Is it ever okay under ANY circumstance to put in a resignation at your current job because you have a CONDITIONAL OFFER from another company? The offer is CONTINGENT on successfully passing a background check and the new company cannot start the background check process until AFTER the start date. I don't like that caveat. It pretty much means that I would have no control over the situation and I don't like to feel vulnerable.

I'm trying to come up reasons as to why I should resign beforehand but, I'm drawing blanks.

  • 5
    Do you have a reason to think the background check would come back negatively? Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 13:32
  • 5
    It seems strange that the new company cannot start the background check until after you've started working there, I can think of no valid reason for this...for me this would be a deal breaker.
    – Cronax
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 13:38
  • 3
    I don't have the points to vote to close. Don't repost the same question workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/44772/…
    – paparazzo
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:55
  • 1
    Is this a company's background check or a background check for access to some kind of sensitive or classified information? I'm not sure if it's still the case, but at one point, in the US, defense contractors could not submit the paperwork for someone to obtain a clearance until after the person was hired, yet obtaining and maintaining the clearance was a requirement for the job. You would fill out the paperwork early in your time with the company and then wait, doing other work until your results came back. Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:59
  • 4
    @Blam - technically they're different questions. One is "why would the company do this", the other is "should I go along with it". Still, I agree that it's bad form to ask such similar questions twice, so quickly, when the answers will overlap so much.
    – Adam V
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 15:35

3 Answers 3


It's certainly OK in the sense that it is allowed. Nothing is forbidding you from resigning with a conditional offer, or no offer at all. it's entirely up to you.

The reason that people say "don't do this" is because it's a risk. There is always a chance that an offer will fall through until it is definite, and if that happens you will be left without a job. Whether you want to take that risk is entirely up to you, and nobody can tell you what is right for you.

If there is nothing in your background that is likely to cause problems in the check then the risk is fairly low - but be aware that that is not the only possible problem - if the company suddenly gets something like a hiring freeze, or the project you were going to be working on is cancelled, then all outstanding offers may be withdrawn.

  • 1
    Exactly! It's a matter of risk management. Risk of missing out on this opportunity if you're not willing to start before the background check can be done vs. risk of ending up unemployed if the background check raises an issue. Follow the standard approach of estimating likelihood of the risk happening and severity of the consequences of it does. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 5:53

You need to weigh up the risk of your background check throwing up problems and what will happen if it does.

  • It may come back clear: no problem -- you can carry on working.
  • It may show some minor problem which means you get moved on to other things.
  • There may be a major problem which means that your employment offer is summarily withdrawn and you're fired. You won't have any comeback in this case because you have accepted the job is contingent on the background check.

Only you know whether there is anything in your background which could pose a risk. It may be that the company is trying to save the cost of the background check — if you refuse the conditional offer, they have saved the cost and managed not to hire someone with a potentially dodgy background.

I do know of one case where a background check was failed because the company received details of someone with the same name and date of birth as the applicant, but it was a different person. That was sorted out, but it took some time. If this happens to you, you will be sacked and have to prove your innocence.

For myself, I don't think I'd take the chance. If they want you, they will wait for you, and satisfy themselves in the meantime. And if something happens that they can no longer take you on, then at least you still have a job. But only you can analyse the risk.


Generally if they are going to perform a background check, a 'wants and warrants' check against your ssn has already been performed. Unless you have done something incredibly stupid in the eyes of the law you're in! If something comes up put a good spin on it and fight to stay. Do the right thing there and you will be fine. It is easier to stay then to get in under those circumstances.

  • This may be correct for some companies, in some jurisdictions, but certainly all the companies I have worked with, the background check includes those things. It is not in addition to, so best not to assume anything has been performed already.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 19:25
  • This also reads more as a comment than an answer.
    – Jane S
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 20:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .