There are 3 possible outcomes from an interview or assessment:

  1. You are offered the job, congratulations!
  2. You are successful and are moved through to the next stage of the recruitment process. Well done, your chances of securing that job just improved. Take a deep breath and prepare for the next phase.
  3. You are not offered the job. This is very disappointing, but it may well not be anything to do with you or even your interview. The employer’s situation may have changed so they now want something different, or they may have met an amazing candidate whose skills and experience exactly matched their requirements. Be kind to yourself.


Until you are offered a job, you should carry on searching and applying for other opportunities


When will you know the outcome of the interview?

The best way to find when they will let you know is to ask at the end of your interview. The more people they are seeing, the longer it takes a company to decide who to offer the job to. Some offers are received between 1 to 3 days after the interview. Glassdoor reports an average of 27.5 days in the UK and unfortunately, some companies don’t let candidates know unless you have been successful. It is common to be told by phone or email that you have been successful, and then to have to wait for a written offer.

Offers are often subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks – this is a Conditional Offer. This means that references or other background checks (see below) need to be undertaken and come back without any concerns before the offer of employment is finalised.

Why the wait for background checks?

Before making a formal offer, all companies will carry out some type of background checks. Some will make a Conditional Offer before the checks, others will undertake them before making an offer. The checks they undertake will depend on the job you have applied for. They might include:

  • Right to work – It is a legal requirement to check an individual’s right to work in the UK. The employer is required to follow specific rules and check documents to ensure they are employing someone legally.
  • References – It is normal for a potential employer to contact at least one person for a reference. The employer may ask for the name of a previous employer, or if you haven't worked before, you can give the name of someone who can tell them about your “character”. They will call, email or write to them and ask them to confirm your employment history if you worked there, or alternatively ask them to confirm you’re the kind of person they’d recommend for employment if they’re a “character referee”.
    You will be asked to provide details of referees, and how to contact them, at some stage during the recruitment process. 

Referees should preferably be someone in a position of authority for example a previous manager or a teacher


If you don’t know someone who can vouch for you in this type of professional way, then consider asking a friend who can talk about your suitability for employment. Don’t use friends who couldn’t describe how you might perform in a work context and don’t use relatives as referees. Make sure your referees are happy to reply promptly and positively for you. A negative reference could lose you the job offer, so only include people you know will be positive.

  • Fact-Checking – to make sure you are being accurate and truthful
  • Criminal records checks – If you will be working with children or vulnerable adults, or in healthcare, the employer will need to complete a criminal records check. The process depends on where you live:
  • Security Clearance – Some roles in government or industry require more detailed background checks, but where this is the case you will typically have had to fill out forms during the recruitment process at which point they will have explained to you how long these checks might take and what they involve.          
  • Credit checks – If the role involves working with cash or in the financial sector there may also be a check into your personal financial history.

What you might expect to be included with your job offer:

  • Start date and time - Either instructions for arrival on your first day or contact details and a suggested time to agree that with the person you will be reporting to.
  • Wages or salary – Including how often it will be paid. Most jobs pay monthly in arrears which means you will not be paid until you have worked for the first month. If it is lower than you agreed in interview, or lower than you what was advertised you should ask why.
  • Bonus system – Some jobs have bonuses or incentives. Of those that do offer bonuses. most depend on your performance or the performance of the company. Jobs in Sales often have salaries which are made up of a base salary and then a commission payment you earn if you sell enough. It should be clear what you have to do to get the commission payment.
  • Probation period – Effectively a trial period. The employer can end your employment at any time during this period.
  • Job responsibilities – Make sure they haven’t changed materially from what was advertised and discussed at interview.
  • Benefits – Most benefits are included in an employee handbook, but your letter should include anything extra such as extra holiday time or a company car.
  • Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements – These are agreements you will need to sign in order to start the role, which say that you should keep all information you learn as a part of the job private. Most of the time it is fine to sign them, but before you do so, you should read them. If anything is unclear, you might want to clarify it with a friend or relative. If you still have concerns, you might want to discuss with the company prior to signing it.

If you aren’t happy with any aspect of your job offer or have any questions, you should contact them to explain your concerns. If you’re still not satisfied, you are not obliged to accept it


Once you have a start date your employer needs to:

  • Enrol you into a Workplace Pension Scheme – Your employer will automatically enrol you if you meet the age and minimum earnings limits. More information is available from the Pensions Regulator
  • Notify the Inland Revenue - So that your tax account is set up. If you have had a previous job and have a P45, you should give the appropriate section to your new employer.
  • Take your bank details – so that they can pay you!