FQHC Hiring Tips: The Conditional Offer of Employment (How to Do It Right and Avoid Future Headaches)

You’ve conducted your interviews, completed your reference checks, and now you have narrowed the pool of applicants down to the most qualified candidate for the position. Congratulations! You are now ready to extend a conditional offer of employment. 

The conditional offer of employment sets the stage for a successful employer/employee relationship and should be taken very seriously to prevent the possibility of any misunderstanding about the position, work hours, wage, and benefits. A legal review of any documents presented to candidates and/or employees is always recommended for compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

Although you have identified a top candidate, do not disqualify other candidates until the full conditional offer process has been completed. If, for any reason, the candidate declines your offer or is unable to successfully complete the conditional offer process, you will need the remaining candidate pool, from which another selection can be made. Once your conditional offer process is complete and a candidate has accepted the position, all remaining candidates should be notified that they have not been selected for the position.

The conditional offer process includes the following steps:

  • Verbal offer: Contact the candidate with a verbal offer to determine if they will accept the position. If they accept, let them know that a formal conditional letter for employment will follow, which will explain information about the position in more detail. Avoid using language that implies future job security as this may jeopardize “At-Will” status.

  • Salary/Benefit Negotiation: This discussion should take place during the verbal offer.

  • Conditional Offer of Employment Letter: Contains language that does NOT create a contractual agreement. The letter should include:

    • Welcome Statement: A statement that the letter confirms their acceptance of the offer for employment and welcomes them to the organization. Avoid using language that implies indefinite future employment. This section should provide job specific information including:

      • The title of the position accepted

      • The name and title of the direct supervisor for the position

      • Whether the position is full or part-time

      • Whether the position is exempt or non-exempt

      • The hourly, weekly, or pay period salary as applicable. Be clear so the candidate understands that he/she will not necessarily receive the full annualized salary (for example, if the candidate is paid hourly and ends up missing work with no pay).

      • Performance review processes based upon policies and procedures

    • Benefits: A statement regarding benefits and eligibility. This might include information regarding medical and dental insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, educational assistance, etc.

    • Leave Policy: A statement regarding paid leave such as holiday, vacation or sick leave benefits.

    • A statement that their employment is “At-Will” and can be terminated with or without notice by either party at any time and for any reason.

      • At-Will Status: Based upon your organization's policies and procedures, the letter should also include a statement notifying the candidate of the person(s) who have the authority to change their employment status. This is important to prevent any future misunderstanding that may be conveyed by an inexperienced supervisor or manager leading the employee to believe that their employment status is no longer “At-will.”

  • Terms of employment: This section is critical because, without successful completion, the offer for employment may be rescinded.

    • Background investigations

    • Exclusions Database investigations with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) (see https://oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/background.asp for more information). As a federally funded health care organization, all new hires and current employees must be audited against this database on a monthly basis.

    • Drug testing

    • Proof of eligibility to work in the U.S – Document for completion of the I-9

    • Other requirements specific to the position or your organization, such as proof of immunizations.

  • Point of Contact: Always include a statement that provides the contact information of the person who will address any questions the candidate may have.

I hope you have found this series on "FQHC Hiring Tips" to be helpful. In case you missed the previous posts in the series, you can find them here:

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