Can You Still Be Hired After A Pre Adverse Action Letter?

You’ve accepted a job offer and gone through the background check. Now you’ve received a pre-adverse action letter. What does pre-adverse action mean? Can you still be hired after a pre-adverse action letter, or is your job offer gone for good?

Can You Still Be Hired After A Pre Adverse Action Letter?

Can You Still Be Hired After A Pre Adverse Action Letter?

While you can still be hired after receiving a pre-adverse action notice, it’s not common for employers to change their stance unless the background check information is incorrect.

If you can show the information discovered during your background check is inaccurate, the employer will go ahead with the job offer.

Employers also ask candidates to explain negative information reported on the background check. After receiving additional information, the employer might change their mind and hire you.

What Does Pre-Adverse Action Mean?

Pre-adverse action is a notice sent to a candidate when the employer is considering denying employment based on disqualifying information found on a background check.

The pre-adverse action notice must be sent before adverse action is taken.

Adverse Action Meaning

In an employment context, adverse action means your job offer is being withdrawn. When an employer takes adverse action against you, they must follow a specific procedure.

  1. Send a pre-adverse action notice informing you adverse action is being considered.
  2. Give you a reasonable period to dispute inaccuracies and provide more information.
  3. Send an adverse action letter informing you the job offer has been withdrawn.

What Is A Pre Adverse Action Notice?

What Is A Pre Adverse Action Notice?

When you received your job offer, the offer was conditional on passing a background check. If you receive a pre-adverse action notice, you didn’t pass the background check.

The background check may have revealed a criminal conviction or a bad credit history. Background checks can also disqualify you if you provide false information about your identity, credentials, or employment history.

When an employer considers withdrawing an employment offer because of a negative background report, they must follow a specific process required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The FCRA regulates consumer reports and a pre-employment background check is a type of consumer report.

Under FCRA rules, you have the right to see your background report and dispute incorrect information. If the information on your report is incorrect, the employer must reconsider their decision.

If you don’t respond to the pre-adverse action notice, the employer will send an adverse action letter, formally withdrawing their offer of employment.

How To Respond To A Pre-Adverse Action Letter

How To Respond To A Pre-Adverse Action Letter

When you receive a pre-adverse action notice, you’ve got two options.

  1. Do nothing and definitely lose the job opportunity.
  1. Respond to the notice, pointing out any inaccuracies and providing context for the negative information.

Respond Quickly

If you decide to respond, check the timeframe the employer has given you.

Under FCRA rules, employers must give you reasonable time to respond to the pre-adverse action letter.

What’s a reasonable time? Federal Trade Commission guidance and court decisions suggest five days is a reasonable period, although employers may give you more time. If a response date is stated on the notice, make sure you respond by that date.

Check The Pre Adverse Action Notice Is Legal

Check the notice contains the required information. If the notice is missing any of the following information, the employer has violated your rights and broken the law.

The pre-adverse action notice should:

  • Inform you the employer is considering taking adverse action based on negative information on your background report.
  • Include a copy of your background report or tell you how to get a free copy of the report.
  • Include A Summary Of Your Rights Under The FCRA (see the summary here)

A pre-adverse action notice missing any of these elements doesn’t meet the legal requirements. You should contact a lawyer for advice.

Check Your Background Report

Make sure the information on your background report is accurate. Consumer reporting agencies sometimes make mistakes.

  • The negative information may belong to someone with the same name as you (mistaken identity).
  • The information may be correct, but outside the legal reporting timeframe (this varies depending on state and federal law).

If you find incorrect or invalid information on your report, follow the instructions on the pre-adverse action notice to inform the employer and the background reporting agency.

Provide An Explanation

You’ve got nothing to lose by sending a letter of explanation.

If you’ve turned your life around after an arrest, criminal conviction, or period of financial difficulty, send the employer some proof.

This can include character references, employment references, and certificates for any education, training, or counseling you’ve completed since you got into trouble.

For negative financial information, send proof you settled the debt or are sticking to a payment plan.

Be honest about your mistakes and explain why your past won’t prevent you from doing a good job.

The employer doesn’t have to change their mind based on your explanation, but there’s always a chance they might.


You can still be hired after receiving a pre-adverse action letter if the information on your background report is incorrect or outdated. You must respond and dispute any misleading information within the stated time frame.

If the background report is accurate, the employer doesn’t have to hire you, but they might if you provide a satisfactory explanation for the negative information.

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