You have found the perfect hire.
The interview process is complete, you've called references and you've done all the research necessary. You are confident that, finally, you have found the perfect person to add to your team.
When (finally!) making an employment offer, you first need to compile an offer letter.
The offer letter serves as a document in which to clarify the job offer itself; this includes:
- An opening statement
- Position and summary of responsibilities
- Terms and dates
- Instructions for what's next
Like any formal piece of writing, the employment offer letter is as important as it is irritating to put together.
Follow along to examine the must-have elements of an effective offer letter in order to (hopefully) begin onboarding your amazing new hire.
Bonus: Download a free offer letter sample and get started right away!
Opening statement: You’ve got the job!
Just like an acceptance letter to school, you will want to get straight to the point. Start by ensuring the candidate that you are pleased to offer them this position.
“It is our great pleasure to offer you the role of Customer Success Manager here at Proven.”
Using emotionally-charged words like delighted, pleased, excited or psyched conveys to the candidate that you have a real investment in their acceptance. You may opt for a dry sentence simply offering the job, but why not start this journey off with excitement and hope?
In choosing what level of excitement you want to convey, consider your company culture, too. “Psyched” might not be a word a straight-lace legal firm would use to welcome a new candidate, but it may be perfect for a lifestyle blog or… a surf company! Make sure you are communicating your language in this letter, as it is likely the first document your new hire will have on record.
With these opening remarks, make the candidate feel special and needed by the company. Especially when dealing with specialized talent, it is your job to be impressive and stand out among the other companies and their offers.
The Position & Its Responsibilities
This may seem like common sense, but the purpose of the offer letter is to clearly lay facts out for a candidate.
“As the Customer Success Manager, you will report to [Supervisor] on a full-time basis…”
Make sure to name the position. This can also be a place to insert a non-compete clause if that is important to you.
The non-compete clause will ensure that a candidate is unable to legally engage in any conflicting obligations. For example, if you are hiring a copywriter, you may want to ensure that your hire is only writing copy for your company. Make sure to include this in the offer letter. You may specify the terms of the non-compete later on in the contract.
In addition, you may lay out a brief overview of the responsibilities. This is not the place to detail every minute of every day. Rather, give a brief overview of the responsibilities, the department in which the employee will work, the supervisor(s) under whom the employee will work and some long-term goals for which the employee may be help responsible.
Terms and Dates
Next, you will want to lay out the start date for the position, the compensation and any restrictions. Instruct the candidate as to the start date, the length of employment (if you are dealing with a freelance or time-sensitive job)
"To accept this offer sign and date this job offer letter as indicated below and email it back to us by [date]."
Is this a full-time job? Use this section to clarify what expectations you have in terms of office hours, whether full-time, part-time or contract.
Let’s face it, compensation matters.
Inform the candidate of the dollar amount compensation for the position as well as the frequency of pay. Do you pay weekly, bi-weekly or on the 1st and the 15th of each month? Take a sentence or two in order to lay out the base pay and schedule.
"You will be compensated with a starting salary of [amount] paid on a [monthly or emin-monthly] basis."
If your company has a bonus structure, this will be the place to lay it out. Explain what sort of percentage bonus an employee can expect on performance and when they can expect to be awarded said bonus in a fiscal year.
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After detailing basic compensation, let the candidate know what sort of medical benefits, PTO or bonuses are included in the job offer.
Make sure to take this opportunity to clarify when medical benefits, dental benefits or paid time off would kick into action. Often, these benefits are not immediately available to a brand new hire. Rather, some benefits kick into action after a specified period of employment at the company.
Is there the opportunity for remote work or for education benefits? If so, include a brief summary of these standout benefits.
To the point of impressing a highly sought-after candidate, the offer letter can be a place to show off what your company can offer. As we said, compensation is important, but it is 2017 and benefits are increasingly more and more important to a candidate.
Here is where you can lay out next steps for the potential employee. Instruct the candidate to sign and return the offer letter by a certain date. From there, you may lay out the start date, the next necessary steps, and legal documents you may need from the employee in order to move forward.
Should the employee expect a follow-up, in-depth contract? If so, let them know here.
Again, it cannot be stressed enough that a offer letter is meant to be a clarification document. Make sure to be clear with all details, especially the further steps.
Sample Offer Letter Template
Below is a free sample offer letter template that combines all the points discussed previously. You can use this to get started.
We are pleased to offer you a job as a [role title] at [company name]. Based on interviews and your extensive skills and experience, we believe you will be a valuable and impactful addition to the team here at [company]!
If you decide to join us, you will be compensated with a starting salary of [dollar amount] per year and is paid on a [bi-weekly or monthly] basis.
Our company provides full family medical, dental and optical coverage through our benefit plan. Should you accept this position, medical benefits will be effective starting [date].
We also offer accrued PTO, a 401k retirement plan and flexible work from home arrangements.
To accept this offer sign and date this job offer letter as indicated below and email it back to us by [date].
If you accept this offer, your hire date will be the [date]. Your immediate supervisor will be [supervisor’s name]. Your employment at [company] will be at-will. At any time, for any reason, [company] may terminate your employment. Similarly, you are free to conclude your employment at any time. We request that, in event of your resignation, you provide a two week notice.
We at [company name] are hopeful that you will accept this offer. We look forward to welcoming you to our team and doing great work together! Feel free to reach out via telephone or email with any questions or concerns.
There are many great resources in order to get your offer letter started. Check out some of these great job offer letter templates. Use these to get started and make sure to infuse your own company’s voice.
Some of these resources dive into what to include or what not to include in your offer letter. Some provide job offer samples. Some discuss deeper legal detail. Some also show the nuances of a formal offer letter as opposed to an informal letter.
- What does an employee offer letter look like? | Venture Hacks
- Sample Employment Offer Letter | The Balance
- 10 Terms to Look for in Job Offer Letters | Forbes
- Job Offer Letter | Rocket Lawyer
- Sending a Job Offer: An Email Template | The Muse
- Formal job offer letter sample | Workable
- Informal job offer letter sample | Workable
The offer letter can serve as a place to serve up excitement as well as serious responsibility to a candidate.
Since a offer letter is usually overridden by a more lengthy contract, you may regard it as a place to make the offer sing. Including friendly language mixed with a clear explanation of expectations, compensation and benefits will provide a clear picture to a candidate.