Key Components of a Strong Job Offer Letter

A strong job offer letter is incredibly important, both for getting your relationship with the new hire started on the right foot and for protecting your company against any adverse action in the future should things with the employee not work out (i.e. a frivolous lawsuit stemming from an employee who was misled about the circumstances of their new job).

The offer letter can be a key to convincing the potential employment to agree to work for you, and it can set the stage for a positive (or negative) employment relationship.

Creating a strong job offer letter involves walking a fine line between including the information a potential new hire will need to make their decision, and avoiding being too specific or offering more than you can deliver.

Below we’ve detailed some of the key elements that your offer letters should include:

Job Title – The potential employee should know what job they are applying for by now, but you need to include exactly what their official title with your company will be.

Start Date – Let the potential new hire know when you would expect them to start. You don’t want them to sign on with the expectation that the job will start right away when in fact it will not start for a month.

Wage Details – You should include how the employee will be paid, how much they will be paid, and when they will be paid. This is probably the top offer letter inclusion that every potential new hire will look for first.

Benefits – Explain what benefits you are offering them, such as retirement plans, healthcare, stock options, or profit sharing. Clearly state what they will be entitled to or what programs they can participate in should they accept the offer, but do not try to promise more than you are certain you can provide. Offering someone a benefit in your offer letter that isn’t currently available but you think will be when the new employee starts could be disastrous if it doesn’t work out for some reason.

Time Off – Explicitly state your predefined vacation policy as well as how many personal days the potential employee may take and under what circumstances. Does their paid time off accrue over time or do they start with a specific amount that resets each year?

Additional Compensation or Considerations – Include any other benefits, such as the potential for bonuses or raises if they are realistic, but make sure not to guarantee them unless you know you will be able to deliver. Also include any extra considerations you might be offering, such as relocation assistance, or anything else that might sweeten the deal for the potential employee.

“At-Will” Language – Include language that explicitly defines your potential hire’s employment status as “at-will,” meaning they can be fired at any time for any cause, and the employee has the right to leave the position at any time for any cause.

Contingencies – If the offer of employment is contingent upon something like a drug screening, make it clear that the employment relationship does not officially begin until those criteria are fulfilled.

The most important thing in your offer letters is to be honest and forthcoming. Do not try to “trick” a potential hire into working for you by misleading them in the offer letter. And don’t forget to be welcoming, this is the first impression your potential hire will have of what an employment relationship with your company will look like.

Integrated General Counsel can help you ensure legal compliance and hiring effectiveness in your job offer letters. Give us a call and let us help you create the offer letters you need to bring in the talent your company deserves, and bring them in on a positive note.

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Written by Integrated General Counsel

Our focus includes handling a variety of corporate matters and also includes litigation in state and federal courts. Our current practice includes providing transactional services and representing a variety of small and medium-sized companies as their outsourced general counsel.