A letter of employment offer extends an offer of employment to a candidate who the recruiter or hiring team has selected for a specific position. This letter is typically delivered to the employee after they’ve accepted either an initial email offer or verbal offer. Once the letter is signed and returned, the deal is official!
When you write a letter of employment offer, you’re denoting the start of an official business relationship, so it’s important to lay out the terms formally and clearly. Doing so shields both the employee and the company from confusion about to expect once employment commences. It also provides hard copy proof to the employee that the offer is sincere and authentic.
Here’s what to include when you write a letter of employment offer: the title of the position and the name of the company, plus the name of the employee’s manager and their title. Also, include employee status (full-time or part-time); start date; salary amount; pay period (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly); and note whether the new hire will have exempt or non-exempt status, which ties to overtime pay. End the letter with details on benefits, and any information about a probationary period or conditions of employment.
Series of Tips/Steps
1. Open and close the letter with excitement
When you write a letter of employment offer, you want to convey to the prospective employee how pleased you are that they plan to accept the job. Even though the letter should have a professional tone, don’t be afraid to convey a little enthusiasm. Overall, keep the tone direct and business-like, but open with a sentence that expresses how pleased you are to extend the offer, and close with a sentence that expresses hope for a signature on the dotted line to make the deal official.
2. Get into the specifics
There’s a lot of ground to cover when you write a letter of employment offer. All key job specifics must be laid out, so both the employee and the company are in synch on expectations once the tenure begins. There are the basics to include—job title, company name, and start date. But then there are other items that need covering that typically have additional specifics included. For instance:
o Base salary: Indicate an annual total if the offer is for full-time employment (for example, $95,000 annually), or as an hourly total if the role isn’t full-time (for example, $45 per-hour).
o Employment status: Be sure to indicate if this position is part-time or full-time? (Full-time is usually 40-hours per week; part-time varies but is typically 20-30 hours per week)
o Paid time off (PTO): Be sure to specify if PTO is available immediately, or if it has to be accrued.
o Job duties: Consider detailing all job duties in a separate attachment, or briefly list these responsibilities in the offer letter.
o Benefits: Attach information about benefits in a separate document, or briefly outline these in the offer letter, noting eligibility requirements.
3. Specify important employment conditions
Job offers can sometimes be contingent on specific conditions, such as the completion and return of a Form I-9. Or your company might require a non-disclosure agreement signed to be signed and returned before the new hire’s start date. When you write a letter of employment offer to send off, be sure to include all documents that need to be signed prior to the first day, and note due dates and how the new hire should return these to you. Also attach any corresponding literature.
4. Define “at-will employment” (if applicable)
The majority of employment arrangements in today’s world are “at will.” This means that either the employee or the company may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without notice or cause. If you’re enforcing this type of arrangement, clearly say so in the offer letter.
Also, include an entire agreement clause. This states that the letter of employment offer is complete and replaces all prior communication regarding the position.
5. Add some fun, reassuring content to the letter
Employment offers can be overwhelming in their breadth and formality. Make the letter less daunting by including, for example, information about a tour of the office, or an invitation to a new hire welcome. Always include a point of contact in case questions arise prior to the new hire’s first day.
6. Ask for a signature
When you write a letter of employment offer, you must leave room at the end for the employee to sign and date. The deal isn’t sealed until both parties have signed off on the letter of employment offer. Explicitly state in the letter that, by signing, the employee makes it clear they understand all terms of employment, including the fact that they’re an at-will employee (if applicable). If the offer expires, note an expiration date on the offer.
7. Legal today, less hassle tomorrow
Cover all your bases and take the letter to your legal department for a thorough review before mailing. This will ensure that the letter contains no loopholes or language that could be interpreted as discriminatory.