Job Offer Letters: A Simple (But Complete) Guide + Template

While there are lots of employment strategies for building the right team, many forget to consider the importance of a job offer letter. A well-crafted job offer letter has the power to convince the ideal candidate, while a sub-par letter has the potential to destroy any chance of acceptance.

A graphic showing a perfect job offer letter

While the right people have the power to propel a company forward, the difficulty of hiring can’t be overstated. Great candidates are in high demand, and it can be a tricky task to secure the best of the best when trying to establish your place in the industry. 

At Docue we’re committed to helping early-stage startups grow into global superstars, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate job offer letter guide. What is a job offer letter?

Let’s start with the basics: what is a job offer letter? In simple terms, a job offer letter is sent from an employer to a prospective candidate, laying out the main terms on which a job offer is being made. This normally includes things like:

  • job title;

  • scheduled hours;

  • rate of pay;

  • and holiday entitlements.

A job offer letter differs from an employment contract, in that there is no legal requirement to send an offer letter. As a result, it’s entirely up to the employer as to what they put in. However, if an employer sends an offer letter to an employee who then responds and accepts, a contractual relationship has been formed, even if a formal contract of employment is never provided. As a result, there are a number of best practices when it comes to creating a job offer letter that stand the test of time.

It’s important here to note that an employment contract takes precedence over an offer letter as long as the contract appropriately reflects the situation. So, if the salary or hours are different in the contract compared to the offer letter, the contract will stand.

So, what should you include in a job offer letter? this, you should be able to improve your job offer acceptance rate and grow your dream team. 

So, let’s jump in!

What to include in a job offer letter

While a job offer letter is at the discretion of an employer, there are some best practices for creating a compelling job offer letter. If you want your offer letter to well and truly secure the candidate, consider including:

Job description: Here you’ll want to include the position title, the scope of responsibilities, and what the employee can expect in their day-to-day work.

Job type: Is this position full-time, part-time, or seasonal? Make sure your employee is clear on what’s expected.

Starting date: Be sure to put the start date on your offer letter, or risk your new employee being left in the dark! 

Working schedule: Does your business work 9 to 5, or do you operate flexible hours? Do you have core hours? Do you need staff in the office five days a week? Or are you happy with working from home? Here you should outline what’s expected on a daily and weekly basis.

Salary: Simple stuff, be sure to include the salary on all job offer letters and make it clear if this is to be pro-rated for part-time staff.

Company benefits: It can be helpful to remind a new candidate of all the benefits that come with working with your business. Often, a great benefits package can be the deciding factor in whether a new hire decides to join you on your mission.

Supervisor: Depending on the role, it’s likely your employee will be reporting to an existing member of staff. What’s their name? What’s their title? This can help your hire get started on the right foot. 

In the course of researching job offer letters, you may have come across terms like “formal job offer letter”, or “internal job offer letter”. Let’s break these down briefly.

Formal offer letter

Many startups don’t realise that regardless of how an offer is made if it is accepted, a contractual relationship has been made. For that reason, an employment offer letter should always be treated as a formal document. 

So, when might you use a “formal job offer letter”? Well, the answer is in the name! When offering a job to a prospective employee, you would use a formal job offer letter. That means that this document wouldn’t be suitable for proposing terms of engagement for a self-employed contractor, for example. 

But what does it look like? Let's take a look inside our document builder at our job offer letter template.

Simply open the employee template, choose your custom fields...

... and specify the details of your job offer letter:

Once you're happy with the terms and conditions, simply fill out the custom fields and within seconds your lawyer-grade employee letter is ready to send.

If you want to try out our handy job offer letter plus many more premium templates, simply sign up for a free trial today.

Informal job offer letter

As we’ve discussed, contrary to popular belief, there is no legal requirement to provide a job offer letter. As a result, it’s down to the employer as to how they would like to make an offer. This extends to an “informal offer letter”, which would function in the same way as a “formal offer letter”. 

The likelihood, however, is that an informal employment offer letter would include less information. The informality of an offer letter can even include a verbal offer, which is just as binding as an offer letter, as long as a candidate accepts the offer. However, an offer of this kind might lack the level of detail required to truly secure the candidate long-term.

Please remember that if a candidate accepts an informal offer or verbal offer then that will most likely create a legally binding contractual employment relationship between the employer and the candidate. In other words, believe it or not, being more informal doesn’t necessarily translate into something which is any less binding than a formal job offer letter or a comprehensive employment contract.

Internal job offer letter

Let’s say you’re offering a role to a candidate that already works as part of your business. They’ve gone above and beyond, and you feel they’re ready for a bigger challenge. Here you might see the need for an internal job offer letter. 

This letter largely mimics a formal job offer letter, but likely requires less detail. At this point, it's highly likely that your candidate is already invested in the business, so there’s less of a burden to make your case.

Transitionary job offer letter 

There may come a time when an existing candidate’s role temporarily transitions from one mode of working to another. Let’s say a member of staff is going on maternity leave, and a colleague steps up to cover their role. To appropriately record this, you may want to use a transitionary job offer letter.

This employment offer letter would again mimic a formal job offer letter but include information on this change.

Docue's ready to use job offer letter template

It’s fair to say that hiring is a pretty pivotal time for businesses. It involves a huge investment of time and often requires financial input. That investment of time and money can be a particularly bitter pill to swallow when a candidate turns down a job offer as a result of a vague or non-existent job offer letter. 

That’s why the majority of companies opt to use a job offer letter. Given its importance, how can you ensure that your job offer letter is guaranteeing the best possible chance of securing the candidate for the job? And can you rely on your job offer letter to cover the legal basics?

At Docue we provide a lawyer-made job offer letter template, customisable to all kinds of job offers. Whether you’re engaging with a new hire, or acknowledging an internal step-up, we ensure startups put their best foot forward with a legal template designed to succeed. Sign up to the Docue platform today to see just how quick and easy to use our job offer letter template really is.

Get the template →

Legal tips for making a job offer

Perhaps one of the most important parts of making a job offer, comes down to providing a candidate with an honest description of what can be expected. This includes the good… the bad… and the ugly. While it can be tempting to promise someone the world, it’s a very quick way of losing great talent, and tarnishing the name of your business. Your employment contract should echo the brief you’ve given to your new hire, and expand on the terms set out in your job offer letter. The Docue platform has you covered on the employment contract front too, feel free to sign up today and gain access to our lawyer-grade employment contract templates.

If your employee is confronted with a lot of nasty surprises on day one, you’ve already lost a lot of hard-earned trust, and potentially lost your new hire. Be straightforward, be honest, and set the tone for the working relationship you want to build down the line. 

How to improve your offer acceptance rates

As an employer you’re up against it, with candidates experiencing a conveyor belt of opportunities. That’s why it’s up to you to create a transparent, communicative, and user-friendly recruitment process. This includes creating job adverts true to the role, ensuring hiring managers remain communicative throughout the process and providing feedback to unsuccessful interviewees. 

Finally, you’ll want to ensure that your job offer letter avoids typos, inaccurate statements, or offensive language. You’ve got the candidate to this point, ensure your offer letter doesn’t undo all your hard work.

Job offer letter templates, 2.0

Building your team is one of the great parts of growing a business, but it’s not without its challenges. When facing the competition, it’s important to stand out from the crowd, and make joining your business a no-brainer for candidates. 

At Docue we’re pretty passionate about supporting the next generation of startups to go further. That’s why we’ve built a platform that allows companies to create, customise, sign, manage and store all the contracts a business might need… and you guessed it, that includes a job offer letter template.

Ready to grow your team? Let us help you get it right. Start your free trial today!

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