Job Offer Letters: What & Why
So, you’ve found the perfect candidate for the position you were seeking to fill. Now what? Here are some reasons why companies should put the offer in writing.
Job offer letters start the employment relationship off on a positive note. Say as much as you can about the job and its responsibilities, but make sure to avoid promising more than you can deliver. Keep the tone direct and positive. Let the candidate know that they were chosen specifically and that you recognize the skills and experience they bring to your company. All this encourages new employees to feel confident, not only of their decision to have accepted your job offer, but in their ability to perform the job itself.
Job offer letters also serve as the legal basis for employment. Before you send the job offer letter to the chosen candidate, make sure that you can stand behind its contents. Check with colleagues or consult a lawyer if you have questions. The letter is, after all, legally binding. You should be fully satisfied that the terms and conditions you have spelled out for the new employee are exactly what they should be.
Facts to include in a job offer letter:
- Salary: State the starting salary, frequency of payment and method of payment, such as by cheque or direct deposit. If your company offers performance bonuses or stock options, state these clearly and in full
- Benefits: Briefly describe the benefits coverage provided by your company such as dental, health and/or other types of insurance. Note that benefits information will be communicated in further detail upon orientation of the new employee
- Dates and Times: Be explicit. For instance, state when you want the signed offer returned, the length of the probationary period (if appropriate), expectations concerning hours of work per week, and the job start date and time
- Name Relevant Documents: If your company requires new employees to sign other documents, such as non-confidentiality or non-compete agreements, attach them to the offer. Remember to note when you want these returned by.
A job offer letter allows you to itemize the facts about the offer, outline the job’s responsibilities and highlight relevant details about the company. In the event that the candidate requests to negotiate issues like salary or vacation, the job offer letter serves as the critical reference point. If the candidate accepts the offer, the letter serves to promote communication and to help orient the new employee to the business environment before they actually start their first day of work.