How to write the job offer letter

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Confirm the final details of any verbal discussions and agreements

You’ve offered a job to a candidate; he or she has accepted. Everything is settled then, right? Not so fast.

Human resource experts say no offer is official without an employment offer letter that details everything in writing. The letter confirms the final details of any verbal discussions and agreements the employer has had with the prospective employee. The candidate’s acceptance of the job is tentative until he or she has read the letter and signed it along with any other agreements the company may require.

The job offer letter will vary depending upon the type of position. Some higher-level positions will include more information. A company’s employment law attorney should review any letter and job offer to ensure it protects the company and meets any legal requirements, as the letter is legally binding in the terms and conditions it offers the candidate.

In general, the letter will offer employment to the individual, state the job title and include an attached job description, share information about to whom the person will report, include salary and payment details, explain vacation and time off policies, give eligibility for benefits, and provide the start date of employment.

Go2hr.com, an online human resources advocacy group, says the letter is a way to start the relationship between the employer and employee on a positive note by using a positive tone and letting the person know why they were chosen and the skills and experience he or she will bring to the company. This can make the candidate feel confident and prepared to perform his or her new job.

The letter may also include information about bonus or commission pay, non-compete agreements, stock options, work or moving expenses, and employment status.

The last component is important in Iowa because it is an “at-will” employment policy state. This means
employees can resign at any time for any reason, but also that employers can terminate employees at any
time but not for discriminatory reasons. Including the “at-will” information in the employment letter can prevent future legal action, according to the Small Business Chronicle.

Any employment is also subject to contingencies the candidate needs to meet. The letter should explain this and state that the job offer is good pending a background check, drug screening, physical or other requirements. Including these contingencies protects the employer from legal obligations should they need to take back an employment offer because the candidate failed any of the above, which would include failure of a drug test.

Should the candidate want to negotiate any terms such as salary or vacation, the letter will be a reference point from which to start the negotiation, according to Go2hr.com. The letter should give the candidate any information he or she needs about the company, its environment or the specific position before the individual begins his or her employment. ♦

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