Despite all the time and thought that’s put into recruiting and hiring new employees, one crucial step is often overlooked: the actual job offer letter.
An average offer letter should clarify details and conditions of a job in writing.
A great offer letter could be the deciding factor between whether or not your top candidate accepts the position.
Here are some considerations to make when writing a job offer letter. We’ve also got three free job offer letter samples to help get you started.
Is a written job offer necessary?
When an applicant has already accepted a verbal offer, a written job offer might seem like a lot of unnecessary paperwork. But by not sending candidates a written offer, you’re opening the door for stress and confusion.
Putting the job offer in writing is your opportunity to clearly outline the terms and expectations of the position. This protects everyone involved from any miscommunication and creates a precedent of professionalism.
What do I need to include in my written job offer?
Every job offer should outline certain details of the position, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Here’s a list of some basic information that you should include in a job offer letter:
- Official title of the position
- Who the position reports to
- Classification of the position, including full-time vs. part-time, and exempt vs. non-exempt status
- Expected start date and schedule
- If the position is temporary, include the end date
- Base salary or pay rate, including pay schedule
- Brief description of all available benefits and the timeline for becoming eligible
- Clarification of relevant bonus, commission, and equity information, including conditions
- Statement that the position is subject to company policies, including future revisions
- Privacy policies, including a copy of any confidentiality agreements
- Statement that the employment is at-will
- Any contingencies of the job offer
- Contact details for questions and concerns
And here are some things that you shouldn’t include in a job offer letter:
- A comprehensive list of all duties and responsibilities. If specific duties are mentioned in the job offer, be sure to include that the list is not complete and that the duties are subject to change.
- Promise of a specific length of employment, including any mention of job security. This could be misconstrued as an employment contract.
Some state laws have additional requirements for what must be included in job offers, so be sure to look into the employment laws in your state.
More than anything, your offer letter should start a dialogue with your candidate.
There will be questions and concerns. Your job is to make it clear that you’re ready to listen and respond.
What’s the best way to extend a job offer?
Some HR departments prefer to send a formal job offer letter through the mail. While a physical letter can be a nice personal touch, keep in mind that your offer is likely not the only one your candidate will receive.
Time is of the essence.
The most common reason candidates reject a job offer is because they already accepted one from another company, according to a CareerBuilder survey of staffing professionals.
This whole issue can be easily avoided by first extending a verbal offer over the phone. If the candidate responds favorably, let them know they will receive an official job offer letter in the mail or via email.
Keep in mind, though, that sending the written job offer via email can speed up the process significantly but it doesn’t give you permission to cut corners.
Some applicants may feel insulted if you don’t give them the news over the phone first. Remember, you want to bring in the top talent — so treat them like the top talent.
Another important note? Your offer letter can (and should) reflect the company culture.
Are you a laid-back tech company with kombucha on tap? Then your offer letter should project the company’s relaxed vibe!
No two companies are the same. So do what works with your culture.
Now that you’re an offer letter pro, here are three sample job offer templates to get you started.
Hiring a part-time employee? There’s an offer letter for that. Get a free job offer template for hourly jobs now.
Informal Email Job Offer Letter Template
Note: Don’t forget the subject line! It’s always a good idea to be catchy, but in this case the subject line should focus on making the purpose of the email clear. You don’t want the email to be overlooked. Here are some examples of effective email job offer subject lines:
- Job Offer from [Company]
- Your Offer from [Company]
- Job Offer for Position of [Job Title]
Hi [candidate’s name],
We are very excited to offer you the position of [job title] at [company name]! It has been a pleasure getting to know you over the past week. We are all very impressed by your [candidate’s unique quality or skill]. I am able to say with confidence that you would be a valuable addition to the [department/company name] team.
As we discussed [during the interview/over the phone], this job is a [full/part] time [exempt/nonexempt] position that will require [number of hours] per week. You will be reporting to [supervisor’s name and job title] starting on [start date].
We would like to offer an annual base salary of [salary amount], paid in bi-weekly installments by direct deposit. You would also be able to take advantage of [bonus or commission information]. Please keep in mind that this is an offer for at-will employment and is not an employment contract.
If you decide to join our team, we can also offer you the following:
- Comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance
- 401(k) retirement plan
- [x] annual paid holidays
- [x] days of annual paid sick leave
- [x] days of annual paid time off
- Tuition reimbursement
I am attaching a document to this email with more information about our competitive benefits plans for you to look over.
