Once you’ve completed the long process of advertising for a new position within your organization, combing through dozens of resumes and conducting several rounds of interviews, the next important step is the offer letter to your preferred candidate.  You may wonder why an offer letter is important, but having this step in your new hire process will protect both you and the employee.

 

A good suggestion is for you to give a brief, verbal offer of employment via phone or in-person and then follow-up with your letter.  Most candidates would like to hear from you in-person before receiving a letter or email.

 

There are eight items that should be included in an offer letter:

Introduction:  Be sure to convey excitement in your opening statement.  “We are pleased to offer you a position within our organization.” or “We are excited to have someone with your talent/experience join our team.”

Job title, reporting structure, start date, location (if applicable):  State the position that the candidate is being offered, who they will be reporting to, the date you wish them to begin working for your organization and the office location, if you have more than one location.

Responsibilities:  Briefly convey the responsibilities that will be given to the employee.  A great idea would be to reference an attached job description.

Compensation:  Here is where you’ll include the pay structure (salary/hourly/commission, etc.).  Be sure to clearly state how the compensation will be paid.  You need to also state whether or not the position is exempt or non-exempt and then proceed to explain what that means.

Benefits:  Briefly explain the benefits that will be offered (medical, dental, 401(k), etc.).  If you have a Benefit Guide, attached it to the letter for the candidate to review.  You should also list any PTO that will be available to them.

At Will:  Probably the most important thing to include in your letter is a statement of “At Will”.  You do not want the employee to believe that your offer letter is a contract for employment.  Use a statement such as “We recognize that you retain the option, as does XYZ Company, of ending your employment at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause.  Your employment with XYZ Employer is at-will and neither this letter, or any other oral or written representations, may be considered a contract for any specific period of time.”

Conditions/Contingencies:  If your company performs any drug or background checks be sure to indicate that employment is contingent upon the results of these checks.

Conclusion:  Let the candidate know what to do next.  You’ll want to list a specific expiration date or indicate that the offer will expire so many days after the date of the letter.  Provide them with instructions on where to return the signed letter and any next steps.

Creating an offer letter doesn’t need to be a daunting task.  Simply create a template so that each time you want to make an offer of employment you can easily fill in the specific/unique pieces for the candidate.  By using an offer letter, you can convey to your new employee that they are joining a professional organization.

The content of this article should not be construed as legal advice.  You should consult your legal counsel should you have questions regarding the offer letter(s) that you use within your organization.