I recently got an offer letter for a job that said it was contingent on driving, drug, credit and background checks.

I filled out all the forms and did the drug test a few days ago.

I don't want to give my current employer notice until I clear these checks. Would it be appropriate to ask HR if I cleared these or will this raise red flags? If so, how would you go about asking?

Just want to be sure before I jump ship.

  • You're jumping the gun. It can take 2-3 days to do the urinalysis work, then a few more days for the paperwork to make its way to your new prospective employer.
    – John Feltz
    Nov 18, 2016 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


You give notice as soon as you have a non-contingent offer from your prospective new employer. Not a moment sooner.

You tell your prospective new employer that you cannot give notice to your current employer until you have a non-contingent offer. Also tell them what notice period you intend to allow.

Use the same communication method you have been using so far; e-mail, voicemail, telegram, whatever.

After that, you can pester the hiring manager at your prospective new employer for progress reports. Let him pester his HR dept.

EDIT: John Feltz is correct. The time scale for clearing these kinds of contingencies is a matter of days, usually around five to fifteen business days for driving, drug, and credit.

A true background check takes months, but only the federal government and their biggest contractors do that. Most employers contract with a "security consultant" who essentially just looks you up on Google and then waits five business days before reporting the search results.

MORE EDIT: Of course when you ask about whether you have cleared yet, you must not give the impression that you are anxiously waiting to learn if you can be cleared. Emphasize the "yet" part of your question, and act as if the result itself is a foregone conclusion.

If you are worried that your manner of asking may arouse suspicions, then don't ask. You'd merely be trading one anxiety for another.

  • +1 not much more to be said. "non-contingent" offer is key. I've been burned by that one myself. Nov 18, 2016 at 15:22
  • I just noticed that my first two paragraphs are advising you to do what you have already decided to do: wait for the contingencies to clear. I'm leaving my answer, though, because this advice is worth repeating. Nov 18, 2016 at 15:27
  • Thank you. You don't think this will raise any red flags asking if I cleared?
    – John
    Nov 18, 2016 at 15:34
  • 3
    @John: Never ask "Did I clear?" Always ask "Did they finish yet?" Nov 18, 2016 at 15:39
  • Wrote a damn long comment, what A. I. Breveleri said is spot on.
    – Jonast92
    Nov 18, 2016 at 15:43

I wouldn't ask HR anything, they will tell you if you have passed all the required checks once you have passed them. Background checks in particular can take quite a long time depending on what they're checking into and how thorough they are and how many questions they may have to ask you about things they can't verify. Be patient, they WILL let you know.

And I wouldn't think about giving notice until I get the "all clear".

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