How to write an offer letter
After what seemed like an eternity of skimming resumes and interviewing candidates, you’ve finally decided who you want to bring on board. They’ve verbally accepted the offer, so now it’s time to get it in writing. This is where the offer letter comes in. It may be formal or informal, but you want to make sure it’s clear and doesn’t cause unnecessary legal complications for your company.
Below we’ll not only discuss the details of a basic offer letter, what should be included, and what legal considerations to keep in mind, but we’ll also provide you with a template to get you started.
The basics of an offer letter
In your last in-person interview or via a telephone call, you asked your top candidate to come work for your company. Excited for the offer, they said yes. But putting it in writing is the final step and will also clear up any confusion over specifics, such as salary, exemption status, location, and start date. Even though you mentioned these details, they should also be included in writing.
When your new hire signs the letter (whether it’s mailed or sent via email), they have formally accepted the job. This is when your company’s human resources department begins the onboarding process (tax papers, work authorization, benefits, direct deposit options, company policies, etc.).
What to include in your offer letter
The following are common elements to include in an offer letter, although your company may want to include additional information as needed.
- Official letterhead or logo — This is a formal document so you should consider it as formal correspondence.
- Formal letter guidelines — This letter should follow standard business correspondence with the date the letter is written after your logo and/or company name, followed the full name and contact information of the recipient.
- Opener — After the greeting (“Dear X”), get right to the point by stating something like “We are pleased to offer you the position of Y at Company Z.”
- About the position — This paragraph describes the job, including the title, whether it’s full or part time, work location, name of direct supervisor, and expected start date.
- Salary and benefits — Include the base salary or hourly wage and payment schedule, a summary of company benefits, any bonus structure, and applicable work options (such as telecommuting or flex time).
- At-will status — Make it clear that the company may terminate their employment for any lawful reason and at any time.
- Closer — Give the new hire details on how they can reach you (or your HR department) with any questions or concerns and close by reiterating how pleased you are to have them joining the company.
Legal considerations when making a job offer
The main consideration when writing a letter offering employment is to avoid language that would create any contractual obligations you didn’t intend. In other words, you don’t want the letter to suggest that you’re offering an indefinite period of employment to the recipient. This is achieved by stating in the letter that the employment relationship is “at-will.”
The term “at-will” means you can end the relationship for any legal reason at any time. This also applies to the employee, who may quit the job at any time for any reason (or for no reason at all).
And while job offers may be rescinded at any time for any reason (before they’ve accepted), it’s a good idea to include an expiration date. This can help you minimize situations where your prospective new hire is entertaining offers from other employers and dragging out the process. You could face legal action if you rescind an offer after it’s accepted and the damages could be significant, for instance, if the candidate already quit their prior job in anticipation of the new one.
Offer letter template
Your letter may vary based on the nature of the job, your style, and the level of formality you choose. The following template will give you a solid starting point:
Full name and address of candidate
Dear [name of candidate ],
We’re excited to offer you the role of [title] at [company name ].
We believe you’re a great match for the [full- or part-time] [title] position. In this position, you will be expected to [duties and responsibilities]. You will start on [start date] and report directly to [supervisor’s name] at [workplace address]. You will be expected to work from [work hours and days of the week ].
Your starting base salary is [amount] that will be paid on a [monthly, weekly, etc.] basis through [check, bank deposit, etc.]. In addition, we are offering benefits such as [insurance, paid time off, etc.]. The benefits package will be explained in more detail during the onboarding process.
Your employment with [company name ] will be on an at-will status. It means that you and the company can terminate the employment for whatever reason and at any time.
Should you accept his job offer, please sign and return this letter on or before [expiration date ].
If you have any questions, please contact me at [phone number and email address ]. We are excited to have you on our team and we look forward to working with you!
[Your signature ]
[Your full name and title ]
[Signature line for employee ]
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Legal Disclaimer: None of the information provided herein constitutes legal advice on behalf of Monster.