If you’ve just received a job offer, you’re likely excited about the prospect of starting a new job. However, if you’ve just received a contingent job offer, also referred to as a conditional job offer, it may be too early to start celebrating. As the name implies, such job offers are contingent on certain criteria being met. In some cases, the contingencies attached to job offers are merely formalities, but other times they can present real challenges to landing a job.

Typical Contingencies

Many employers often make contingent job offers to a candidate they want to hire but have not yet conducted a criminal background or reference check or ordered a drug test. Such job offers are contingent on traditional preemployment checks going through without a hitch. Unless you lied on your application or résumé, or have reason to think you won’t pass a drug test, these contingencies can be considered procedural formalities.

Other Contingencies

Some jobs may require that candidates be in good health, so employers may issue job offers contingent on candidates passing physical exams. In those cases, employers must complete all other, non-medical hiring procedures before extending a job offer. Other jobs may require that candidates work from a specific location, so the offer may be contingent on relocating. If a job requires that you drive a company vehicle, you may need to pass a motor vehicle department check to ensure you don’t have any negative marks on your driving record. In some cases, something as simple as a bad credit score may disqualify you from a job.

Staffing Agency Contingencies

In some cases, your job offer may be contigent on third-party approval. This may apply if you get a job through a consulting or staffing agency, for example. The agency may approve your application for a specific job with one of its clients, but the client may need to approve your application before you can start work with them. If you get client approval, the agency will hire you, subject to any other contingency terms.

Proper Response

When you receive a contingent job offer, acknowledge the offer and thank the employer. Review the terms of the offer with the employer to ensure you fully understand them. Depending on what the contingency is, you may or may not have to take any further action. For instance, you may simply have to wait until the employer conducts the appropriate checks. On the other hand, you may be required to provide a blood or urine sample, undergo a drug test or sign a document stating that you will comply with the contingency by a certain time, such as in the case of a relocation.