Can you feel it? Those feelings of excitement and achievement that you are pretty confident mirror theirs. The last few weeks of planning, discussing, and evaluating are about to close.

Just one piece of this process remains: having your perfect-fit candidate accept your offer letter. Are you prepared?

In 2020, Glassdoor published an extensive study analyzing eleven years of candidate data and revealed that over seventeen percent of candidates in the United States reject extended job offers. This percentage climbs in industries like Insurance (22.6%), Business Services (21.8%), and Finance (20.5%).

When you have invested so much into sourcing, recruiting, and evaluating candidates, this is hardly the time to relax. Your offer letter is just as critical to get right as any other step in your hiring process. How you craft your job offer letter could very well be the difference between an accepted offer with a new employee and a disheartening response from a candidate who has decided you are not their ideal new employer.

The good news is that you don’t have to become another statistic of rejected job offers. Keep reading to learn what your job offer letters should accomplish, how to create the perfect offer letter, and some tips on how to deliver your letter.

What is the Purpose of an Offer Letter?

At this stage in your hiring process, you have accomplished a tremendous amount. It started with your job posting that attracted your ideal candidates, building a healthy and substantial pool to select from. You then followed a well-planned, structured interview format to ensure your interviews were consistent, relevant, and measurable.

A well-crafted offer letter continues your momentum and communicates a variety of information by:

  • Formally acknowledging that a specific candidate has been selected for your open position

  • Reviewing the core responsibilities of the role and the benefits the potential hire will gain by joining your organization

  • Defining and clarifying the compensation package being offered

  • Continues your efforts to reduce the risk of your candidate accepting a counter offer

  • Signals the potential launch of your onboarding process by outlining the next steps for the prospective new hire and yourself

The purpose of a job offer letter is so much more than a simple formality. It is a continuation of a dialogue between two parties as they work to become employer and employee. Therefore your goal isn’t just to have your offer accepted but to invite a candidate (someone still on the outside fringe) to step into a relationship with you and become a member of your team.

Tips For Creating the Perfect Job Offer Letter

The length of your offer letter will vary based on the role and level of detail required. However, all job offers should include the following components.

1. Job title

Start by defining the position you are offering by listing the job title you would like to hire them for. The start of your offer letter will be a bit formal since the purpose is to provide clarity and confirmation. But, that doesn’t mean it needs to be cold or disconnected. Be personal, share your excitement, and enthusiastically welcome them to accept your offer of a promising new role with your organization.

Suggested copy:

Dear [insert prospective hire’s name],
Thank you for your patience and participation in our hiring process. We are so excited to share our unanimous decision to extend an offer of employment to you for the position of [insert position title].

2. Complete compensation package

You should already know your prospective hire’s ideal salary range before you extend your offer. Likewise, they should already know the salary range for this role and the general benefits your company offers to employees. Your offer letter should therefore serve as a confirmation of your earlier discussions. Be sure to go beyond just salary though. This is where you should outline other benefits and perks your organization offers too.

Suggested copy:

Your starting compensation package will include a base salary of [$xx,xxx] with a [monthly, quarterly, annual] bonus plan of [x-x%] based on [list criteria for achieving a bonus]. We also offer our employees a generous benefits package consisting of [list details such as company-paid health insurance, x weeks of vacation, x personal/sick days, 401k/IRA investment plans, and other perks like free parking, laundry pick-up services, trade association memberships, etc.]

3. Overview of your company

With the most important details covered, now is the time to reinforce the opportunity at hand for your prospective hire. This is also where your employee value proposition (EVP) is very helpful again. Remember, your EVP defines the value your employees gain from working at your organization. For prospective employees, it defines what makes your organization unique and what you stand for. This information can be peppered throughout your offer letter or listed in one summarizing statement.

Example AEBetancourt copy:

We offer our employees a fun, energetic work environment, unlimited growth and compensation opportunities, and a unique value proposition for our clients that you can be excited to share. As one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in West Michigan and a Top 101 National Award Winner, we are known for the great care we take with clients and employees alike. We are eager to have you be a part of shaping the future of our team and organization.

4. Specific starting details

There are a couple more details that will be important for a prospective employee to know. Most candidates interview with multiple members of your leadership team, so help them out and confirm who they will be reporting to. If you are a large organization with multiple departments, detailing this information is helpful too.

Beyond this, list your proposed starting date based on your earlier discussions, even if this is subject to some negotiation with their current employer. Then include the next steps in your process which could include completing various application and background qualification forms if they had only submitted a resume before. Finally, invite them to any company events you have planned in the immediate future to help them feel connected and to begin developing those important relationships.

Suggested copy:

You will report directly to [insert manager’s full name and title with department if applicable]. We would like to have you start on or about [insert a specific date], arriving at our offices on [list the address] at [list starting time for their first day]. 

There are more details to share about some additional forms and applications for you to complete, parking, and first-day events, which we look forward to sharing after your official acceptance of our offer.

5. Ask for confirmation

Since this is only a job offer, make sure you ask for their confirmation and formal acceptance of employment. The amount of time you allow can vary, but the longer you allow them to respond, the higher your risk of them receiving and accepting a counter offer from their current employer.

Suggested copy:

Based on our conversations to date, we hope this will be an easy and exciting decision for you and your career growth. Please confirm your acceptance of this offer [insert by a specific date or if a date isn’t necessary, soon so we can assist with your transition to our organization].

[insert appropriate name and title of the person extending the job offer]

Final Tips for Delivering Your Offer Letter

Remember the purpose of a job offer letter isn’t to initiate a contractual relationship or to stamp an end to your hiring process. The ideal is to further a productive and mutually beneficial working relationship. Here are some additional tips to help you accomplish that when delivering your offer letter.

Make sure your offer letter is expected

Delays in your hiring process, inconsistent communication, or missing details during interviews can lead to uncertainties on both sides of this potential relationship. To increase the chances of your offer letter is accepted, make sure your candidate knows an official job offer is coming and a general idea of what will be included.

Make it official

The forms and methods of communicating only continue to increase, making many aspects of our business and personal lives easier. However, when extending a job offer to your candidate, make it official by sending your offer letter on company letterhead. Even if you have an accepted verbal offer, document this phase of your hiring process by way of a detailed letter where everything is placed in writing and accepted in the same manner.

Don’t start negotiating

This is not the time to start salary negotiations or to see how low an offer you can make. Have these conversations early with candidates to ensure you are both operating in a similar range. If you see value and opportunity with your chosen candidate, communicate that now with an attractive job offer that respects the level of experience and talent they can provide you.

Be personal

An offer letter is a formal document. However, it isn’t a contract. Provide detail without legal-sounding language. Be professional, but don’t lose that personal touch. This is your final chance to recruit your candidate, make it count.

Are you ready to extend an offer letter to your perfect-fit candidate? You have made it this far, make sure you continue your intentional efforts here too.

What about the rest of your recruitment process? We only touched on a few of the important elements and details that happen well before a job offer. Take a moment to review the essential pieces of an effective recruitment process by accessing our guide below.

a guide to the recruitment process