What is a Job Offer Letter?
Once the recruitment phase is concluded, and the hiring team decides that a candidate is suitable for the advertised position, they will likely want to reach out to the successful applicant and offer them a job. This is usually done through a job offer letter. An offer letter is an important part of the recruitment process and always follows even if a hiring manager first calls to inform an applicant of their success. An offer letter can be sent electronically or as a letter. Either way, it is an important method of confirming that an offer of employment has been made.
When is a Job Offer Letter Usually Sent?
A job offer letter is typically sent prior to the signing of an official employment contract. It can also be extended prior to any pre-employment screenings or background checks. In that case, employers can make job offers reliant on the successful completion of employee background or pre-employment tests. Employers must note, however, that a job offer letter does not typically constitute a legally binding agreement. Therefore, it does not provide detailed legal protections for either party.
Why use a Job Offer Letter?
A job offer letter is a good way to standardize the offer-making process. It also makes it easier to generate new job offers for applicants. An offer letter also helps employers automate the process of hiring while providing employers a written record of offers made, and acceptances.
What is a Good Job Offer Letter Format?
There is no overall standard job offer letter format, and employers generally have the freedom to customize their offer letters as they see fit. That said, below are the key components of any good offer letter:
The Job Title and Job Description
This is one of the main purposes of a job offer letter. The purpose of it is to outline what responsibilities the applicant will have as well as what the employer generally expects from the applicant if they accept the role. It is important because it can be used as evidence for what role was accepted, and it also provides additional clarity for both parties.
Starting Date and Work Schedule
This is an important component of a job offer letter because it outlines when the applicant is expected to start their employment. It also details what the work schedule will likely be. This is especially important when the working hours are non-conventional.
This component details who the applicant will likely be reporting to once they commence their employment. It also provides clarity as to what the organizational structure of the company is and where the applicant’s position would fit within that structure.
Salary and Compensation
The employer may negotiate salary throughout any negotiation stage if they wish. However, the offer letter is where a proposed salary is confirmed. Employers are also encouraged to detail what the bonus structure is for the company and how employees can receive any form of additional monetary benefits.
Details of the pay periods for the salary should also be included. Applicants should be made aware of the pay period for any compensation they will receive.
This section allows employers to outline the benefits that come with being employed at their company. Examples include gym memberships, 401(k) plans, free books, or life insurance. If an employer has an extensive benefits scheme, they could also attach a separate document that is sent along with the job offer letter.
This section should explain whether the employee would be entitled to paid leave. This section should also outline any leave types like holidays, sick and personal time, or vacations the applicant would receive.
Privacy policies include Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements, and any other similar document. It is important that applicants are made aware of whether they will be required to sign any such documents in order to work at an employer’s business.
Employee Background Checks
Applicants should be made aware if an employee background check or pre-employment screening will be conducted prior to their employment. This section would cover the employer requiring a candidate to pass an immigration screening, complete a Form I-9, and any other relevant screenings.
The offer letter can also include any information about who an applicant should contact if they have any questions or concerns. The letter should also end with a section where the applicant can sign to confirm their acceptance of the job offer. It is also advisable for employers to include a statement outlining that the offer letter is in no way meant to be a binding contract.
The offer letter should not include any promises of future employment or any statement regarding job security.
How to ensure that a Job Offer Letter does not have Contractual Implication?
As has been stated earlier, it is not the purpose of an offer letter to legally bind the parties, or offer the legal protections associated with an employment contract. As such, it is important that when employers are drafting their offer letters, they ensure that they do not use language that could result in the offer letter being construed as an employment contract or any other binding agreement.
To avoid making a contractual agreement it is advised that employers include a statement in the offer letter that the employment is at will. This is unless the employer is based in Montana, rules may also vary in other jurisdictions so employers are advised to consult a local lawyer. The doctrine of employment at will means that the employment relationship can be terminated by the employer or employee at any time and for any or no reason.
If the language of an employment contract is used within the offer letter, the employment-at-will doctrine will be negated. To be on the safe side, employers should avoid including provisions typically found in an employment contract such as ground for termination, job duties, and requirements, or details on how to resign. Employers should also consult a lawyer once they have developed a standard job offer letter sample and prior to sending a letter to an applicant.
Job Offer Letter Sample
Employers can find good offer letter samples online. However, it is advised that they cross-check those letters with the information provided above to ensure that they are suitable and not legally binding.
Some basic job offer letter samples can be found below: