You probably know that you’ll use a job offer letter to offer a job to a successful candidate.
The problem is, some employers don’t know how to write one.
A good job offer letter can start off your relationship with your new hire on the right note, but a bad one can discourage the candidate from the start, potentially leading them to refuse your offer–or worse, accept it but already be thinking about eventually working elsewhere.
So it’s pretty important to get the offer letter right.
Fret not—our guide will show you how to write one step by step.
The Easy Parts of Writing a Job Offer Letter
Some employers believe writing a job offer letter is difficult and time-consuming. The truth is: it doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think.
Writing a good job offer letter comes down to systematically making sure the letter includes the most critical information.
For example, there is no one-fits-all job offer template that must be strictly followed per se.
Instead, a good but concise overview of the job position and company, including specific job details like the start rate, remuneration, work schedule, and benefits, will often be enough to entice a candidate into your position.
Using a dedicated recruitment software tool can be a big help here.
Workable, for instance, allows you to send job offer letters through tried and tested templates that successfully get a positive response from a candidate.
Pricing starts at $99 per job per month on the “Paygo” plan, and you can try it free for 15 days.
The Difficult Parts of Writing a Job Offer Letter
We’ve mentioned that writing a job offer letter doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s true, but there are parts that some employers will find more challenging.
A good example is factoring in the time to write the job offer letter in the first place. Some employers mention the difficulty of crafting a great job offer letter when they’re busy managing other parts of the company.
Another element employers find challenging is the order in which to send the job offer letter. Forgetting to send them out during the average day is part of that.
Other worries include how to send the letter or the format, what exact details need to be included, and whether to be more informal or formal with your job offer letter.
All of these worries are valid, but don’t let that stop you. Our next section will detail step by step the process of writing a great job offer letter.
Step 1: Know What Details To Include
No two job offer letters will be the same. After all, different roles require different things—knowing what to include in yours can therefore be a problem. In fact, it’s a key concern of employers.
The good news is that there are some general things that every job offer letter needs to include.
What To Include
There is a little debate on what constitutes the essential parts of a job offer letter, but generally speaking, and without factoring in different job roles, these are the things you must include:
- The job description
- The title of the job
- Some specific detail on weekly duties
- The starting date of employment
- The overall salary
- Benefits information and eligibility for them
- Acknowledgment of the offer and confirmation of acceptance
Remember that a job offer letter is considered a formal document in most cases that’s sent out to candidates selected for employment, so getting the necessary details in there is essential to help them make a decision.
It’s a wise idea to have written confirmation of an offer, to have it readily accessible, so that both the employee and the employer know the exact conditions of the job in question.
Structure the Details
You know the key details to include in your job offer letter, but you need to know how to structure them.
A good order to follow—although by no means is this the only way to structure a job offer letter—is to start with the company logo at the top of the letter and closely follow it with the date and contact details.
For the company logo, ensure you use the official letterhead of your company logo, as this adds a sense of professionalism and legitimacy. Having both of these qualities will inspire the candidate to read the job offer letter more thoroughly.
On the contact details side of things, be sure to include the date, full name, and complete address of the candidate.
These details should be followed with an opening line that greets the candidate formally or casually. Deciding between a more formal or casual approach depends a lot on your company’s culture and the image you want to present. So think carefully about what you want to get across here.
For example, you could start with a straightforward “Dear [Insert Candidate’s name]” then offer them a job on an optimistic note like: “We are very pleased to offer you a position at [Insert Company name].” How you do this is up to you, but don’t be afraid to set yourself apart from others. If your company culture is more casual, feel free to open with a more conversational greeting and offer.
Follow this with your job details, benefits, and salary, and don’t feel afraid to include an expiry date if appropriate. A standard time is to give the candidate a week to respond. If there are specific next steps that need to happen, make sure to lay those out here as well.
End the job offer letter with a closing line and include details on how the candidate can reach you. For example, they might have a few questions about the job, and you’ll want to make sure you are available to answer them.
A positive and detailed response to these questions might be all that stands between an employee joining your business or not, so take your time to respond fairly and properly.
Step 2: Pick a Template To Follow
We’ve spoken about what to include in your job offer letter and the structure, but it’s helpful to look at a range of different templates for varying job roles. After all, each position and scenario will shape how to present your information to employees.
Below we’ve included the specifics of some common templates.
Look at Part-time or Full-time Job Offer Templates
A part-time or full-time offer template is standard.
You can modify the template as you wish, but for part-time or full-time roles, we recommend including the following:
- An intro addressing the candidate in the desired company culture
- The position and department the candidate will be working for
- The working hours, including details of any breaks throughout the day
- Compensation in the form of a gross salary—12 monthly wages per year
- Mention bonuses and when and if you offer them. A bonus during the holiday period is standard in some companies
- Detail the benefits the employee will receive. Feel free to go to town here as these can be attractive. For example, private health and dental insurance plans, X days of paid vacation leave, educational materials, and other expenses paid.
