Every growing business needs an employment offer letter. But what should be in it? Here are the answers - and a free template to get you started.
Sending and receiving an offer letter should be a moment of sheer joy on both sides. It’s also a key company communication, with consequences that could be business-critical. But offering someone a job in writing doesn’t always come across that way.
Regulatory and compliance burdens, as well as time pressure, mean that offer letters often look more like an ass-covering exercise where the employer just wants to fulfill some legal obligations, cram the envelope with stuff, stick it in the post and forget it ever happened.
Overloading people with information, while skimping on personal warmth, sets a bad tone for your new relationship. Employment offer letters are the perfect opportunity to delight a prospective employee, and welcome them to the team, so don't let the opportunity to do so pass you by.
Here's everything you need to know about employment offer letters, including how to write, negotiate and automate the perfect offer letter.
Juro powers the offer letters for some of the world's fastest-growing companies, like Cazoo, Deliveroo and Trustpilot. If you'd like to automate your contract admin so you can focus on finding great candidates, get in touch today for a short, tailored demo.
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What is an employment letter? | Purpose of offer letters | Who uses offer letters? | What to include in an offer letter | Free offer letter template | How to write an offer letter | How to negotiate an offer letter | How to scale offer letter workflows | Automate employment offer letters
What is an employment letter?
Put simply, an employment offer letter is a document sent out by a company to offer a job to a successful candidate. Offer letters are just one way of contacting candidates that impress during a hiring process to offer them a position at your company, and they can be sent either digitally (e.g via Juro) or through the post.
Depending on the jurisdiction, an employment letter is sometimes known as an: employment contract, offer letter, employment verification letter, or a proof of employment document - but they all exist for the same reason. If you’re an employer, the employment letter is used to formalize the hire. The employment letter usually confirms the job details for the candidate, with information on salary, working hours, employment terms and conditions, and more.
It might be followed by a separate, details employment contract; or it might form the legal basis of your employment on its own. It might also contain details and additional documents relating to benefits, share options, and other key considerations.
What is the purpose of an employment offer letter?
The main purpose of an employment offer letter is to explain exactly what you're offering a candidate if they choose to accept the role at your company, as well as what will be expected of them if they do decide to accept your offer.
For instance, your offer will often include the benefits you would make available to them, the nature of the work they'd be doing, and what they'll be paid for this work. The more appealing this offer is, the more likely they are to accept.
Therefore, another, perhaps less obvious purpose of an employment letter is to delight and impress the candidate, both with the contents of your offer and how it's being presented. If you're offering a candidate a role, you obviously want them.
A well-drafted, meaningful and attractive offer letter is the perfect way to showcase what your company is like and convince them to get on board!
Who uses employment offer letters?
The people who use employment letters often fall under three categories.
People and talent teams, or HR. These functions are responsible for business growth through employee headcount. They usually act as the candidate’s main point of contact throughout the hiring process, and they can often be the party responsible for sending out the final offer letter.
The hiring manager. This depends on the role, but often the hiring manager will often want to weigh in on the potential candidates joining their team. A head of sales, for example, may provide input on the which individuals are sent an offer letter, and on what terms. The hiring manager is also responsible for the offer letter itself, and adding in key details about the role.
The candidate. The most important stakeholder in the hiring process, the candidate is the most affected by the employment letter. For this reason, the employment offer letter should be designed with them in mind.
"Securing a new hire should be an exciting moment for both the candidate and the employer - so make sure this excitement is reflected in your employment letter"
What should you include in an employment offer letter?
There are several features that are common to most employment letters. These include:
A personalized note 🖋️
Your employment offer letter should include a personalized note confirming that you're offering them the position and congratulating the candidate on this achievement. For a more personalized feel, you might even want to elaborate on how they impressed, if you haven't already.
Specific details of the offer 💸
The employment offer letter will also need to lay out specifically what the offer entails. For example, you should place the following details clearly at the top of your offer letter:
- Salary (+ bonuses)
- Position / Job title
- Start date
- Line manager details
- Location of the position
- A list of benefits they're entitled to 🎁
Since you're using the offer letter as an opportunity to showcase what the company can offer an employee, it makes sense to include a brief overview of the most important benefits on offer, whether these are free healthcare, share options, fitness budgets, unlimited holiday, or something else.
If there's too much information to include, which is probably a good thing, then consider using links to other documents within the offer letter to keep it concise.
What their responsibilities would include 👔
If you're offering a candidate a role, they're inevitably going to know what they'll be doing in the role, and what they'll be responsible for if they choose to accept. Use the offer letter as an opportunity to familiarise them with the role, and what will be expected of them once they've joined.
Additional terms and conditions 👩⚖️
Probation periods, data protection rules, working time regulations, ect. There is a lot that goes on in the background of the hiring process, and it's important to ensure that the candidate is familiar with the different rules and regulations themselves (and their company) will need to comply with.
Most employer letters are also branded with the business’ logo. This allows the employer to establish their brand and offer consistency throughout the business.
Free employment letter template ✨
If you find yourself snowed under a backlog of hiring manager requests as your company scales and continues to ramp up hiring, then contract automation might be an effective solution for you. Here’s an employment letter example to get you started.
This employment letter template can be used as part of an automated process that can help people and talent teams save time, delight candidates and increase time-to-hire.
Check out our options below to get this employment letter as a PDF or as a draft in the Juro platform. If you click the final link, you can create a free account and use the employment letter template as part of your workspace.
How to write an employment offer letter
Securing a new hire should be an exciting moment for both the candidate and the employer - so make sure this excitement is reflected in your employment letter. Here’s how you can write a good employment letter that candidates want to sign.
1. Use readable, friendly language… 💬
Legalese and impenetrable jargon don’t reflect your company culture – so don’t start your employee/employer relationship by using them. You only get one chance to make a first impression in writing so keep it accessible, clear, concise, to the point, and above all, friendly. You’re asking this person to be in a long-term relationship with you, after all.
2. …but nail the key details 🎯
That said, you must convey all the crucial information they need to make a decision. Keep this front and centre, so there’s no ambiguity. Cover practical details like start dates, what to expect on arrival, who to report to on day one, the name of their line manager, when their first payday will be, the length of any probation period, and so on.
Let them get excited about the role by giving them a sneak peek into what onboarding will look like, with some details about their first week. Think hard about the acceptance date – make sure you give them enough time to properly consider the offer, whilst also establishing a timeframe that lets your business move forward. If their onboarding will be remote, it’s worth sharing a few details about that too.
“With the exception of the odd hypergrowth company hiring fifty people at a time, there’s really no reason to make your offer letters 100 per cent standardised”
3. The personal touch ✨
Every candidate is different. The one you chose obviously had something none of the others did – otherwise you wouldn’t be offering them the role. So make your offer to them personal too.
If you had them present a strategy in the final round interview, and their creativity blew you away, then refer to it. If the interview panelists had specific positive feedback, share it. If you want them to accept the offer then make sure you let them know that they aren’t just one more headcount receiving a mass-produced template. With the exception of the odd hypergrowth company hiring fifty people at a time, there’s really no reason to make your offer letters 100 per cent standardised. Make it personal.
4. Information design is your friend 🎨
An employment offer letter is just the tip of an iceberg of information that candidates need to make an informed choice about the role, and to know what to expect if they accept. But cramming in detailed information about (for example) options schemes, pension schemes, data security policies, and so on, is only going to lead to information overload and a slower decision-making process.
Use layering or linking to external documents to give them access to the information they need, without compromising the readability and accessibility of the offer you’re making to them. Check out Monzo’s terms and conditions or Juro’s privacy notice for an example of how this might look.
5. Brand your offer letter 💅
Any other key company document, like a sales brochure, a fundraising deck or a customer email, would be branded consistently. This should be no different – make sure your marketing and design colleagues have signed off on the visual direction, and that your offer letters reflect the most up-to-date public identity of your company.
At Juro, our contract collaboration platform helps companies send out beautiful documents, so it’s the only choice for our offer letters – plus we can show off our mobile-responsive e-signing to new joiners. It also gives candidates a valuable head start when it comes to becoming product experts.
6. Delight them 😃
The incorporation of delight factors is a hallmark of so many recent successful businesses – companies like Slack, Monzo and Stripe know when to incorporate emojis, illustrations, playful language and personalisation better than anyone. Adding little touches – like having the CEO hand-sign it and write a personal intro – to make an offer letter a great experience could raise your candidate’s experience by a few percent and make an attractive offer ultimately irresistible.
Startups face a tough time competing for talent – one little touch could be the difference between landing a great hire and missing out.
7. Brevity – always 🙌
The tightrope you need to walk is incorporating all these elements, without compromising one of the most fundamental must-haves: brevity. There’s no doubt that a shorter document increases the likelihood of securing a signature. Improving your time-to-hire metric by optimising for length could be the edge your company needs in a competitive hiring market. Give people the key information up front and they’ll get to signing faster.
“With an automated workflow, a feasible end-to-end time for generating, issuing and securing signature on an Offer Letter is less than one hour”
8. Automate your offer letters 📈
If you really want to light a fire under your time-to-hire metrics, an automated process is a must-have. With an automated workflow, a feasible end-to-end time for generating, issuing and securing signature on an offer letter is less than one hour. Juro customers typically report saving upwards of 75 per cent of time on admin and paperwork with regard to Offer Letters.
Make sure you find a solution that can deliver dynamic, branded, mobile-responsive digital documents that can give your candidates the experience they deserve. By automating your Offer Letters you can remove a sizeable burden from your workload and focus on what really matters - finding, hiring and onboarding great candidates
“The time I spend replying to candidates and negotiating terms has been reduced by 75 per cent thanks to Juro”
- HR Business Partner, Curve
How to approach offer letter negotiation
Once you've sent the candidate an employment offer letter, you have to sit back and wait to hear. Most often, candidates will either accept or reject an offer letter outright. However, in certain situations, there might be some negotiation involved surrounding the terms you provided. But what then?
When you’re trying to secure good candidates, they are likely involved in more than one hiring process, so it’s essential to provide a streamlined experience and to negotiate the best terms for both them and the company.
Fortunately, there are a few ways that businesses can make offer letter negotiation simple.
1. Know what you're willing to negotiate 🌡️
Remember, negotiation and willingness to be flexible is important in reaching agreement: candidates can feel disengaged and frustrated if there’s no discussion, and you run the risk of losing them altogether. Equally, there will be things you simply can't move on as a business.
Knowing what these things are before a candidate begins to negotiate terms is essential, as it will prevent delays and friction if and when it does come to that.
2. Prepare your content for negotiation 📚
User-friendly design and language can play a big role in making offer letter negotiations easier. The faster the candidate can access and understand information, the less likely they are to spend time clarifying terms and digging around for information.
Ditch the legal jargon and use friendly, approachable and easy-to-understand language that excites the candidate and reflects your business culture. Make sure the most important information is clearly visible – this will prevent miscommunication and encourage the candidate to sign.
Look through previous offer letters and identify the points that were heavily negotiated – can you make changes to these now to minimize back-and-forth later on?
3. Improve your process ⚙️
One way to improve your offer letter process is to make it more visible internally. Integrations with collaboration apps like Slack and Juro’s timeline feature mean that relevant teams in the business can keep track of the contract, its status and any updates, and how the counterparty has engaged with it.
This insight is invaluable and can make negotiations much easier by opening up channels of communication; for example, employers can see whether the candidate has opened the letter and can then suggest a call to discuss it.
4. Use Juro for employment offer letters ⚡
Another effective way to improve efficiency and reduce friction during employment offer negotiations is to automate the letters to begin with, making them easy to negotiate directly onto, edit and sign.
With contract automation software like Juro, users can benefit leave internally and externally facing comments directly onto the offer letter, add additional attachments when requested and see a complete audit trail of the amendments made.
This helps legal, business and HR teams to quickly agree terms with prospective employees that work for both parties, and with ease.
How to scale your offer letter workflow
But what happens when your business starts scaling rapidly and the volume of employment offer letters needed rises significantly? How can you balance producing the right quality and quantity of offer letters without becoming a drain on legal's time?
If your business is hiring at a steady level, onboarding good candidates and meeting its growth targets, you might think that a scalable process isn’t necessary. But as the company continues to grow, your current non-scaleable process could suddenly stall.
When it does, so will your growth. But how can you build an offer letter workflow that's built to scale? Here are a few of our tips on how to create a collaborative, scaleable and friction-free workflow using Juro:
1. Build the perfect offer letter template 🔧
We discussed how to perfect your offer letters earlier in this post, but as your business scales, it will be more about perfecting the templates used to create offer letters.
