ensure they have a healthy attitude towards work. Eventually, healthy work only comes from a healthy attitude.
Pre-determine the risks involved
Know what you're getting onto.
Hiring a candidate is accepting to partner with them for a substantial amount of time. Thus, verifications help you assess the risks the candidate brings along with them. You can then make decisions based on that.
Disadvantages of a Conditional Job Offer
A few drawbacks might arise if the candidate is not expecting a conditional employment offer letter.
Failing to meet the conditions
The main downside of the contingent employment offer letter is that the chosen candidates fail to meet the conditions. In that case, the entire process becomes futile and you have to start again from scratch.
Sometimes, you might have to let go of even the most fitting candidate because they fail to fulfill not all, but some conditions. In such cases, you might want to revisit your conditions, re-evaluate if they are trivial, might not affect your work, and then decide accordingly.
Unwilling to join the organization
On the other side, despite fulfilling all the conditions, the candidate might not be willing to join your company. Again, this drains you of both time and money.
Risk of discrimination
Some conditions might come across as discriminating or affect the sentiments of a few. You need to steer clear of such controversial contingencies. They have the potential to cause severe legal actions against you.
Be meticulous while constructing your conditions. Ensure that they are strictly framed around the job role and the values of your company.
Staying cautious and getting their consent is thus crucial.
The contingent offer of employment adds additional screening steps and lets you confirm if the selected candidates fit perfectly with your work culture and values.
While the conditional offer of employment is valuable and convenient, it is important to communicate them clearly. Incomplete agreements fail to clarify your terms and lead to miscommunication that can even scale up to legal complexities.
Drafting holistic, all-inclusive agreements and contracts is a requisite. However, this requires you to spend an ample amount of time, money, and labor, a luxury for most.
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