This first interview letter template can serve as a simple guide as you create your own letter and customize each version of your message for each of your specific recipients. Use this template as you narrow your pool of applicants and select a short list of recipients who you’d like to invite into your facility for an initial interview session.
The contract letter represents the starting point of the official employment relationship between the organization and the employee, so it’s important that it’s comprehensive and well prepared so the candidate feels positive about their decision. It also serves to protect both parties by stipulating the responsibilities of each so that there can be no debate about what’s expected at a later stage – it’s an important reference point for early negotiations and later disputes. Another benefit for the candidate is that it reassures them that the offer is genuine.
When you write a contract letter, you should include the following: the position title, company name, starting date, employee’s status as full-time or part-time, their status as exempt or non-exempt (relating to overtime pay), salary amount, timing of payment, a summary of company benefits, details about paid time off, the reporting structure, information about a probationary period, any conditions of employment, and clear language that the employment relationship is at will (if applicable).
Tips on How to Write a Contract Letter
1) Make the Candidate Feel Valued
You want the prospective employee to feel appreciated and honored, so make it clear that they were specifically selected for the position because they stood out as the best fit. Keep the tone professional, but don’t be afraid to communicate that you’re enthusiastic about having them join the team – express how pleased you are to make the offer in the opening sentence, and reiterate how you hope they accept in the final sentence.
2) Cover the Specifics
The reason you would write a contract letter is to outline all the details of the opportunity so that you and the employee are on the same page. With this in mind, make a list of the specifics you need to include before you start writing so you don’t forget anything. Aside from job title, company name, and starting date, some other points to cover include:
• Full-time or part-time status – qualify what you mean by mentioning how many work hours per week are required.
• Base salary – always state this as an hourly, weekly, or monthly amount, not an annual total – this prevents the employee from feeling entitled to a full year’s salary even if they leave before working a full year.
• Paid time off – clarify whether this has to be accumulated over time.
• Job duties – consider attaching a job description that outlines all the position’s responsibilities.
• Company benefits – you can opt to list all company benefits within the letter or attach/enclose a separate list. Just remember to mention if there are any eligibility requirements for certain benefits.
• Potential for relocation – if the job might require relocation or lots of travel, make this clear when you write a contract letter.
3) Stipulate Important Conditions
If the offer is contingent on specific conditions, describe these within the letter – perhaps the candidate has to first pass a drug test or sign a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement. Enclose any forms that need to be signed, and give a clear deadline, or inform them that they’ll be required to sign these forms on their first day.
4) Spell Out the At-will Employment Relationship
These days, most employment arrangements are at will (meaning, the employer or employee can end employment at any time without cause or notice). If you’re enforcing an at-will employment agreement, you must clearly state this in the letter and avoid any language that implies otherwise – don’t make mention of job duration or suggest there’s any job security.
You should also include an entire agreement clause that states that the letter is the complete and only offer of employment and replaces all other communication. And to be safe, also mention that the company reserves the right to change details in the contract letter if necessary.
5) Don’t Forget the Nice-to-Knows
In addition to highlighting the formal terms, try to make the letter less intimidating by including information that will reassure the candidate and orient them to the company. For example, you could mention that the new hire will be given an office tour, introduced to management, and shown the ropes during orientation. You could also enclose extra information about the company or attach an employee handbook so they can ‘prepare’ beforehand. Mentioning a point of contact they can reach out to if they have questions or reservations is also a good idea.
6) Remember the Signature
The candidate needs to sign to indicate that they accept the offer, so when you write a contract letter, end it with a space for the employee’s signature and the date. Explicitly ask them to return a signed copy of the letter to a specified person by a specified date. Make it clear that signing means they have understood all the terms of employment. If the offer will only remain valid for a certain period of time, state the ‘expiry’ date.
7) Ask a Legal Team to Review
To be safe, consult legal counsel to ensure that the contract letter doesn’t include language that could get you into trouble or contain any loopholes that could be exploited.