Job Offer Letters: What to Include and What to Avoid

People who enjoy watching horse racing are familiar with horses coming “out of the gate”. This term refers to how smoothly a horse leaves the starting gate, which can give the horse a good starting position in the race. It also helps to contribute to how successful the horse will be.

In a way, this idea can also refer to new employees. Hiring companies and new candidates know that a good start is beneficial to both. A good job offer letter can be the beginning component of this successful start.  Here are some elements of what should be included in an offer letter, and what should be left out.

Job offer letters should specifically state the job title and location of the position. Identifying the job title confirms to the candidate what the actual job duties will be. Location is helpful if there are multiple locations for the company. The letter should also mention the start date of the job. These may seem obvious items to express in the letter, but they minimize confusion for new employees not familiar with the company. Effective communication of details sets the tone for good rapport with the company. In addition, a designated contact person needs to be stated on the letter.

Many companies are at will employment agencies. This means they have the ability to hire and fire at will. Some companies in a union environment have an established procedure for the termination of employees. Job offer letters should include information that the business is an at-will company so that new workers are aware of this from day one.

Letters should also clarify the compensation for the position.  This may have been addressed in the job announcement and at the interview. For purposes of clarification, pay should be included in writing. This should not be done on basis of annual salary but what it will be per pay period. Knowledge of their compensation helps new workers when they need to make adjustments in their lives with their employment such as added cost of a longer commute.

Some form of feedback should be given by the new employee. This can be in the form of an email confirming receipt of letter and acceptance of employment. Some companies also make it a policy to have the candidate sign, date and return the letter verifying acceptance of the employment offer. Businesses need to make this decision based on their need.  Any letter written should be simple, professional and direct.

Avoid making statements regarding job security as anything in writing can become a legal document if problems occur and arbitration is necessary in the future.  Nothing should be mentioned regarding the length of employment. Personal statements should be kept out such as “we are sure you will have a long future with us”.

For more information on writing offer letters, be sure to visit our employer resources found at Advance Temporary Services.




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