Your offer letter templates will serve every single offer letter you send out, so it’s worth getting the details just right. Think about usability, readability, and visual design, as well as where to put and how best to signpost important information.
2. Enable teams to self-serve 🌟
By using a Q&A flow to automatically populate key fields, you can give teams the ability to create their own dynamic and engaging offer letters. This can save time spent on admin work, giving users greater control and oversight, and streamlining the process.
3. Integrate the offer letters with systems you use 💻
By using a contract collaboration platform like Juro, you can integrate your contract workflow with services such as Slack, Google Drive and Greenhouse.
These integrations can help you track applicants and spot where things are getting stuck or slowing down, all while giving you and the necessary people complete visibility of any contract updates.
4. Kick-start the process and review regularly 👟
Make sure you start small and allow teams to adapt before diving into large-scale automation. Work out where the bottlenecks are using dashboard and analytic features in your contract collaboration platform. And most importantly, review the process regularly and iterate: this will help make sure that your scalable workflow stays scalable.
With these features in place, your supercharged offer letter workflow will be able to handle whatever you throw at it, regardless of how fast your company grows.
How to automate employment offer letters
If you're interested in scaling your contract workflow for employment offer letters, your best bet is to put contract automation software in place. Without a robust contract process, offer letters can cause pain points that frustrate hiring teams and candidates alike. More often than not, they become frustrated due to duplication of work, poor data integrity, wasted time, and poor candidate experience.
Here's how your business can automate employment offer letters to remove friction and create a more seamless onboarding experience:
Who owns the templates? 🔐
Offer letters are used in certain jurisdictions in conjunction with employment contracts. In other jurisdictions (like the US) there is typically no separate employment contract. As such they should still have oversight from the legal team. Typically they will own the wording of key provisions.
Templates often also have involvement from marketing and communications teams, as they represent a key touchpoint for the brand. An attractive, dynamic document with engaging branding can be the difference between an offer being accepted quickly or left unanswered.
Who creates the contracts? 📝
Talent acquisition teams usually work with hiring managers and senior leadership (depending on the role being hired) to nail down the specific details of the contract. They’ll use a Q&A flow to quickly enter data in smartfields like candidate name, contact details, remuneration, bonus, equity, start date and so on. This data will autopopulate the generated contract, and be searchable afterwards.
Who are the approvers? ✅
Unless there’s a culture of departing significantly from templates, legal may not need to approve every Offer Letter that goes out. Senior hires like a VP or C-suite role might require more scrutiny, both from legal and the leadership team, but hiring managers are usually empowered to approve Offer Letters for the majority of roles.
Who are the authorized signatories? ✍️
It’s still commonplace for CEOs to be the ultimate signatory for employment contracts. It’s good for both branding and candidate experience. However, depending on company size and structure, department or function heads may be empowered to sign Offer Letters. In a high-growth environment, if a business is adding dozens of employees each month, an eSignature flow is common to make sure signatories can speed through their backlog.
How can Juro help to automate employment offer letters?
A rich, dynamic text editor. From a branding perspective, this is a must-have, allowing employers to make offer letters more appealing to the candidate with engaging visuals. Options for tables and charts can help employers convey clearly and simply pension, remuneration and stock options, for instance.
Commenting. The ability to comment and negotiate in-browser is useful for people teams and hiring managers making changes on the document before sending it to the candidate. External negotiation is uncommon on offer letters, as this would typically be discussed over the phone or through recruiters, but it’s useful to have the option.
Mobile-responsive eSignature. This gives candidates the opportunity to accept a job offer on their phone as they walk back from the interview, giving you the edge if your candidate is interviewing with several companies. eSignature also decreases time-to-hire and streamlines the hiring process, saving signatories valuable time.
Mass generation. The faster your company grows, the more urgent it will be to have processes and solutions that scale with the business. Mass generation can help HR users create letters to vary terms at scale. If you’re working at a high-growth scaleup, for example, and hundreds of new employees receive a new equity award, you can use a platform like Juro to mass generate and sign those variation letters.
Supercharge employment offer letters in Juro
If you're looking for a scalable way to create, negotiate, sign and share employment offer letters, try Juro. Some of the world's fastest-growing companies use Juro to automate employment offer letters. Why not join them?