Food For Thought: Offer Letters

October 19th, 2010 | Food for Thought | No Comments »

The offer letter is the first step in the official, long-term relationship between you and that guy who until now has only been a candidate. That said, you may be surprised by how many employers are unsure of how to write an offer letter, or what exactly it should say.

Essentially, you want an offer letter to congratulate but also clearly spell out expectations and terms without being too overwhelming or intimidating. Here’s 5 quick tips to guide you on your way to an offer letter they can’t refuse!

Welcome! Whether it’s a few kind words, a separate congratulations card, or even a congratulatory bottle of wine, make sure you whole-heartedly welcome your newest addition.

Avoid response deadlines of more than 3 days. Preferably, ask them to get back to you with an official answer within 48 hours. Otherwise, you run the risk of your candidate “shopping around” and using your offer letter to negotiate better terms with other companies or even their current employer.

Skip any special arrangements. For example, you may want to pay more or grant more vacation than the next guy, but once this is in writing, it is more clearly discriminatory.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If any bonus structure or performance reviews are not guaranteed or set in stone, then promising these, especially in writing, is bad news, as it may come back to haunt you later.

Including a “sign and date here” line is a great idea. It seems more official and your new employee is less likely to be a no-show if they’ve replied in writing that they agree to everything you’ve presented.

Finito! Have fun writing.

Clare Webster – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis