How many job offers have you received in your HR career? Fifty? One hundred? Five hundred? You would have sent only one to two requests per year in the past few decades, but it is possible. Offer letters were primarily written back then for professional or executive roles. Today, offer letters are sent to every candidate because of the specialized nature of many positions.
An interviewer, whether a supervisor or someone else within your company, might have provided incorrect or misleading information.
The employment offer letter is a formal document that documents a verbal agreement, clarifies points raised during interviews, and allows candidates to ask questions before accepting the offer. In addition, it confirms that the candidate agrees with the terms of the request. Many offer letters require signatures.
Even if the job offer letter is clear, there are still potential problems.
Regardless of the job, offer letters are crucial. Therefore, it is essential to include all relevant information. What information should you include in a job application letter?
What should a job offer letter say?
We understand how difficult it can be to write a job application letter and send it to candidates. The following terms should be included in every job offer letter:
1. Description and job title.
Begin with the basics. What is the official title of the employee? What is the name of their supervisor? Interviews can often mention many titles and responsibilities. Take this opportunity to clarify.
Be sure to indicate whether the job is part-time or full-time, exempt or non-exempt. Non-exempt employees should describe your timekeeping system, break requirements, overtime pay policies, and other details.
Share the employee’s job description and work schedule. Be clear, however, that the offer letter does not constitute a job description. Also, be aware that duties may change. Finally, mention the job site and whether it is hybrid or remote.
2. Important dates.
The job offer letter clearly addresses the start date and orientation dates. Unfortunately, these dates can often be lost in the interview process. Therefore, keeping them clear and ensuring they are on time is essential.
Candidates should be aware of performance management and evaluation periods to prepare for their future at your company. This will assure you that your company encourages feedback and improvement.
Also, indicate the expiration date. The candidate needs to know when to accept or decline the offer. This will help you plan when the letter will be returned and if it will need to be extended to someone else.
3. Terms, conditions, and compensation.
What do the candidates want to learn about next after their job title, description, and relevant dates? Of course, compensation and benefits!
For example, if you quote an “annual” salary, you might be liable to pay the entire amount in case of early termination. For non-exempt employees, you should state the hourly rate of wages and the pay-per-period amount for exempt employees. Be aware that compensation and benefits may be altered at the company’s option. Include the pay period, paid vacation policy, and holidays in this section.
These benefits and equity grants are part of the compensation package. It is just as vital to be stated in writing as the employee’s salary rate.
4. Culture and policies of the company.
This section should be short and sweet. This section is different from the place to include your entire employee manual or company policies. Instead, have that employment is subject only to the company policies, procedures, and handbook. All of these can be modified at the company’s sole discretion.
To help the candidate prepare for the environment, they will be working in, include a few words about the company culture. Also, let the candidate know you are excited about inviting them on board and have contact information for anyone they might need.
5. Statement of at-will employment
In your job offer letter, avoid creating a contract. Instead, include a statement of at-will employment in your job offer letter. This means the employer or employee can end the relationship at any time. Avoid language that suggests a fixed term of employment (unless it is a temporary one), limits on termination grounds or resignation, promises of indefinite employment futures, or promising promotions. A general declaration that the letter is intended for information purposes and not binding contracts should be included.
Here, every word and phrase is essential. can be taken to mean that the candidate is entering into a contract. This can lead to the employee losing their at-will status and requiring your company’s compliance with a written or verbal agreement.
6. A confidentiality agreement for employees and a noncompete clause.
In the past, confidentiality agreements and clauses governing noncompete were only available to executives in executive employment agreements. However, they’re now much more common than job offer letters.
This section of the job offer letter should be carefully written. Noncompete clauses and employee confidentiality agreements can cause legal problems for both parties for many years. Therefore, offer letters should contain a section that prohibits an employee from using confidential information from previous employers and a statement stating that candidates must tell you about noncompetition agreements or non-solicitation agreements that they have signed with former employers. This will help to avoid losing valuable colleagues or burning money in legal battles.
The best job offers letters clearly state that the offer is contingent on the candidate signing a confidentiality and invention assignment agreement. You can avoid lengthy litigation by having your candidate sign confidentiality and invention assignment agreements.
A job offer letter should contain a signature line to allow the candidate to signify their agreement and understanding of the offer.
7. A list of contingencies.
Make sure you mention that the offer is conditional upon a background check, reference checks, and proof of the employee’s legal right to work in the U.S. To ensure you meet all requirements, check your state’s specifics. For certain roles, you might need to have additional contingencies. Valid driver’s licenses or active certifications are two examples.
Many states have also passed various wage theft prevention laws, which require employers to give written notices outlining the terms and conditions of employment. These requirements are different for each state and may require more information than an offer letter. It is a good idea to seek legal counsel if you need to replace an offer letter with a wage theft notice. Many companies now choose to do both.
Many legal requirements must be met to make employment offers legally. Some require contracts. It is essential to partner with a company that knows local laws before you enter into any employment agreement.
Although job offer letters are not legally required, there are many reasons to use them. You reduce risk, increase clarity and align employer-employee expectations by sending them to all candidates. This is an offer that no company should refuse.