The specifics of what to include in a job offer letter will vary based on the company, the expectations for the role and details regarding the candidate. That said, it can still help to read about suggestions regarding what you should put in your job offer letter. Below are a handful of elements that can be smart to include in an offer letter regardless of the job being offered.
Job title and description
State the official title the candidate will hold as an employee. Provide a description of the job, including a concise overview of the job duties. Keep in mind that you do not have to list every single work duty. Simply summarize the most crucial duties and make it clear that the job duties you’ve included do not represent all the responsibilities of the position.
Provide the expected date the candidate will begin working for your company. You can include other critical dates, like the date of a new-hire orientation meeting. You can also include an expiration date for the offer letter so the candidate knows how long they have to think about the job offer before they either accept or reject it. Including an expiration date is also a good idea because it gives you time to either negotiate with the candidate or switch gears and extend the job offer to someone else if the initial candidate turns down the job offer.
State the name and job title of the person whom the candidate will report to directly. This will familiarize the candidate with someone in the company to whom they can turn with questions or concerns.
Work schedule and location
Clarify whether the position is full or part time. Include the work schedule the candidate can expect to have to adhere to, such as a start time of 8 a.m. and a stop time of 5 p.m. Also, specify the expected work location, whether it’s remotely for work-from-home positions or in the office for positions that require in-person attendance. If you are offering a position that entails hybrid work, make sure you identify which days the employee will be expected to work from the office and which days they should telecommute. Be sure to also indicate whether either of these conditions is subject to change.
Exempt or nonexempt classification
You will need to properly classify the new hire as either exempt or nonexempt, which is a requirement mandated by federal, if not state, law. If the position is exempt, the offer letter should state that the employee is not eligible for overtime. If the position is nonexempt, the offer letter should include that the employee will be eligible for overtime as long as it is a benefit offered by the company. Take a moment to explain to candidates applying for nonexempt positions that they will need to record their work hours within your company’s timekeeping system.
State the pay the employee will receive and whether they can expect either an hourly wage or a salary. Include the pay frequency as well, which will typically be weekly, biweekly or semimonthly. For salaried employees, you can include both the annualized and pay period salary amounts in the job offer letter. Mention that the pay is subject to change based on various factors, such as the outcome of a performance evaluation. Additionally, describe the benefits the employee will be eligible for, like health insurance, a 401(k) plan and paid time off. You can also include applicable bonuses and commissions.
Include an at-will employment clause to emphasize to the candidate that employment can be terminated by either the employer or the employee at any time and for any legal reason.
Describe the contingencies surrounding the offer, such as the need for the candidate to pass a background check, a drug test, a reference check and an employment authorization check. The offer letter should also include confidentiality or employment agreements the new hire will need to sign prior to officially becoming an employee of the company. Finally, keep in mind that there may be other state and federal regulations that will affect what you can and cannot say in an employment offer letter. Make sure you look into these, and always treat job offer letters seriously.