Conditional job offers

What is a conditional job offer?

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It's an offer to appoint someone to a position, contingent on meeting certain requirements within a specified timeframe. These offers can be made on the spot; for example, at career fairs or other hiring initiatives.

Conditional job offers are like other appointment offers:

Hiring managers can decide how and when to use conditional job offers, in line with direction set out by their deputy head.

Before the offer

1. How do I prepare to make conditional job offers?

Advanced planning and preparation are key. For example:

  • understand the hiring needs of your organization, including diversity, employment equity and other government-wide priorities
  • determine the type, number and location of positions available and their groups and levels
  • identify the merit criteria — ask: what's important, what's needed?
  • consider persons with a priority entitlement

If you're attending a career fair or other hiring event:

  • know the general profile of participants
  • identify assessors and assessments tools
  • arrange for space to conduct the assessments
  • plan for some accommodation measures; for example, accessible locations and quiet rooms
  • identify managers who have the authority to issue a job offer
2. How do I consider persons with priority entitlements?

Under the Public Service Employment Act, managers must hire a qualified person with a priority entitlement before all others. Before appointing someone to a position, you'll need a clearance number confirming these individuals have been considered.

You may be able to obtain priority clearance numbers in advance of job fairs and other hiring initiatives. We encourage you to contact a Priority Entitlements Consultant at the Public Service Commission by email at: or by telephone at 1-855-235-3113 (toll free) or 819-420-6931 (local to the National Capital Region).

3. What do I need to consider when assessing candidates for conditional job offers?

Remember, the Appointment Policy applies to conditional job offers. For example:

  • competency to assess assessors need to be competent to assess the merit criteria
  • official languages candidates have the right to be assessed in the official language of their choice regardless of the language of the position, language of the region or the location of the event — the only exception to this is when candidates are assessed on official language requirements
    • the assessor will determine if a candidate meets the required proficiency in their first official language of either English or French
    • additionally, for bilingual positions, the assessor is required to use second language evaluation tests approved by the Public Service Commission to assess the candidate's second language proficiency
  • duty to accommodate when assessing candidates, ask them if they require accommodation and provide measures accordingly
    • if arrangements can't be made to accommodate candidates at an event or hiring initiative, assess them at a later time

Making the offer

4. Who can make a conditional job offer?

Managers who have been sub-delegated authority in their organization to staff the type of positions being offered may make conditional job offers.

5. Are there any preferences to be considered when making a conditional job offer?

While conditional offers can be part of internal or external, and advertised or non-advertised processes, certain requirements for external advertised processes apply:

  • You will need to consider eligible veterans ahead of all others if they meet the essential qualifications. For more information, visit Staffing: Hiring Veterans;
  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents (both with the same preference in appointment) who are not eligible veterans are considered next; and
  • When all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who meet the essential qualifications have been appointed, or have declined an offer, you may offer an appointment to other qualified candidates.

For external non-advertised appointments, preferences in making appointments do not apply.

6. How do I apply notification requirements for internal appointment processes?

A conditional offer cannot be made before the end of the waiting period set out in the notification of consideration (NOC). Persons with a priority entitlement must be considered for the position when they refer themselves at any point prior to the notification of appointment or proposed appointment (NAPA) being published. Therefore, conditional offers are best made after the NAPA has been published. This means you ensure that:

  • candidates have been assessed on all merit criteria being applied to the appointment;
  • the NOC has been posted;
  • the waiting period referenced in the NOC has ended; and
  • notification of persons being proposed for appointment has been published.

The appointment could take effect once the condition(s) set out in the offer have been met.

An example:

A position requires successful completion of a bachelor degree with specialization in accounting. A candidate who has completed their academic studies is awaiting their educational credential. An offer to be appointed, conditional on receiving proof of successful completion of the bachelor degree, could be issued after the notification of appointment or proposed appointment (NAPA) has been published.

7. What should the letter for the conditional offer include?

The letter needs to:

  • include all conditions related to the appointment
  • the timeframe provided to meet these conditions
  • be made in writing by a manager who has been delegated staffing authority

Consult your HR or legal services unit if you have any questions about the letter or making an offer.

8. What kinds of conditions can the job offer be subject to?

Here are just some examples of possible conditions:

  • consideration of persons with a priority entitlement for the position, and
  • confirmation of graduation from an educational program
  • successful completion of second language evaluation (Except for internal processes. See question 6);
  • meeting an asset qualification, such as proficiency in an Indigenous language
  • validated reference checks
  • meeting the level of security required for the position
9. Are there any limitations on the timeframe in which the candidate must meet the conditions?

A conditional offer needs to stipulate which conditions the candidate must satisfy — and a reasonable time limit for the candidate to meet them.


10. What do I need to do after the conditional offer is made?
  • First, ensure that candidates meet all of the merit criteria of the position and any conditions within the timeframe specified in the conditional offer.
  • Then confirm the effective date of the offer in writing in a second letter:
    • Note that the effective date of the appointment needs to occur after merit and the conditions have been met, within the agreed upon timeframe
11. Is a second letter of offer always necessary?

An appointment may take effect if merit has been met. If conditions are related to merit criteria, it is good practice to have a second letter (or any other document that may indicate that all conditions have been met).

12. What if the conditions are not met within the timeframe set out in the conditional job offer?
  • The offer is no longer legally binding if the conditions are not met within the prescribed timeframe.
  • Candidates need to meet the requirements of the position before an appointment can be made.
  • A manager who has been delegated authority to staff the position can extend the timeframe for meeting the conditions.


13. What if the manager who made the offer has to withdraw it?

The conditional letter of offer can be treated as a contract that is binding on the parties. Discuss any concerns about withdrawing an offer with your HR and legal services units.

14. How do I determine if the resulting appointment is considered to be from an advertised or non-advertised process?

Deputy heads establish direction on the use of advertised and non-advertised appointment processes.

The Public Service Commission's Appointment Policy sets out the requirements to be followed when advertising jobs. This includes:

  • using a national area of selection for external processes, except as set out in the policy
  • posting the opportunity for at least 24 hours on the GC Jobs website  
  • including the merit criteria for the job on the posting
  • providing a contact for requests for accommodation measures

When deciding which type of process to use, managers should base their decision on the direction set out by their deputy head.  The resulting appointments are based on this decision.

Did you know?

  • Conditional job offers are one of your staffing options. They’re an excellent opportunity to make a serious offer to talented candidates earlier in the hiring process.
  • They can help you meet organizational and government-wide hiring needs, including renewal, employment equity and diversity objectives.
  • You do not have to consider more than one candidate before extending an on-the-spot job offer.
  • Public Service Commission offices can provide guidance and assistance with preparations for making conditional offers on the spot at special events.
  • For jobs in Nunavut, any applicants who are Nunavut Inuit take precedence over other persons with a priority entitlement and veterans.

Learn more

  • Hiring managers: To get started, contact your HR advisor.
  • HR professionals:  Staffing Support Advisors at the Public Service Commission can provide additional guidance.
  • Considering persons with priority entitlements and priority clearance numbers: Priority Entitlements Consultants are available by email at or by telephone at 1-855-235-3113 (toll-free) or 819-420-6931 (local to the National Capital Region).
  • Public Service Commission regional offices offer professional recruitment and assessment services. Contact your nearest office.
  • The Personnel Psychology Centre can provide information on assessment tools and approaches as well as measures for accommodating candidates. Email: or phone: 819-420-6681.

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