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Job offer letters are a formal way to tell your candidates that they’ve been selected for employment. If you’ve never done this before or you’ve struggled with job offer letters in the past, don’t worry—this guide will explain everything you need to know about writing the perfect job offer letter.
Why Writing a Job Offer Letter is Worth It
Hiring employees isn’t easy. After weeks or potentially months of sorting through resumes and conducting interviews, you’ve finally decided who you want to hire. But top-level candidates are likely applying to other companies and fielding multiple offers. If you want to secure the best talent and make your offer stand out, then you should send a formal letter.
Writing a job offer letter shows candidates that you’re serious about hiring them. The opportunity is real, and you’re excited to have them join your team. If you’re just telling them “you have the job” over the phone and other organizations are sending a formal letter, you’ll likely struggle with hiring.
Job offer letters also confirm all of the employment details that were initially discussed during the recruiting process. Candidates can see exactly what you’re offering, including their salary, benefits, job description, and more. When written properly, your job offer letter can even be used as a recruiting tool to stand out from competing offers.
These formal offers also establish clarity between the employer and prospective employee. With everything in writing, it ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of what’s expected for the job.
Setting these expectations early can help increase the chances that your new hires stay with the company for the long term. Hiring and recruiting are expensive. Job offer letters can ultimately help reduce employee turnover rates.
The Investment Needed to Write a Job Offer Letter
Beyond your time, there’s little to no investment required to write a job offer letter. You could get away with spending $0 on this task if you’re on a tight budget.
If you’re following a free template, you likely write your first job offer letter in under an hour. Once you write one, the others will be much quicker. That’s because you can re-use all of the boilerplate company information in each letter. You’ll just need to customize things like the job details and pay for each employee.
Writing a job offer letter is much easier if you’re using recruiting software. These solutions help manage your entire hiring pipeline, and many offer free plans if you don’t have complex hiring needs. Paid solutions typically range from $25 to $400 per month, depending on your hiring volume.
Regardless of your business size, Workable is an excellent solution for writing job offer letters. Workable’s Paygo plan starts at just $99 per job per month, which is ideal for companies with infrequent hiring needs. Even this entry-level plan comes with the ability to post open positions on 200+ job boards, offer letters, and e-signature.
Beyond the basic job offer letter tools and templates, Workable offers everything you need to improve your hiring workflow. They offer a branded careers page, self-scheduling tools, candidate surveys, custom pipelines, offer letter approvals, and more. Try it free for 15 days, and you can start writing job offer letters immediately.
8 Steps to Write a Job Offer Letter
Writing a job offer letter is easy if you break the process down into simple steps. Just follow the process below, and you’ll be done writing your letter in no time.
#1 – Choose a Format and Delivery Method
The first thing you need to do is determine what type of job letter offer you’re going to send. Then you’ll need to decide how you’re going to send it. These two decisions often go hand-in-hand.
Generally speaking, job offer letters typically fall into one of two categories—formal and informal.
A formal offer includes detailed information about the job, company, compensation, and more. These are usually delivered electronically and look like formal documents. Don’t confuse “formal” for “contract.” It’s actually in your best interest to avoid certain contract language in your offer letter.
Informal job offers can be expressed via email or over the phone. These are simple messages that tell the candidate that the job is theirs. Informal offers are fine in some circumstances, but they’re definitely not the best option for securing top-level talent. The best candidates in the workforce expect to receive a formal offer letter.
#2 – Select a Job Offer Letter Template
Whether you’re sending a formal document or writing an informal email, it’s always a good idea to start with a template. Templates make your life easier and drastically reduce the amount of time it will take to write the offer letter.
All of the common language and basic employment terms will already be included in the template. Then you just need to swap out any placeholders with the information about the specific candidate, position, compensation, etc.
This is another reason why it’s in your best interest to use a recruiting solution like Workable.
The software comes with built-in offer letter templates. You’ll even have access to some free offer letter resources without signing up for a paid plan.
Ultimately, the template you select will be based on the job you’re offering. Examples include:
- Formal job offer templates
- Informal job offer templates
- Part-time employment job offer templates
- Full-time employment job offer templates
- Internal job offer templates
- Remote job offer templates
There are even job-specific templates you can use. For example, a sales job template might include details about commissions that wouldn’t be in an offer for another position.
The other great part about solutions like Workable is that you can always re-use templates from the past. Sticking with the sales job example, if your commission structure doesn’t change for each new hire, you can easily just duplicate the information from an old template whenever you’re hiring a new member of your sales team.
