The interviews were phenomenal. The references checked out beautifully. The candidate’s skills, experience and culture fit are a great match for your company.
You’ve found “the one.” Now it’s time to seal the deal by making the candidate a written offer.
During this honeymoon stage, it’s easy to get caught up in feelings of good will. After all, you want your applicant to accept the offer, and you want to start your employment relationship on a positive note. But be careful not to let those “warm and fuzzy” feelings bind you to unintended obligations. Use A.R. Mazzotta’s tips to write an offer letter that gets accepted – and protects your company, too:
- Start with a verbal offer. Make a verbal offer either in the interview or by phone first, and then send a letter to make the details of the offer official. It’s best if that first verbal offer comes from the hiring manager, because it makes the offer more personal and shows that the hiring manager is excited about the person joining the team.
- Outline the fundamentals. In the written offer, include the job title, the status (full-time or part-time), a general overview of the new hire’s primary tasks, the supervisor’s name and the expected start date.
- Review pay and benefits. Include the pay rate and how often the employee will be paid (weekly, biweekly, etc.). Avoid stating compensation as annual salary, as it may bind you to an implied employment term of at least one year. You should also include an overview of the benefits to which the new employee will have access.
- Use non-specific wording. Use words like “generally” and “typically” when referring to terms and conditions of employment. This is especially important when describing benefits and company policies, as generalized descriptions are less likely to be misinterpreted as binding promises.
- Include an “at-will” statement. Connecticut is an employment-at-will state, which means that private-sector employers and employees generally have the right to terminate employment at will whenever, without giving a reason. Consult with your attorney to include appropriate language in the offer letter which makes it clear that the employment relationship is at-will.
A written offer letter takes time and effort to create, but clearly outlining your expectations is important to starting your employment relationship off on the right foot.