No matter which side of the equation you’re on, navigating the intricacies of job offer letters is tough.
Don’t worry; many candidates and recruiters struggle to grasp what a job offer letter entails.
On the upside, once you get the basics down, you can make the most of the document. Before you know it, you’ll be able to shape an employment agreement that leaves both sides happy.
In this article, we’ll go over the purpose behind the offer letter and how to write one like a pro.
- What is a Job Offer Letter?
- Who Writes a Job Offer Letter?
- What is Included in a Job Offer Letter?
- How Do You Write a Job Offer Letter?
- Wrapping Up
What is a Job Offer Letter?
A job offer letter is a diluted version of the employment contract sent to prospective employees. It’s still more detailed and formal than a verbal offer, though.
Offer letters can help foreign candidates get their work permits in order. Yet, the document’s main purpose is to let the potential employee know what the contract is going to look like.
Then, the candidate can either accept, decline, or negotiate a counteroffer.
Who Writes a Job Offer Letter?
Usually, the human resources (HR) department handles writing offer letters.
Hiring managers have the final say in new hires and employment conditions. This means that HR only acts after confirming with the hiring manager.
In some companies, HR discusses the offer over the phone, then sends or emails a written version later.
Others, like P&G, can send one of two offer letter formats depending on the situation. One is for the negotiating phase, while the other is for the final formal offer.
What is Included in a Job Offer Letter?
Job offer letters are descriptive by nature. Ideally, they should tell the recipients everything they need to know before signing the contract. This includes all the details, from the salary package to the benefits.
Before diving into the details, it’s customary to congratulate the candidate. They’ve made it this far in the interview process, after all!
The opening congratulations section doesn’t have to be lengthy, either. Two sentences that show that the company is happy to offer the new employee a place on the team will do the trick.
Pleasantries aside, this section can boost the candidate’s confidence and build enthusiasm. That’s why HR could choose to praise the employee’s skills which sealed the deal for them.
After the polite opening, the letter moves on to the job title and description. It’ll also clarify the position type (full-time or part-time).
The goal here is to give employees an idea of their day-to-day tasks and working hours. Sometimes HR won’t list all the duties in the letter.
Instead, they settle for including the title in the congratulations section. Then follow with a brief intro about the role. The full version of the job description? They could use that to shape the details of employment contracts.
The formal job offer letter should address the annualized salary. It also clarifies whether the employer will pay the candidate on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. Some HR departments include payment methods (check, direct deposit, etc.) here, too.
Companies don’t always mention this information in their listings. Yet, it can make all the difference in a candidate’s response.
Sometimes, HR will attach a separate document with the salary package. This approach helps them avoid crowding the letter.
Some companies choose to leave the bonuses off the letter. That’s probably in fear that the statement could come across as guaranteed payments.
The job offer letter should cover all the employee benefits that come with the position, such as:
- Paid time off
- Medical insurance
- Stock options
- Retirement plans
Merely listing those benefits isn’t enough. Some companies add a disclaimer that benefits are subject to change as a way of mitigating risk.
Hiring managers typically discuss the candidate’s availability during the interview process. Still, the employment offer letter needs to recap the expected starting date.
If the employee signs off on the letter, they’re acknowledging that they’ll be able to join the new company within the agreed timeframe. That’s not always easy, though. It entails giving notice and getting the paperwork in order.
For roles that require training, HR will also mention how long the new hire can expect this phase to last.
Most offer letters have an expiration date. That’s to let the candidates know when they need to respond at the latest.
This section is important for jobs with a conditional offer of employment. HR can go over any contingencies, like background checks or drug testing. Confidentiality agreements are on the table, too.
This way, the letter is only binding when the candidate fulfills the contingencies.
The letter should also direct the recipient to what they should do next. For instance, they could send over references or head to a third-party lab for drug screening.
If there are no contingencies, the next step would be gracefully declining or accepting the job offer.
Job offer letters don’t usually dive in-depth into the organization’s hierarchy. However, they should give the candidate a brief idea of the reporting structure for this role.
This information will come in handy later during the onboarding phase. That’s when some new employees struggle to figure out who is their supervisor or point of contact.
Keep in mind that the sender can push this section up to come after the job description. It depends on whether HR believes it makes more sense to cover the two aspects together.
Since an offer letter isn’t an employment agreement, there’s no need to go in-depth.
This is particularly true if at-will laws apply to the company. Some policies are subject to change. Covering them in the letter could add more obligations.
The letter could include final statements. For one, you can say that the company expects candidates to abide by the previous employer’s policies. It’s also possible to clarify that the letter takes precedence over any previous verbal discussions.
How Do You Write a Job Offer Letter?
We’d recommend formulating a job offer like a regular formal business letter. The tricky part is making it attractive enough to get the response you’re looking for.
Here’s what you can do to streamline the hiring process:
Use a Job Offer Letter Template in Word
It’s possible to craft the document from scratch using the block format guidelines.
However, using a premade job offer letter template will save time and minimize errors. You’ll download the file and edit it in Microsoft Word.
This approach also helps your company present a consistent pre-employment communications format.
Most formal letter templates contain the following sections:
- Candidate’s name and address
- Greeting line (Dear X)
- Sign off
Templates made for job offers are a bit different. They have a place for the candidate’s handwritten signature, typed name, and signing date. It could also be worthwhile to pick a letter template with a logo placeholder to keep up the branding.
Consider sending tips to help the employee sign the PDF virtually. It’s a simple step, but it could help streamline the process.
Include All the Necessary Information
The purpose behind sending a job offer letter is to let the candidate know you’re interested and get confirmation that they’re interested, too. You can’t get an accurate response if you keep prospective employees in the dark.
That’s why you have to share all the information that the new hire will need to reach a decision. Depending on the role, this could range from a quick overview to sending detailed policy and procedure documents.
The catch here is that it’s practically impossible to cover everything in the letter. That’s why you’ll need to leave open communication channels. Let the recipient know who to contact if they have questions.
It would be helpful to check out the common questions to ask before accepting a job. This way, you’ll be ready to tackle any inquiries they’ll throw your way.
Tailor it to the Person
Did you know that more than one in six job offers in the US end up rejected by candidates?
There are lots of reasons why a candidate could turn down an offer for a job they applied for themselves. The long list starts with unsatisfactory pay.
The good news is that a skilled HR team knows how to tailor each offer to the candidate’s needs to make it hard to resist.
Open the letter with why you think this person is a good fit for the role to make the letter feel less generic. Then keep the personal touch going throughout the letter.
Suppose you know that the applicant hated how stagnant their previous job was. In this case, you can highlight the company’s continuous education program on the offer.
Similarly, paid time off can be a major perk for working parents. Flexible work schedules and well-being benefits can also woo young talent!
At its core, a job offer letter is a way to formalize your interest in a candidate.
Even if it’s not binding, you’ll want to craft it carefully and cover all the vital information. If done right, the letter can lure in talent and streamline the final phases of the hiring process.
Do you have questions about writing, accepting, or rejecting job offer letters? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you!