The offer letter is the penultimate part of the formal side of the employment process and comes at the end of what is usually weeks of work
The offer letter is the penultimate part of the formal side of the employment process and comes at the end of what is usually weeks of work. Having invested all that time and effort, you want a great offer letter to make sure you seal the deal and get that perfect applicant.
Although you have probably already made a verbal offer, the letter is often the first formal part of the agreement of employment. It certainly has some legal standing, but just as importantly, it is part of your employer brand and part of the image your new employee is forming of your business.
At this stage, the deal is not fully done, and the employee could potentially still change their mind. There is many a slip twixt cup and lip as the old saying goes (or between letter and contract in this case), so it’s important not to relax until the contract is in place.
What makes a great offer letter?
Here at Lavandi Talent, we have seen some really great offer letters over the years, so here are a few things we learned.
- Be upbeat and positive about the offer - You will want to be formal enough that it is clear there is some gravitas in the offer, but at the same time, you don’t want to come over stuffy and rigid. This is particularly true in industries like cosmetics and personal grooming that are generally fun and colourful places to work. Why not start with the fact that you are looking forward to them coming to work with you? Be excited about their prospects and tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them in the interview.
- Don’t let the letter be the first they know about it - It’s far nicer to get a phone call well in advance of any formal offer. A letter or even an email is still a very impersonal way to start a career move.
- Use an email as well if it’s appropriate - Once the decision to employ someone has been made, it seems pointless to wait for the actual letter to go out. How about sending a prequel in the form of a quick email? In fact, there is nothing stopping you from sending the whole offer by email if you like.
- Include some useful ‘keep warm’ material - As well as the formal letter why not drop in some information about the new job. Orientation material such as maps, where to park, who to see on the first day, and so on all add up to a more welcoming approach. This is particularly important in larger organisations.
- Make the details clear - Putting the start times and dates and other workplace details in the offer letter could go some way to offsetting the new job nerves. Structure and knowing the routine in advance are comforting when you are about to move to a new job. The details the employee needs should be clear and precise.
- Don’t overdo it - We have seen offer letters that are packed with volumes of information on everything right through to the company history. There will be plenty of time for that information later. For now, stick to the basics.
The offer letter is a cause for celebration, not just a small stepping stone in the process. It isn’t the same thing as a contract of employment, but it is the penultimate step towards the final commitment on both sides.