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I recently accepted a job offer which was contingent on a background check, which has finished and came back fine. So now I have to wait on "new hire paperwork."

Would this be an ideal time to put in my two weeks or should I wait for the paperwork? I haven't been given an official start date yet, but in the offer details I was given (in writing), the "estimated start date" would be in two weeks.

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marked as duplicate by Jim G., gnat, ChrisF, yoozer8, Garrison Neely Aug 26 '14 at 13:13

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This question was marked as a possible duplicate, but I have voted to re-open: This question is about what to do in the OP's own best interests, the other is about obligations to the employer. – Jan Doggen Aug 26 '14 at 14:33
@JanDoggen - But what to do is off topic. The only on topic edit I can see makes it a duplicate. – Chad Aug 26 '14 at 14:52
I'd vote to reopen. The OP's issue statement is specific, the issue is simple, the OP is staring at two mutually exclusive options, either option is actionable, and the OP has provided enough data for us to recommend an option. – Vietnhi Phuvan Aug 31 '14 at 13:12
up vote 27 down vote accepted

The prudent thing to do would be to wait. As eager as you may be to move on and start at the new company, your income is at stake and you wouldn't want to jeopardize it, would you?

A few more days are not going to change anything and it will help you sleep at night.

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Would this be an ideal time to put in my two weeks or should I wait for the paperwork? I haven't been given an official start date yet, but in the offer details I was given (in writing), the "estimated start date" would be in two weeks.


You don't have a complete offer yet - you have a contingent offer awaiting real paperwork. Huge difference.

Anything can happen between now and a full offer.

I recently attempted to hire a contractor. In order to start work he was required to go through a background check and a drug check. The first drug test had handling problems (the lab's fault, not the contractor's fault), so it had to be done again. The background check took an extra two weeks due to summer vacations. Long story short - the contractor gave up after 5 weeks of waiting for it to get completed. I don't blame him.

And anything in the company can change between now and the real offer. A reorg could happen, making the position redundant, or having it report to a new manager. Layoffs could happen. Budgets could be realigned. Anything.

Wait until you have a real, written final offer in hand with a real start date.

Then, and only then, give your notice. The wait is almost certain to be very short anyway. The reduction in risk is worth the wait.

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Is this a safety-sensitive position, or do you just drug-test everyone? How many positive tests do you get vs. number of candidates lost due to process problems? – kevin cline Aug 25 '14 at 23:04

Wait for two weeks. The offer is CONTINGENT on the background check, which could give you a nasty surprise if someone stole your identity. Further, the ESTIMATED start date is not a hard and fast date but an estimate. You'll wait a couple days more until all your ducks are lined up, but waiting a couple more days won't kill you - you're not having a heart attack :)

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FYI: Note that I stated that the background check came fine, i.e., it is already finished. – user26326 Aug 25 '14 at 21:47
Sorry about missing that info - it would have been the last potentially big hurdle. Wait for your paperwork, sign it, send it, ask and get their acknowledgement that they have received it and kick in your two weeks' notice. – Vietnhi Phuvan Aug 25 '14 at 22:29

Unless you have the standard two months' salary saved up and a job market where you can get a job quickly, wait it out.

I recently took a new job. One day I stopped by the new job with the signed offer letter in hand to turn in. The next morning, I submitted my notice to my (then) present employer.

I did this because I wanted to leave nothing to chance. I have bills to pay. I did not want to have to dip into savings unless it were a true emergency: a manufactured emergency caused by my own itchy trigger finger is not a valid emergency.

Do not leave anything to chance unless you truly have the extra cash to afford a mistake.

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