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Tips for Writing Effective Job Offer Letters

24 Mar


Finding the best candidate for an open position is hard work. For some, it could take months to find the perfect fit. But at last—you find the person you were searching for.

Your new challenge is making an offer that is compelling enough to persuade them to choose to work for your company, rather than another. You need to provide the candidate a concise, yet explicative, offer letter that will describe your company’s benefits and expectations.

The question is: what should be included a job offer letter?

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Salary and Bonus Opportunities

During your recruiting process, you likely discussed the salary offered to a candidate for the role. However, if you’re offering the position to someone, the salary needs to be written out and agreed upon. This is true for both exempt and non-exempt employees.

If the job role is paid on an hourly basis, you must explain this in addition to what the hourly rate is. If the position is salaried, explain what the annual rate is and how much an employee should expect their gross pay (before taxes) to be per pay period.

It is also imperative that your offer letter details what the pay periods will be (i.e., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).

Furthermore, if you offer any form of bonus or commission plan, which is common for many sales positions, you should also highlight this.

Should your company offer paid time off, this should also be detailed.

At-Will Employment

At-will employment is an agreement that state an employer has the ability to terminate an employee for any reason and without cause or prior warning—as long as the reason doesn’t discriminate. Conversely, an employee is entitled to the same rights.

If your company hires on the basis of at-will employment, you need to include the terms within a job offer letter. If you don’t, you may face legal ramifications down the road.

If a candidate acknowledges that they are being hired at-will, courts can deny the employee any claim for loss resulting from the dismissal.

Job Duties

Whatever role you are hiring for, whether it be in sales, marketing, HR, or any other department, the duties of the job should be outlined in the job offer letter.

However, you do not need to list every single detail of what the job will entail.

Highlight specific duties and emphasize that this is not a complete list of everything that is expected—you may go into more detail during the onboarding process.

If you choose to explain the duties in great detail, you may overwhelm your potential new hire.

Confidentiality and Contingencies

Of course, you don’t want competitors to know what projects you’re working on and what you have planned for the future. Because of this, every offer letter you send to a candidate should ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement stating they will not disclose important company information with anyone outside of your organization.

At this time, the candidate should also be asked to sign a contingency agreement. This agreement should explicitly detail that the offer is contingent upon a background check clearance, reference check, and satisfactory proof of the employee’s right to work in the U.S., as required by law.

Onboarding and Next Steps

If a candidate is prepared to accept a job offer, they’re going to want to know what happens next. While, you don’t have to explain every step of the onboarding process, it will be helpful to include a start date and the timeline of any contingencies, such as reference checks. It’s important to include these steps so that the employment relationship begins on strong footing, launching your new employee and your business as a whole towards success and prosperity.

Looking beyond the onboarding process, new employees should be made aware of your company’s performance management practices, such as evaluation periods and employee write up processes.

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Extending a Warm Welcome

The end of your search is just as exciting for the candidate as it is for you, and you should let this be known. Be sure to include a few welcoming words and further highlight your company’s culture and accomplishments to reassure the candidate that they made the right choice. While you may be over the moon with excitement, you may still need some help—that’s where a professional employer organization (PEO) comes in. A PEO like VensureHR can help teach you how to write a job offer letter and provide resources, like a business owner’s guide to recruiting that will help the process run seamlessly.

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