It's always a thrilling experience to make someone's day and that's what it feels like when you give someone the opportunity of employment. After you've gone through the process of attracting the kind of people you want to have to work in your company, then completing the interview and background check, now you get the pleasure of offering the position to a job candidate. One of the tools that is used to let the job candidate know that you want them for the open position is the job offer letter. This is a letter that simply explains that you would like the candidate to work for you. It is just that simple. Some people make it complicated, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, there are just three things you need to remember to include in a job offer letter to protect both you and the job candidate: the offer of the position, the detail of the position, and some legal considerations.
Why a Letter
The job offer letter isn't required in order for you to hire someone, but it is recommended. When you've decided to offer a position of employment to a candidate, you can simply pick up the phone and call that person to let them know they got the job if they want it. Many employers still handle this next-to-last-step in the hiring process, (behind onboarding), this way. But an offer letter simply adds another layer of protection for you, the organization, and the employee.
The letter spells out what the position is, the name of the person accepting the position, and additional information that was discussed in the advertisement of the position as well as the interview. Even though you want to cover a couple of legal things and some job details, you definitely want the job offer letter to be written in an exciting tone that conveys the message that the candidate should be proud to have made it to this final level in the process.
This is a wonderful opportunity for both you and the candidate. You found a qualified person to fill a position that will help the company generate profits. This is exciting! Write the offer letter with this in mind. Some job candidates have been looking for a very long time for the job you are offering. Others may be using this job as a stepping stone to other things, and still others may just be bouncing from job to job, but that's okay. It doesn't matter. The job offer letter you send, just as with other company correspondence and marketing publications, should be written out of compassion and cheerfulness.
Think of the offer letter as a communication tool to not only let the candidate know that you like them and see them as valuable to the company, but also to send a message of what the company culture is like. Even if a candidate moves on from the company six months later, they will hopefully remember the words and tone you used in that job offer letter they received and may even tell their friends and associates.
This is an area that many employers choose to avoid, thinking they will get in trouble if they put anything legal in an offer letter. The point of this section is to communicate to the job candidate that there are some things that need to be considered when accepting the position. For example, including some language that lets the candidate know that the offer letter is not an employment contract. You should include a written statement that employment with the company is at will, meaning that the employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or employee at any time and for any or no reason (check your state laws first).
According to a recent Society for Human Resources (SHRM) article, "A contract binds both the employer and the employee; an at-will statement may alleviate that commitment. If statements were made by the employer during the interview process, either orally or in writing (e.g., in an offer letter), that imply an employment agreement, then the employer may have an obligation to uphold it as a contract. The employers should seek legal guidance in those matters."
This is also a great section to let the candidate know if they will be considered either as an exempt or nonexempt status. To be exempt means they are typically salaried and therefore don't receive overtime pay and may not be eligible for minimum wage. The nonexempt employees are typically hourly employees. To get a better understanding, visit the US Department of Labor website under Wage and Hour Division. You will also want to include any contingencies here. An example could be that, "This offer is contingent upon completion of an I-9 form as well as any other background checks, drug screens, physicals, or confidentiality agreements," that you require employees to complete.
Creating the Letter
Don't try to create from scratch your job offer letters. This shouldn't be a big chore for you once you find the right candidate. A simple search of sample job offer letters will bring up thousands for you. One good source is found at the bottom of this SHRM article where you can download a template and customize it for your own use. Make sure that you proof the letter several times and have others proof it as well so that in reflects your company's values and mission. At the end of the letter, create a space for the job candidate's signature and date. Also, include a line that lets the job candidate know that the job description for the position is attached and that document further explains what is expected if they accept the job offer.
Sending a job offer should be an exciting time for both the sender and receiver. It should be thought of as a kind of proposal for the beginning of a wonderful relationship. You found someone qualified for the job and they found a company to work for. It is an exciting marriage that will hopefully be long-lasting and profitable for everyone.
Workstream (www.workstream.is) is an end to end hiring software built for the hourly workforce, cutting in half the time to hire and on-board workers, via SMS / text communication, automated workflows, online document signing, and more.