You’ve spent hours filtering through resumes, interviewed dozens of potential candidates, and finally selected someone that you think is the perfect fit for the job and for your team. What comes next? It’s time to send them a job offer.
Don’t procrastinate. You don’t want to risk losing your ideal candidate to a competitor, so make sure to contact them as soon as you make your decision. A prompt job offer shows a candidate that you’re enthusiastic and confident in their abilities, which could help in their decision to join your team.
A Good Old Fashioned Phone Call
It’s 2018 and we’ve all become increasingly call-shy, but that’s no excuse. Pick up the phone and call your candidate to give them the good news. It adds a personal touch and gives you time to carefully write out your job offer.
Be enthusiastic about bringing them on board. Let them know that they were your first choice (who doesn’t want to feel like number one?). This is the beginning of a hopefully long and fruitful business relationship and you want to start off on a good foot. Before hanging up, let them know that a detailed offer will be waiting in their inbox shortly. If they verbally accept on the spot, format your offer letter like a welcome package.
What Goes In A Job Offer
Once you’ve let them know verbally, the next step is to send them a formal offer letter. However, many people get stuck on how to write a job offer. While offer letters aren’t legally obligatory, they substantially reduce your risk as an employer down the line by clearly defining all aspects of the position. In short, writing an offer letter (no matter how difficult) is always worth your time.
To get you started, here’s what the job offer must include:
1. A Descriptive Subject Line: You want to get their attention right away. ‘Job Offer’ followed by your company name is quite effective.
2. Job Title and Description: Solidify the employee’s official title, and indicate who they’ll be reporting to. Indicate if the position is part-time or full time, non-exempt or exempt, and the expected work schedule.
3. Starting Date: State a specific starting date and time for your new candidate.
4. Job Responsibilities: Include a summary of the position’s duties, ensure that it is clear and up to date. Check in with your hiring manager to see if there’s anything missing. It is wise to state that these responsibilities are subject to change.
5. Compensation: This is likely to be the first thing your candidate looks for. State the starting base salary (in hourly of pay-per-period amounts), the frequency of payment, the method of payment, and any bonus and stock options. It is good practice to apply to 10% rule, which is to increase their current pay by at least that—people rarely leave a job for a lower salary. Clarity is crucial here.
6. Benefits: Perks are what make a job fun, but benefits are what keep people around. These often play a significant role in someone’s decision to take a job. Benefits include anything that has been pre-negotiated such as health care plans, wellness benefits, relocation assistance, insurance plans, educational assistance, paid sick leave, disability, RRSP options, spending accounts, company vehicles, and equity grants. This is also where you include vacation time.
7. Company Culture: This is your chance to woo the candidate a little. You want them to accept the job, so show them how great working at your company is! Do you offer remote work options? How about flexible schedules? A dog-friendly office? Don’t be afraid to share what makes working for you so great.
8. Company Policies: Don’t write out your entire employee handbook, but do include standard protocol statements explaining that employees are subject to company policies and procedures, and any changes that may come to them. This is also a good place to list probationary periods.
9. Disclosures: It’s important to include all legal statements from the get-go. Attach statements of at-will employment, confidentiality agreements, and non-compete clauses to your email. Define that these need to be signed and include a return date.
10. Contingencies: The final step is to declare that this offer is dependent on factors such as background checks, reference checks, proof of rights to work, etc. Make sure to double-check your geographic requirements for these.
Watch Your Tone
This job offer is what makes or breaks your relationship with this potential employee. You want them to feel welcomed and valued, but you must be careful not to accidentally distort the facts of their role.
Consider writing out a positive and casual email, and attaching all the detailed documents as PDFs. This keeps your message short and easy to read, while leaving them the option to delve into details as they please. You don’t want to overwhelm them right away, so prioritize what’s most important in the message: job title, salary, and your enthusiasm about their skill set.
The purpose of a job offer is to provide all necessary information in a direct and clear way. Before hitting send, read everything out loud. If anything sounds ambiguous, consider rewriting it, because the odds are that it will confuse your candidate too. You want to come across well-versed so that they feel confident about coming to work for you.
How To Format A Job Offer
Now that you know everything that goes into a job offer, here’s a great way to format it:
● An Introduction: Greet them and reiterate the good news! Congratulate them and express your excitement to have them join your company. State the job title and start date.
● The Juicy Stuff: Include the salary in the email body. This is what your candidate is looking for so don’t make them hunt for it.
● A Reminder: Recall your recent phone call and let them know that the detailed job offer and all other important documents are attached.
● A Deadline: Provide a clear deadline (within 3 days from send date is good practice) for them to respond to the offer. Explain that if they accept, they should sign and return all documents to you by email.
● A Personal Call To Action: Make yourself approachable and let them know that they can contact you about any questions they may have by email or phone.
● The Signoff: This is big news so it doesn’t hurt to congratulate them once more. Let them know that you hope to see them join the team soon. Sign off with your name, credentials, and methods of contact.
By using this format, the email body provides just enough information for them to decide if the role is a good fit for them without being overwhelming. They then have the option to peruse all details as attachments rather than skimming through a novel sized email.
Getting a Commitment
You want to get an offer signed as soon as possible, but you don’t want to rush your candidate. Give them some time to ponder the job offer, but consider asking them how they feel about it. It’s quite easy to pick up on hesitation in someone’s voice. This will give an opportunity to discuss objections with them, and also to prepare a plan B in case they decline the job offer.
If the decision keeps dragging on, pick up the phone and let them know that you’ve interviewed other candidates and are pressed for time. Ask them: “Can I tell them that the position has been filled?” This question puts them on the spot and almost guarantees you a clear answer.
Bringing on a new hire is an exciting time—especially for a young company—and confusion over how to write a job offer shouldn’t get in the way of that. Make sure to take time to make your candidate feel appreciated and it could make the difference between them choosing you or going to work for your biggest competitor. And on your end, using a Canadian HR software like Knit can help you keep the whole process organized.