Also attached is our company’s standard confidentiality agreement. If you choose to accept this offer, we ask that you include a signed copy of the confidentiality agreement as an email attachment.
Please let us know your decision by [date]. We sincerely look forward to welcoming you to the [company name] family!
Feel free to contact me at [contact information] with any questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
[sender’s job title]
[sender’s phone number]
[link to company website]
Formal Job Offer Template
Dear [candidate’s name],
On behalf of [company name], I am pleased to offer you the position of [job title] with an expected start date of [date]. This position reports directly to the head of [department name], [manager’s name and title].
This position offers a starting base rate of [amount] per hour, paid in monthly installments. You will also be eligible for [bonus or commission information].
This is a [full-time/part-time] position that requires [x] hours per week. Your regular schedule will be from [time] to [time] Monday through Friday. As discussed, the job duties may necessitate occasional weekend work. This position is considered [exempt/nonexempt] under the federal and state wage and hour laws. This means that you [are/are not] eligible for overtime pay in the event that you work more than 40 hours in a single workweek.
All full-time employees are eligible for employer-paid health, dental, and life insurance policies, as well as [x] days of paid sick leave. Paid vacation leave is accrued at the rate of [x] days per monthly pay period. Attached to this letter is a summary of company benefits.
[Company name] is an at-will employer. You reserve the right to terminate your employment relationship with us at any time. Similarly, [company name] retains the option of terminating your employment at will, with or without cause or prior notice. Neither this offer letter nor the attached company policies and procedures constitutes an employment contract.
This employment offer expires [x] days from the date of this letter. If you choose to accept this offer, please sign where indicated below. The signed offer may be returned via email at [contact email] or via mail using the enclosed envelope. Please also include (1) a signed copy of the attached non-disclosure agreement and (2) a signed copy of the attached acknowledgement of your receipt and understanding of the company’s policies and procedures.
Your onboarding orientation is scheduled for [date] and will include more information about benefits, policies, and an introduction to the [department name] team. Please bring all appropriate new-hire documentation, including proof of your eligibility to work in the United States. A list of appropriate documentation is included with this offer.
Any questions or concerns, including requests for additional consideration time, may be addressed to the hiring manager, [manager name and contact information], or to the director of Human Resources, [name and contact information].
[sender’s job position]
I have read and understood the terms of employment outlined in this offer. I accept the offer of employment set forth above.
Conditional Job Offer Letter Template
Dear [candidate’s name],
I am happy to inform you that I would like to extend to you a conditional job offer for the position of [job title]. It was a pleasure meeting with you last week. I appreciate your patience and flexibility throughout this process. We feel that you would be a great addition to our staff! Please review the terms of our conditional offer below:
Expected Start Date: [insert date]
Expected End Date: [insert date if applicable]
Base Pay Rate: [insert hourly/weekly/monthly pay rate and schedule of payment]
Expected Date of Merit Review: [insert expected date of performance/merit review and eligibility for merit increase to base compensation]
Bonus/Commission/Equity Eligibility: [insert applicable bonus/commission/equity eligibility and conditions if relevant]
Direct Supervisor: [insert supervisor’s name and title]
Location: [work address to report to]
Work Schedule: [full-time/part-time, other schedule details and number of required weekly hours if applicable]
- We offer approximately [x] Paid Holidays per year.
- You will accrue Paid Time Off (PTO) at a rate of [x].
- You will be given [x] hours of Unpaid Time Off (UTO) on January 1st of each calendar year.
- After 30 days of employment, you will be eligible to enroll in our Medical, Dental and Life Insurance plans.
- After 90 days of employment, you will be eligible to enroll in our 401(k) retirement plan. We match up to [x]% of contributions.
Conditions: As we discussed during your interview, this offer of employment is contingent upon the following:
- Results of your background check
- Successful passing of a drug screening test
- Successful completion of [certification/course]
- Satisfactory reference check
- Obtaining a [x] security clearance
- Your ability to pass a standard physical screening test based on the duties of this position
- [any other conditions of employment]
If the above conditions are met and you decide to accept this position, you will enter an at-will employment relationship with [company name] that may be ended at any point by either party.
Please tell me of your decision in writing at your earliest convenience. This conditional offer is valid through [date]. If possible, I would also like to schedule a time prior to your start date for you to come in and review some additional paperwork.
I would like to express to you again that we are very excited about the possibility of working with you. Your [quality] and [quality] make you a great fit for our team. Feel free to reach out to me at [contact information] with any questions.