Conditional Letter of Employment in Criminal Justice Hiring

What these contingent offers mean for you

Man shaking hands with woman, accepting a job offer
U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

Often, jobs in criminal justice and criminology require lengthy, in-depth hiring processes and the release of private, confidential, and sensitive personal information. To comply with employment laws and to encourage applicants to stick it out through the criminal justice hiring process, employers often issue job offers that are based on certain conditions.

These conditional letters of employment let job candidates know they've got a good shot at landing the job they're applying for.

Conditional Offers in the Criminal Justice Hiring Process

A conditional job offer is just that: an offer of employment predicated on the job applicant meeting certain conditions before actually starting the job. The offer says "you can be hired for the job as long as you pass these final few steps." Typically, the conditions are based on steps relating to physical abilities and medical clearances.

Employment laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act, prevent job applicants from receiving discrimination based on disabilities. Under the law, employers are not allowed to ask specific questions about your physical abilities or disabilities. These laws also require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees if they are otherwise qualified for the job.

Some jobs, by their very nature, require individuals to be physically and mentally able to perform at a particular level. This is certainly true for jobs in areas such as law enforcement, corrections, and other fields of criminal justice. The abilities to run, perform defensive tactics, use a firearm, drive a vehicle, and protect others are all central to many of these jobs, which means employers must be able to screen for them.

To comply with the law and to provide some assurances to job candidates, employers provide these conditional letters of employment. The letters inform applicants that, as long as they can perform certain tasks or are deemed mentally or physically capable of performing the job, they will be hired.

When Conditional Job Offers Are Issued

In the case of law enforcement jobs and other related fields, conditional offers are given shortly after the initial job application is received. So, if your prospective employer decides that you meet the minimum qualifications to be a police officer, they will issue a conditional offer that hinges on you passing the next steps of the process.

The conditional offer allows the employer to require that you submit to physical abilities testing and other advanced assessments like a psychological screening, a medical physical exam, and even a polygraph test.

As long as you are successful in completing each of those steps, you officially have the job.

Conditional Offers Do Not Guarantee a Job

While a conditional job offer is essentially letting you know you're hired if you pass the background investigation process, it's not necessarily a guarantee that you will be hired. Of course, if you're reasonably confident you will satisfy the conditions, then there's no need to worry. But you'll want to complete any required tests as quickly as possible, so you can truly make the job offer official.

Conditional offers can be nerve-racking, but they're a common part of the process in law enforcement. If you work toward getting your education and take steps to get the experience you need for the job you want, a conditional offer of employment will be just one step on the road to a great new job.