#3 – Add Basic Information About Your Company
Crafting an eye-catching offer letter can really help your company stand out from competing offers sent by other organizations. Using your company logo, colors, and company contact information on your letterhead is a good starting point.
Beyond the logos, make sure you write the full name of your business in the offer letter. The company address, phone number, and offer date should be on here as well.
While a job offer letter isn’t the same as an employment contract or an employment agreement, these small touches can go a long way for the candidate. It shows them that you’re serious about hiring them, and the letter wasn’t just thrown together haphazardly.
In addition to the company-specific information, there should also be a signature and contact information for whoever the letter is being sent from. This is typically a hiring manager or HR representative.
Don’t just include some generic signature from the company’s CEO or owner. The candidate should be able to follow up with a direct point of contact if they have any questions about the offer.
#4 – Include the Job Description and Expectations
Again, the offer letter is not an employment contract. But you should still include some basic information about the job to set expectations for the candidate.
Workable has over 700+ job description templates. While many organizations rely on these templates for open job postings, you can use those same descriptions in the offer letter.
You’ll also want to include information in the off letter like:
- Full job title
- Quick description of the role
- Employment classification (contract, full-time, part-time, etc.)
- Pay rate (hourly, salary, commission, etc.)
- Address of site or office that they’ll be reporting to
- Dress code
Lots of this information was likely discussed during the interview. But it’s still a good idea to include those details in a formal offer letter. This helps set clear expectations for the candidate.
#5 – Add Compensation Details and Employee Benefits Information
This part of the job offer letter can really help you stand out from competing offers. Not only is this a way for you to tell prospective hires how they’re getting paid, but it’s also a way for you to market the business.
Similar to the previous section, lots of this may be a bit repetitive to what you included in the initial open job listing. But remember, candidates have likely applied to several other companies. So your exact details may not be fresh in their minds.
Provide information related to your PTO policies, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, sick leave policies, bonuses, stock options, commission, life insurance, 401(k) matching, and any other perks related to the job.
If you offer remote work opportunities or flexible scheduling options, you can include that information in this section of the offer letter as well.
You don’t need to explain the granular details of everything in the offer letter. This will eventually be formalized with an employment contract or employee handbook. But you should at least mention the compensation and benefits in the letter.
At a minimum, include the pay rate and salary details. This will likely be the most important piece of the letter for candidates.
#6 – Add Employment Terms
It’s important to include a boilerplate statement about at-will employment. This ensures that the offer letter isn’t misinterpreted as a long-term employment contract. These terms also help you with a scenario where you can end a relationship with the new hire at any time.
You should also mention that the offer is based on certain conditions being met.
For example, candidates may still need to submit to background checks, drug screenings, NDAs, non-compete agreements, and more.
#7 – Set a Deadline
Every job offer letter should include the date it was written and the date it expires. Without setting a deadline, you could run into a sticky situation where the candidate responds a month later after the position has already been filled.
Obviously, you want to fill the position as soon as possible. But you also need to understand that the candidate may have other obligations to fulfill before they commit.
For example, they might be working at another job that requires them to give two weeks’ notice before leaving. You don’t want them to feel like you’re putting them in a position to leave another organization on bad terms.
Set the expiration date at least a week or two from when the letter was sent. The candidate doesn’t necessarily need to start work by that expiration date. They just need to sign and accept the offer. The start date can always be pushed back to accommodate the candidate’s schedule, as long as it’s within reason.
#8 – Collect a Signature and Start the Onboarding Process
After you send the offer letter, don’t hassle the candidate. Give them time to review everything and make their decision.
Don’t freak out if you haven’t gotten a response within a few days. The expiration date is already on the letter. If that date passes, you can potentially reach out with a follow-up message telling them that you’re going to offer the position to someone else if they don’t reply.
Workable has built-in e-signature capabilities, which is ideal for offer letters. The candidate can sign documents, and you’ll be notified without having to print, scan, fax, or mail anything. You won’t need to use third-party document signature software either.
You can easily start the onboarding process directly within Workable after the offer letter has been signed. Continue to send the candidate other documents that need to be signed, like I-9 forms or background check authorization forms.
Now that you’ve sent out a job offer letter, you need to be patient. The final step of this guide won’t always happen overnight.
But once the candidate commits to the job, you’ll need to take some additional steps to set them up for success with your company. Make sure you onboard them to your HR system. You’ll also need to add new hires to your payroll software.
Send them an employee handbook as soon as possible. You can even do this before their first day on the job. If you don’t have a handbook or you need some help improving your existing one, check out our complete guide to employee handbooks.