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Is my new job really mine?

Congratulations on your new job! You’ve secured a position and you’re waiting to receive your contract, but is the job really yours?

Employment contracts can sometimes take a while to come through, especially if you’re joining a large organisation, where your contract may need to be signed off by a number of people before it’s posted to you. Some companies, on the other hand, may prefer to wait until your first day to go through your contract with you face to face, enabling you to ask questions or to get clarification on certain areas.

Either way, it's imperative that you sign and receive a copy of your employment contract, as it is an agreement between you and your employer and forms the basis of the employment relationship. Your contract should include your employment conditions, rights, responsibilities and duties. These details are called  the terms of the contract and must be stuck to by both parties until the contract is either terminated or until the terms change. 

Verbal agreements

If you can avoid verbal agreements then please do, as you really need something in writing to cover yourself. The main issue with verbal agreements is that it’s one person’s word against the other, so it’s difficult to prove what was said or what happened exactly. 

Conditional job offers

Conditional job offers are not uncommon. The conditional letter of employment is a formal job offer, which is dependent on you passing certain tests or conditions. Once the stated conditions have been met, then the offer will be formalised.

If you delay the requirements, then you are only hindering yourself, so make sure the organisation gets everything they need in a timely manner. Not passing requirements will simply mean that your job offer will be revoked.

Unconditional job offers

If you meet the conditions set out in the offer letter then you should receive an unconditional offer. This type of contract is probably the most common. If possible, it’s advised that you hold off on handing in your notice or rejecting alternative offers until you’ve signed your contract.