Job Offer Letters

HR Resource
August 16, 2012 — 2,244 views  
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After sifting through hundreds of resumes, calling in the most deserving candidates for in-person interviews and breaking down the pros and cons of each potential hire, there is one more important step to take: writing the perfect job offer letter. Even if a verbal offer has been issued and accepted, written offers remain important, essentially serving as signed agreements which make the whole process more official. Here are some tips on how to write the perfect job offer letter.

Follow the law

According to Inc., the first and possibly most important step to take is determining state and federal employment laws to save your company from potentially serious trouble down the line. Each state has different employment laws, necessitating the research and subsequent compliance of each regulation. Some states require complete drug and background checks, which could affect some terms as stated in the letter. Listing and following an incorrect rule could ultimately result in a wrongful hire and a litany of headaches for your human resources department.

Make no promises

You must also ensure that no statements implying job security or tenure are made within the letter, according to Donaldson James. By emphasizing that the hiring will be on an "at will" basis - meaning that the employment relationship can be reasonably terminated at any time - the employee can't make any assumptions about his job security. While the goal is always to have a candidate stay on with the company as long as possible, you will want to leave yourself some leeway in case anything goes wrong, so make no promises or references about length of employment.

Show me the money

Similarly, along these lines of indefinite tenures, it is important to avoid committing yourself to a salary offer over an indeterminate period of time. According to Clark Personnel, some employers have found themselves stuck into working with the candidate over a whole year by not including disclaimers to length of employment along with their annual salary offer. Be sure to include references to weekly, biweekly or monthly rates while providing annual equivalents. Additionally, if there are benchmarks or possible promotion and pay raise points, make them abundantly clear within the job offer letter.

Finally, remember that while offer letters can be used as contracts, they are often separate entities. Having a lawyer or in-house counsel look over the language of the letter will ensure that complications down the road are avoided.

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