After hundreds of résumés, dozens of interviews and an intensive hiring process, you have finally found the right candidates to fill the positions of reindeer walker, undersecretary to the sub-committee and legal bank robber. It was tough, but you achieved the impossible.
The next step is to compose and send a job offer letter, informing the applicants of an offer of employment as the next teddy bear surgeon.
For employers or HR managers who have recently incorporated the letter into their official corporate policy, how do you write one? And, is it sent by email or through snail mail? Is it legally binding, or is there more to it? Well, thankfully, we have the answers to those questions.
Let’s explore what information you need to include and omit, and what format and template you need.
The Structure of a Job Offer Letter
- Sender’s address: If you’re using a company letterhead, then you already have your address written on the document. However, if you’re writing a personal letter, then you need to include your business address at the top of the page.
- Date: Place the date you wrote the letter below your letterhead or address.
- Inside address: Add the recipient’s address a couple of spaces underneath the date.
- Salutation: You must address the reader professionally and appropriately. Every job offer letter should begin with a proper salutation, such as ‘Dear Mr Thompson’ or ‘Dear Ms Simpson’.
- Opening paragraph: This is where you inform candidates that they’re being offered the position they applied for. It should also include a sentence or two why they’re being hired. For example, you could note that they have relevant skills and experience for the employment opportunity. Or, as another example, you could tell them that they passed every stage of the interview process – tests and interviews.
- Middle paragraph(s): Within the body of your letter, you need to list the start date, starting salary, when paycheques will be distributed (weekly or biweekly) and if direct deposit is available. Also, you must list the components of the compensation package, including benefits (medical and dental coverage), paid time off (vacation, sick and personal) and eligibility for other perks (retirement plans or stock options).
- Final paragraph: This part of the letter request that candidates, should they accept the job offer, sign and return any attached documents. Also, you can request that they read the handbook that contains all the company policies.
- Closing: Let the recipients know that, if they have any questions or concerns, they should contact you at their earliest convenience. Then, sign off with a professional ‘Yours truly’, ‘Yours sincerely’, ‘Kind regards’ or ‘With gratitude and thanks’.
- Your name and signature: Finish your job offer letter with your name and signature, which should be handwritten.
Tips for Writing a Job Offer Letter
1. Mention At-Will Employment
It’s rare to find a business that doesn’t maintain an at-will employment policy. It’s common for the employer or even the employee to terminate the relationship at any time. That said, it might not be common knowledge, so it would be wise to state this in your job offer letter.
Also, a great way to protect yourself from litigation is to avoid using certain words and phrases, which could be misconstrued into something else. A few examples of this would be:
- ‘We hope you have a bright future at our company.’
- ‘Looking forward to a long relationship.’
- ‘Our firm thinks you will be here for a long time.’
Simple trick: think in the now, not in the future.
2. Refer to Company Policies
You should refrain from making the mistake of doing a novelisation of your corporate handbook. Your letter is not the place for your 112-page employee manual (unless you want to attach it to your email or welcome guide). That said, you can still add that employment is subject to the company’s policies and procedures as per stated in the handbook.
Be sure to add the caveat ‘which can be revised at the firm’s discretion’. Or you could even insert snippets of your policy that describe how you can advance or how the business encourages continuing education.
3. Proofread Your Letter
Any corporate communication should be proofread, edited and proofread again. The last thing you want is to look unprofessional by having spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and just the wrong information. You can either hire a professional editor, or you can turn to an administrative assistant to give it a look – not to mention having Grammarly on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week!
4. Be Personable and Professional
Believe it or not, it’s possible to be professional and personable in corporate communications. We are no longer a stuffed shirt society! So, you can write ‘you’, use apostrophes (‘I’ve’) and refer to the recipient by their first name.
Job Offer Letter Sample
Let’s make job offer letters great again. By now, you want to get down to brass tacks and see a real-world example. Well, we have you covered on that end. Here is a format and template to consider:
Things to Remember
1. Insert Confidentiality Agreement & Non-Compete Clause
Years ago, confidentiality agreements and non-compete clauses were reserved for executive positions, high-level government jobs and top-secret work. These days, it is getting harder to find any position that does not include this agreement. So, in your letter, be sure to include a confidentiality agreement and a list of employment restrictions. This prevents you from having to endure costly and headache-inducing litigation.
2. Attach Helpful Documents
Because your 300- or 400-word letter does not have enough room to insert confidentiality agreements, non-compete clauses, employee manuals and a sample of the company’s delicious apple fritters, you may need to attach any relevant and helpful documents. Whether it is by email, snail mail or in person, you can send an employment contract or other legal documents separately – just be sure to make a note of that in the letter.
3. Send as an Email Attachment
If you’re going the email route, it would be a good idea to send your job offer letter as an email attachment rather than in the body itself. This is an error that many startups and small businesses make, which should be avoided. Instead, you can write a brief and celebratory message in the email body informing them of acceptance. You must ensure that the official letter has been attached to the email.
4. Extend the Offer Verbally First
Sure, an applicant would love to open their email or mailbox and find a job offer letter. But this is not a surprise birthday party. Life happens, other circumstances arise, and different choices are made. The candidates might have decided to accept another job, or they might not be interested anymore.
Either way, as the employer, it would be a good idea to first extend the offer verbally on the telephone or in person. Then you can hand the person a job offer letter.
5. Add a List of Contingencies
While your company is offering the person a job with the firm, the offer is still contingent upon a wide variety of factors. So, as an employer, you might need to conduct a background check, speak with references and determine if the employee has a legal right to work in your country.
It would also be prudent to examine your jurisdiction’s specific labour laws and requirements to determine if there are other contingencies that you need to assess, such as certifications or a valid driver’s licence.
Despite the vast talent pool in today’s labour market, it can be incredibly difficult to find the best candidate for the job. Recruiters can have a hard time navigating the market for the best and brightest.
Indeed, hiring employees is no easy feat. So, why make it just as flummoxing when you do finally locate the right guy or gal for the position? You shouldn’t!
Now that you’ve equipped yourself with the tools and tips of composing a job offer letter, you can make the process that much easier!
Do you have anything you’d like to add? Join the conversation down below and let us know.