From Tentative to Final Offer


I am a first time ever government job applicant from independent civilian side. I want to know (probably overthinking again) after they have invested all this time and process in me, gave interim clearance, and HR mentioned that final offer on its way pending some approvals but not sure when; what are the chances of them rescinding the offer or not coming through at all? I am about to decline a private job offer hoping the gov job will come through soon.


I am about to decline a private job offer hoping the gov job will come through soon.

I wouldn’t do that if you’ve only received a Conditional Offer (COE). Even a Final Offer may not mean you’ll start working right away. Big agencies with large training class sizes will sometimes put you on a training wait list after your final offer.

And I absolutely wouldn’t turn down any job offers while waiting on a contract position. There are way too many factors that affect the reliability of a contract. I received a final offer for a DOS contract a few years ago and decided to chill out for a couple months before going overseas for the job. A few weeks before I was supposed to leave, the job offer was postponed because DOS changed their requirements and the current staff had to be trained before new ones were brought in. I had to scramble to find other work and ended up not taking the DOS job, since they didn’t contact me for another eight months.

Currently, I’m processing a TS/SCI for a linguist position without having taken a language test yet, and I’ve been speculating just like you. I haven’t met anyone, in the small pool of linguists I know, who have done any processing before taking language tests. I try not to be overly optimistic after that DOS issue. One long time contractor had a good rule of thumb, “You don’t have a job until you’re getting paid.”

And even then…


Probably pretty low considering you have an interim. Have you actually started working? I am curious about the interim. Either way I wouldnt count on the job until you EOD. But chances are slim they will take it back now.


Thank you.

Imagine this scenario. I accept the private offer today and set a start date Aug 15, and then the agency comes back end of July with the firm offer = bad place for me to be in. I want to go with federal. And everything is so close.

Not a contract type job with a contractor. I like the idea that one can control their start date even after the firm offer.

I feel hopeful they may not back out now on final offer. I have not yet started working, waiting on the some approvals per the HR before they can get to the final offer.

In my case, I applied directly with the agency. Yes, it is tentative offer for now. Interim cleared. I have been stalling the private job offer for a week and half now. No more excuses left. Private job said make a decision today as others are waiting in line. I asked the agency if they were bringing me onboard or not since I have another offer on the table. I have been keeping in touch with anyone I can at the agency = HR, SO, future (soon to be) Boss. It looks like agency doing their best, but I still don’t have the firm offer in hand. Looks like may take another 3 weeks.

Keeping fingers crossed and hope agency keeps working towards the final offer and won’t take the offer back. Otherwise, two great offers on the table and all gone, would constitute a great practical joke.

Just take the offer and when/if the GOV comes back with the final give notice. You are not bound to that company, if they had to lay you off they certainly wouldnt give you 2 weeks notice. Sometimes you need to look out for yourself.


I like when people get good advice and then continue to argue wanting people to support their way of thinking.

Very simple, take the private offer and then take the government offer when it comes in. You are not obligated to the private company and they will not hesitate to cut you loose when they want to.