Writing the perfect employment offer letter can mean the difference between snagging a top candidate and continuing the search. Companies are feeling the pinch of the labor shortage and it’s understandable – more jobs plus fewer workers equals tough competition when filling open positions.
But no matter the industry, companies need to recognize it isn’t necessarily the lack of jobs that could be holding them back. Culture is important. Having and demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion is important. So is offering benefits that will positively impact employees’ lives: health care, paid family and medical leave, paying a living wage and flexible schedules. As you negotiate with candidates to accept a position, it’s important to include information about the culture in the process. Spelling out what makes the job and your company great in the employment offer letter reinforces why a candidate should accept.
What’s an Employment Offer Letter Exactly?
An offer letter is a formal document sent to a candidate offering them a job at a company. It includes basic information about the position – start date, title, salary, onboarding information – and offers written confirmation that the employer is selecting the candidate for the job. An offer letter is sent after the offer is made over the phone or by email. Some companies have stipulations or contingencies stated in the offer letter that must be met before employment begins, like a completed background check and/or drug screening.
Legalities of Employment Offer Letters
Offer letters are formal documents but the content is not set in stone. Even if it is the perfect employment offer letter, a signed letter isn’t automatically a guarantee of employment. Offer letters are sometimes confused with employment contracts, which are signed agreements between employees and employers or labor unions. Employment contracts establish the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Where an offer letter can be vague about future statements, an employee contract puts them front and center.
Some important details about an offer letter include:
- It is NOT a legally binding contract
- It does NOT include promises of future employment or wages
- It includes an employment “at-will” statement. Every state, except Montana, presumes at-will employment. At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability. In turn, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
Tips for Drafting Employment Offer Letters
Offer letters are such an important document, they should be drafted with care. According to SHRM, when writing an offer letter:
- Avoid using phrases that imply an indefinite future of employment. Statements such as this can include “job security,” “we’re a family company” or “in the future.” Your offer letter should include language conveying that the company can alter or rescind any information contained within the letter when needed. For example, if you hire an employee to work a day shift, you may want to allow for the possibility that it may require working after hours or on weekends if needed.
- Eliminate verbiage that makes promises about future earnings. Don’t promise consistent bonuses or raises. If these conditions can’t be met in the future like when your company earnings don’t support an annual bonus, you leave the door open to potential lawsuits.
- Let a legal team review it. Before sending a job offer letter, get a legal expert to review it for language or statements that could lead to a potential lawsuit. If your company doesn’t have a legal firm on retainer, consider using a service like Arcoro partner MyHRCounsel, which provides 24-7 on-demand legal assistance. Once you get verbiage approved by legal, create an offer letter template that will save time and ensure future offers meet legal standards.
- And don’t forget to include information about your benefits offering and other perks. If you have a mentor program, highlight that. You can also talk up any tools or technology that you use or opportunities for training. Remember: To a certain extent you are selling your organization. Use the offer letter to capture reasons a candidate should accept in addition to the required compensation, timing and other details.
Writing a great construction job offer letter can help companies secure more new hires. Arcoro’s Applicant Tracking System can help streamline the hiring process by automatically sending offer letters directly to the applicant with all the information they need to accept your offer through electronic signature.
Once the letter is signed, a copy can be stored in our Core HR module. The 100% paperless and cloud-based system securely stores employee data, helping to minimize risk and compliance issues. Administrators can customize workflows to support their unique HR processes. With new automations running, HR leaders can focus on strategic initiatives and people instead of data entry. Businesses save time, decrease costs and reduce their environmental footprint with cloud-based solutions.