When you sit down to draft a welcome letter for your new hire, you’re accomplishing three distinct and separate goals, and each goal plays a critical role in the success of your message.
For this purpose you can write a job appointment letter, which is typically a straightforward but congenial letter (typically about one page long) that spells out the hard and fast details of the offer, like start date, salary, the nature of the employment relationship (which is typically at-will), any contingencies, and more.
Do note, it’s commonplace to initially verbally confirm that a candidate has earned an offer before following up with this kind of written documentation. And while a candidate may accept over the phone, you still need their signature in order to seal the deal.
That’s why understanding how to write a job appointment letter that’s comprehensive and on point is key. You want to provide them with all the relevant information they need to quickly and easily finalize their decision, sign on, and start readying themselves for day one in the office.
Follow the tips below to write your own strong appointment letter.
How to Write a Job Appointment Letter
1. Share priority information first.
Before you begin to write and tailor your letter, divide your document into sections and assign a specific purpose to each section. Begin by sharing your announcement. Provide the details of the position, including the title, a brief description (or a reference to a job description printed elsewhere), the start date and time, and the reporting structure for the role.
2. Clarify the at-will employment relationship.
The majority of employment relationships in the US are at-will employment relationships, meaning that either the employee or the employer can end the relationship at any time – no notice necessary. If this applies to your job appointment, you’ll need to clearly spell it out.
3. Provide second level details.
Begin your second paragraph or section by stating the salary for the position. Explain how and how often the candidate will be paid, and briefly detail the withholding process and any benefit programs or offerings that will be included as part of the candidate’s compensation. Explain what can be expected in return for this compensation, including the total hours the candidate will dedicate to the company each week, at which facility will the candidate be working, and when the reporting hours will be (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, for example).
4. Provide general information that applies to all company employees.
Like many organizations, your company probably provides a set of basic rules and policies that apply to all employees regardless of their position. You may choose to share these in a handbook, in which case you’ll need to attach the handbook or provide a link where your recipient can find it. If your employee will need any of this information on day one, provide it here in clear terms. For example, if you have a rigid dress code, explain it now.
5. Share position contingencies.
Some companies offer positions on a contingent basis, meaning the position does not officially belong to the employee until certain conditions are met. Share these conditions in your letter. Will the employee need to complete a probationary period, submit to a background check, or complete any task before the position is officially theirs? This information should definitely be included in your document as you write a job appointment letter.
6. Next steps and first day tasks.
The employee will need to respond in a formal way in order to accept or reject the position, so make sure these instructions are presented clearly. If you have a timeline in mind, share that too. For example, your employee may need to return signed acceptance documents by a certain date.
7. Provide resources for additional information.
Candidates (and would-be employees) almost always have questions about the position that will need to be answered before they can formally accept the role. No company can be expected to provide every conceivable detail in one short letter, so let your reader know where to turn for more help. For example, your reader may want to know about disability accommodations, public transportation discounts, insurance plan details, job description information, or a host of other issues before saying yes to the position. You (or someone in your company) will need to be ready to answer these questions, and your reader will need references and contact information. Don’t assume that what you’ve shared in your letter will be enough to procure a simple yes or no; this is an important life decision, and your employee should not have to wander through your website looking for necessary answers to basic questions about the company and the offer.
8. Get legal approval
If it’s available to you, get legal sign off from your in-house team. And if you aren’t a large enough organization to have a legal department, considering utilizing the services of an employment lawyer or specialist.
As you write a job appointment letter, accommodate your reader, be generous with information, and be clear with your instructions and expectations. A warm and welcoming tone can lay the groundwork for open communication and a thriving, positive relationship down the road.