Hiring 101

How to Write a Job Offer Letter (+ Free Template)

Job offer letters are often an afterthought, but they play a pivotal role in the hiring process. They can be an aid to communication—clear, concise and compelling—or they can sow confusion and damage the candidate experience.

Ultimately, your offer letter is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd, so we've created a template containing all of the elements needed to help great candidates become happy employees.

How to Create a Job Offer Letter That Stands Out

Your job offer letter is the last interaction a candidate receives before making the decision to accept or reject your offer.

Their emotional response—whether they're overjoyed at your offer or left confused and disappointed—is amplified by a principle called the recency effect.

The Recency Effect

You can use the recency effect to your advantage. With a few simple changes, you can write an employment offer letter that builds excitement and instills confidence—turning a good offer letter into a great one:

  • Go beyond the “transaction.” Offer letters don't need to be terse and technical. While some sections should be particularly clear and concise—like salary, employment type, and start date—there's plenty of room to add personality and positive emotion into the experience.

  • Answer crucial questions. Your offer letter is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills and answer additional questions about job titles, responsibilities, and compensation. It's an opportunity to clarify expectations and ensure both candidate and company are on the same page.

  • Don't hold back. Hiring is exciting. You've found someone with the perfect combination of skills, experience, and interest to join your team, and they're about to open the door to a whole new career. So don't hold back: If you were bowled over by your candidate, send them a clear, unequivocal message: You're a great fit, and we'd love to have you to join our company.

While the traditional job offer letter was just that—a physical letter—today, most companies send offers by email. Your offer letter can either be written in the body of an email or attached as a separate document.

However you choose to write your job offer letter, there are 11 elements that need to be included.

11 Elements of a Job Offer Letter

1. Congratulations

Receiving an offer is a moment of celebration, and adding a line (or two!) of congratulations to your letter reinforces the sense of accomplishment.

At Google, we go a step further: Once an offer has been made, recruiters reach out to interviewers and hiring managers involved in the recruitment process and encourage them to send their own congratulations to successful candidates.

2. Explanation

There are dozens of reasons why your successful candidate is perfect for the role, from their skills and experience to their interests and attitude.

Including a snapshot of your reasoning helps codify what the best candidates did well and explains why you're so excited to have them join the company. It's an extra vote of confidence in their abilities and helps highlight the skills that will make them successful in their new role.

3. Position Title and Responsibilities

Open your job offer letter with the position title—like Head of Marketing, Business Development Representative, or Financial Analyst—and a brief description of the role's core responsibilities. You'll have talked through these in more detail during the interview process, but your offer letter is a good opportunity to recap.

4. Employment Type, Compensation, and Pay Structure

According to research from MRI Network, employers report that a noncompetitive starting salary is the most common reason for declining an offer.

With that in mind, it's important to explain the compensation package on offer and be open to some back-and-forth before your candidate accepts the offer. Make sure to include the following:

  • Clarification as to whether the role is for a full-time or part-time position.
  • Annual salary or hourly rate, according to the pay structure of the role.
  • Any applicable bonuses or commissions. These are particularly common in sales roles in which employees are incentivized to hit predetermined sales quotas.
  • Clarity regarding when salary is paid—most companies use a biweekly or monthly pay period.

5. Benefits

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that benefits account for between 30.5% and 37.4% of the total compensation offered to employees. Don't shy away from showcasing the benefits that come with the position, such as:

  • Insurance coverage, including health insurance and dental coverage
  • Paid time off, including annual vacation
  • Working flexibility, like work from home days or flexible working hours
  • Education assistance and employee training programs
  • Stock options

6. Start Date, Schedule, and Work Location

Accepting a new job often entails a new working routine, so it's important to clearly communicate your expectations. Let your candidate know:

  • Where they'll be working from
  • What their expected office hours will be
  • When you'd like them to start the new role

7. Manager

Who will be responsible for overseeing your new employee? If your candidate is keen to work with a particular mentor, this is a great opportunity to build excitement.

8. Contingencies

If your role is contingent on any verifications or qualifications, clearly communicate these requirements in your offer letter so candidates can start preparing. These include:

  • Background checks
  • Reference checks
  • Verification of U.S. employment eligibility (known as Form I-9)
  • Probationary periods
  • Non-compete clauses
  • Confidentiality agreements for sensitive work

9. At-will Status

A company's at-will status—referring to your employment relationship, and an employer's ability to terminate employment without having to establish “just cause”—can vary from state to state. Use your offer letter to provide clarification to your candidate.

10. Offer Expiration Date

Some employers set an offer expiration date to provide a clear deadline to their candidates. Even if this isn't included in your job offer letter, it's useful to set internal deadlines to provide a clear time frame for following up with candidates.

11. Next Steps

Close with clear instructions on how to accept the offer—usually signing, dating, and emailing it back to you—and set expectations for the next step in the process, whether that's a formal job offer and employment contract or one of the contingencies mentioned above.

Job Offer Letter Template Preview
Sample offer letter (download below)

How to Make a Job Offer

With your offer letter written, it's time to share the good news. How you choose to manage the offer process—the communication channels you use and the timeliness of your communication—can have a big impact on the final outcome.

Move Quickly

Once you've made the decision to hire a candidate, move quickly.

In today's competitive job market, great candidates often juggle multiple applications—and multiple offers. Moving quickly shows respect for a candidate's time and reduces the likelihood that they'll accept a competing job offer.

Combine Phone and Email

Phone calls serve as a complement to your offer letter: - A phone call before sending an offer letter gives recruiters the chance to extend heartfelt congratulations. - A phone call after sending an offer letter gives the candidate a much-needed opportunity to have their immediate questions answered.

Both approaches work well, but at Google, we choose to start the job offer process with a phone call. After the call, recruiters send a job offer email, solidifying the phone discussion and laying out a clear next step.

Follow-up

Once you've sent your job offer letter, keep track of your candidate's responses, and set reminders to follow-up within a few days. At this point, it's up to your candidate to weigh your offer.

  • If the candidate declines, follow up with a candidate-experience survey. This can reveal crucial insights into your hiring process, allowing you to adjust the experience to increase your future chances of success.

  • If the candidate accepts, congratulations! Finalize the job description, and any discussions of salary and working conditions, and move to the next stage of the process: creating an employment agreement.

Download Your Free Job Offer Letter Template

Your offer letter is the difference between a good and a great candidate experience, helping to set clear expectations and building excitement for the opportunity to come. With that in mind, we've put together a free job offer letter template and a sample job offer letter—pre-filled with all of the essential elements we've covered in this guide.

About Hire by Google

Hire is a recruiting app by Google that uses AI to make the hiring process faster and simpler. Because it is designed specifically for G Suite users, with Gmail, Google Calendar and other G Suite integrations, Hire streamlines administrative tasks so that your team can hire the best people, faster.

Request a Demo to learn more about how you can hire smarter, together, faster, with the recruiting app for G Suite.