Offer letters are typically sent before other pre-hiring requirements, such as background or reference checks. Employee offer letters are not an official employment contract, but rather, as Indeed describes, an offer letter “formally offers a position to a job applicant, summarizes the main terms and conditions of the offer, and provides details about the role and company to help a candidate decide whether or not to accept the offer”.
The employee offer letter is often the beginning of employment negotiations, where employer and potential employee go back and forth about salary, benefits, responsibilities, and other aspects of the role to reach a mutual agreement.
The initial offer letter is the starting point of everything, so it’s essential that employers put some thought into creating their employee offer letters.
There are some pieces of information that are customary to include in offer letters, such as:
- The role being offered
- The salary
- The start date
- Any conditions of employment that may impact the offer
- The date by which the offer should be signed and returned
- Contact info for who the candidate should contact if they have any questions
- A place for signatures
In addition to those basic requirements, many HR professionals choose to include other details about the organization and role, as a way to demonstrate company culture and give the candidate a fuller picture of what working with the organization will be like. These include things like:
- Company values
- Detailed outline of benefits and perks
- An overview of the responsibilities of the role
- A link to company policies/benefits booklets
Aside from the basics above, employee offer letters should be personalized to the candidate, even if it’s just a sentence or two. Include something like: We loved talking to you and getting to know you throughout this process, and think your skills and experience with [previous company] would be a great fit for our organization. We would love to offer you the position of [role] at [company name] and look forward to working with you.