What is a Conditional Letter of Employment?

Conditional Job Offers in the Criminal Justice Hiring Process

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Often, jobs in criminal justice and criminology require lengthy and in-depth hiring processes and the release of private, confidential and sensitive personal information. In order 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.

What is a Conditional Offer 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.

Why Are Conditional Offers Given During the Hiring Process?

Employment laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act, prevent job applicants from discrimination based on disabilities. These laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees if they are otherwise qualified for the job.

Under the law, employers are not allowed to ask specific questions about your physical abilities or disabilities. This is in order to help prevent discrimination.

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 criminal justice fields.

The abilities to run, perform defensive tactics techniques, use a firearm, drive a vehicle, and protect others are all central to many jobs in criminal justice, which means employers must be able to screen for them.

In order 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 are able to perform certain tasks or are deemed mentally or physically capable of performing the job, they will be hired.

At What Point in the Hiring Process Are Conditional Job Offers 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, she will issue a conditional offer in order to require you to pass the next steps of the process.

The conditional offer gives the employer the green light to require you to submit to physical abilities testing and other advanced tests like  a psychological screening, a medical physical exam, and even a polygraph exam.

As long as you are successful in completing each of those steps, the conditional offer means you are a hirable candidate for that organization.

Does a Conditional Offer Guarantee a Job in Criminal Justice?

While a conditional job offer is essentially letting you know you could be hired if you pass the background investigation process, it's not necessarily a guarantee that you will be hired immediately. 

In competitive job markets, employers may find themselves with far more qualified applicants than they have positions available. When that occurs, employers will rank candidates based on the desired work experience, education or other relevant factors that would make one applicant more competitive than another.

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 more step on the road to a great new job.

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