You’ve found the perfect job candidate. You extend a verbal offer on a Friday afternoon and they sound excited, so you promise to send an offer letter on Monday. You leave the office Friday evening feeling great, having landed a new—and badly needed—new employee.
And that’s where things go downhill.
First thing Tuesday morning, you get an email from the candidate. It turns out they decided to go on one more interview and have accepted another offer.
The time frame and the quality of your offer letter can make or break your hiring process. A letter that is thoughtful and professional leaves candidates feeling excited about the position. And the quicker you send this great letter, the more likely you’ll secure the candidate’s acceptance.
Don’t waste time when you’re ready to hire someone. With the templates and guidance in this article, you can quickly send offer letters that encourage candidates and drive them to accept.
How a Job Offer Letter Gets a “Yes”
The search for candidates takes time and work—typically, you spend weeks reading resumes, interviewing, and deliberating. By the time you’re at the offer stage, you’ve put a lot of effort into the hiring process. Make your hard work pay off by writing a job offer letter that encourages a “yes” from the candidate.
There are three principles to follow when writing a powerful offer letter—one that gives candidates a positive impression of your business and excites them about the opportunity:
1. Send the offer promptly.
When you send the offer promptly, you don’t just make the candidate feel valued—you also close the time gap during which they can take other interviews and accept other offers.
2. Generate excitement and provide transparency.
The offer letter should be aspirational so a candidate understands why they should accept the offer; save the nitty-gritty details for the employment contract, which is a separate document. At the same time, the letter needs to be transparent. This is the time to review the core elements of the job, such as the salary and employment terms, to make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. Be succinct and professional.
Keep your offer letter to a single page. While there’s room for emotional language and branding, you want the offer to be succinct and limited in scope so that you don’t overwhelm the candidate or come across as disorganized. Clear communication demonstrates that your company is professional and reputable.
How to Write a Great Job Offer Letter
Following the principles of writing a great offer letter is easy once you understand the industry standards, like timeline and content requirements. With this guidance, you’ll be able to quickly create and send an offer letter that encourages a candidate to say yes.
Ideally, you should send the offer by the end of the day that you make a verbal offer. This promptness doesn’t just close the time gap during which candidates can take other interviews and consider other offers—it also shows the candidate that you prioritize their offer and care enough about their role to send the letter quickly.
Here’s a sample timeline where the letter is sent promptly, but the candidate still has ample time to consider the offer:
- You extend a verbal offer on a Friday.
- You send the offer letter by EOD Friday.
- The candidate has time to consider the opportunity over the weekend.
If you can’t extend an offer on a Friday, you can still give the candidate time to consider by creating a deadline that’s a few days later. It’s standard to allow at least 24 hours for a candidate to decide, because they need enough time to discuss the offer with family and friends and get input that will help with a decision.
By sending the letter quickly and giving the candidate time to consider, you show them that you’re excited about having them join the team while respecting their decision-making process. The position begins to feel official for the candidate, so they’re less likely to consider other options and more likely to accept your offer.
Beyond timeliness, the content of a job offer letter is critical. To motivate candidates, the letter needs to be both exciting and transparent. The candidate is looking for an official statement that confirms the job details discussed during interviews so they know exactly what they’re agreeing to.
Along with the basic details of the role, using positive, emotional language is also important. Committing to a new job is a big decision, so candidates may need to hear words of encouragement and excitement before accepting.
Here’s what you should include in your letter:
- Congratulations. Start the letter with emotional yet professional language. Tell the candidate you are excited about working with them so they’ll feel happy about accepting your offer.
- Employment status. Say whether they will be working full time or part time and whether the role is a permanent or contract position.
- Income. Indicate the yearly salary or hourly pay rate. For contract positions, identify the alternative payment method for the role, such as corp-to-corp terms.
- Start date. Mention when the new hire will be starting their job.
- Signature. At the bottom, leave lines for the candidate’s and the hiring authority’s signatures.
You can also include these optional details:
- Benefits. List the major benefits of the role, such as health benefits and a 401(k), to get the candidate excited about the position. You can also attach a benefits document that outlines the perks in more detail.
- Office location. State where the office is located. This detail might seem obvious, but it’s helpful to make it clear if there are multiple locations. It’s also a good idea to specify the location if you and the candidate had a discussion about working remotely or if the candidate will need to relocate for the role.
- Offer letter deadline. Many companies include a deadline for returning the signed letter to keep the process moving forward.
- Impact statement. An impact statement indicates how the role will benefit the company. Outlining the positive impact of the role shows candidates how they are valued, motivating them to accept the offer.
Sharing the logistics of the role and why it’s exciting sets the right tone. Candidates know what the role entails—both the logistics and the perks—so they’re ready to accept the offer.
Offer Letter Template
You know what should be included in the offer letter. But how do each of those pieces come together? Here’s a template to show you where each element fits.
[Candidate address line 1]
[Candidate address line 2]
Dear [candidate name],
Congratulations! We are pleased to offer you the [role title] role. This role is a major part of our [department name] department. With your [relevant candidate strengths], you will be [positive impact of role].
As discussed, your starting date will be [starting date]. This position is [employment status], with an [annual/hourly] salary of [salary amount]. You’ll be paid on a [payment frequency] basis.
As a member of our team, you’ll have access to our company benefits, such as [list company benefits]. You can learn more about our benefits program from the attached [employee handbook, orientation document, etc.].
We ask that you sign and return this offer letter by [offer deadline or “at your earliest convenience]. We will send you your [employment contract, onboarding documents, etc.] once we receive your letter.
We are so happy to have you join our team. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
[Your printed name]
[Your job title]
Printed name: _____
Creating and sending a high-quality job offer letter is easy with this template. You don’t have to spend as much time writing, so you can promptly send the offer letter to the candidate after just a few minutes.
Putting It Together
Using the template, here’s what a job offer letter might look like for a hypothetical role for a real estate assistant.
August 2, 2018
202 E. 6th St.
New York, NY 10003
Congratulations! We are pleased to offer you the Real Estate Assistant role. This role is a major part of our residential real estate department. With your superb organizational and customer service skills, you will help our company nurture client relationships and support the executive team.
As discussed, your starting date will be August 20, 2018. This is a permanent, full-time position, with an annual salary of $40,000. You will be paid on a monthly basis.
As a member of our team, you’ll have access to our company benefits, including comprehensive health insurance and a 401(k) program. You can learn more about our benefits program in the attached employee handbook.
We ask that you sign and return this offer letter by August 6, 2018. We will send you your onboarding documents once we receive your acceptance.
We’re so happy to have you join our team. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
[Melissa Mosley signature]
Director of Real Estate Operations
Printed name: _____
A Reliable Process for Job Offer Letters
A job offer letter encourages your chosen job candidate to say yes. The document should include the basic position details along with motivational language so candidates feel ready and excited to accept. At the same time, it should be sent promptly after making the verbal offer so candidates feel valued and you quickly shut down other offers.
Following these guidelines is easy with a writing system in place. With this guide, you have a repeatable process for quickly crafting great job offer letters. Using this system, you can send prompt, effective offer letters and secure more great hires.