- Some letters end with the contact details for the HR department or details on how to contact the supervisor
These particulars are standard for both part-time and full-time job offers, so be sure to introduce them in a similar way to the template.
Workable is a valuable tool here because it offers full letter templates and approval workflows to speed up the entire process:
In the picture above, the green text is where Workable has auto-populated the details as set by the user. You fill in the basic details, and Workable will do the rest.
The platform will even let you know when a candidate has accepted the offer.
Look at Internal Job Offer Letter Templates
Internal job offer letter templates differ slightly from standard ones.
These offers may have started from an informal conversation with someone already on your team, but they still require a job offer letter to be sent to the candidate to make it official.
Most of the details above still apply. That said, you must mention to the existing employee the full details of the new job opening on the team. This new role might be a move to a different department altogether, so be clear about the details.
Of course, congratulating the employee is vital as you recognize their existing achievements with the company. The more you do this, the more likely they will stay with you for the long term.
Look at Remote Job Offer Letter Templates
Remote job offer letter templates differ because they need to mention flexible working hours, remote work options, tech equipment, professional development, and standard details in a more traditional role.
Will the job offer in question require the employee to be in the office any day of the week, or is the position fully remote? Will you pay for equipment expenses, and how will you communicate with your employee?
These are all extra areas to consider for remote roles. With the post-pandemic world fully embracing remote working, it’s wise to stay updated with requirements.
Step 3: Show Your Personality
Most job offer letters come across as dull, and that’s a problem if you want to fill your roles quickly.
With a new and younger workforce that expects a bit of a flair to proceedings, you need to show your personality in the letter.
Think About Tone
Most companies will write stiff job offer letters that don’t excite their candidates enough to accept the offer.
Think about it like this: you only get one chance here to make a great impression, so a light sprinkling of personality can do wonders. We are not suggesting you become so casual that you undermine the importance of the offer, but some fun here is perfectly acceptable within reason.
It’s a good way of showing your company’s culture and what the employee might expect once they join you fully. For example, are you a fun company where the candidate will work hard but also play hard? If so, don’t be afraid to talk about that in the offer letter–and tell the candidate how much you’re looking forward to having them on your team.
Choose Your Format
There are a few key ways you can send a job offer letter.
The first is the formal and physical letter that you post to a candidate’s address. This letter will include all of the details you would expect. Some companies prefer this format, but it’s fair to say it’s not something every company will want to use.
Email job offer letters are increasingly common, and there are two ways to send these: in the body of the email or as an attachment to the email.
We prefer having the job offer letter as a PDF attachment that sets out the details rather than simply in the body of an email, but this is up to you and the impression your company wants to create for the candidate.
Step 4: Know When and How to Send It
When do you send the job offer letter, though? This question is something many employers ask—luckily, the answer doesn’t have to be complicated.
Contact via Phone
Depending on your company and the role in question, it’s not unusual for a company to contact a candidate via phone.
The call is typically carried out well before you send the candidate the job offer letter itself. In other words, you’re letting them know in advance, which also helps to give them more notice. If you’re a remote company, this might occur on Skype or Zoom instead of a traditional phone.
That said, there is another way to send it, which brings us to our next point.
Contact via Email
We’ve mentioned contacting candidates via email.
However, an increasingly common way of doing things is to contact them with an initial email before following up later with another one.
The initial email will effectively express the offer.
The second email will detail it more formally and will usually be the job offer letter presented as an attachment in a PDF or other professional format.
Workable offers a dedicated hiring plan that can help out here too:
With the software, you can plan and track your hiring and are notified at every key stage.
The hiring workspace automates approval workflows and captures requisitions, so you’ll never have to chase candidates again.
Step 5: Be Patient
The final step is learning to be patient about the response from your candidate.
Rushing at the final stage can scare candidates away, some of which were probably hours from accepting your offer.
Set an Expiry Date
One way of tackling this is to set an expiry date on your job offer letter.
The expiry date is typically added towards the end of the letter and gives the candidate a set amount of time to accept the role.
The standard amount of time here is around a week from the date of the offer, but some employers might worry this is not enough time—others might prefer a response in a matter of days.
Ultimately, set an expiry date that’s best for you and give your candidate a fair and reasonable amount of time to make up their mind.
Don’t Pester the Candidate
Top talent is frequently hard to retain, so don’t pester the candidate during the time you’ve given them—that’s if you’ve given them a defined time in the first place.
There have been cases where a candidate is close to accepting the offer, but the employer was too eager and lost them.
The point to keep in mind is that candidates typically apply to multiple companies at once, and therefore, they might have many offers available to them during the decision process.
You want to ensure you’ve given them time to think things through—following up too soon could be a make-or-break decision, so think carefully before doing so.
Workable features built-in reports that help out here as well. It includes aspects such as the time to hire and the results of what candidates want to see.
Specifically, candidate surveys are a great way to measure what works during the hiring process and help you to build your recruiting practices.
Know what candidates want to see during the hiring process, and you’ll have a better chance of recruiting top talent overall.