After weeks of screening and interviewing candidates, your hiring team has finally identified the person you want on your squad. You’re all excited and ready to get the offer email out as quickly as possible. Delivering good news is always a feel-good moment!
But hang on. There’s a lot of work to be done before you hit “send”. Considering that 28% of candidates back out of job offers after they’ve accepted them, you want to get it right!
Offer emails are the equivalent of a formal job offer. Although emails seem informal, the content will hold up if there were to be any challenge, legal or otherwise.
The last thing you want is your best candidate disputing info and turning down the offer. Prepare and think the content through carefully before you even touch your keyboard.
Ensure the legally binding details are accurate
Formal job offers are legally binding contracts, so although you want your offer email to have an upbeat tone, ensure you get the finer details right. Include the following essentials at the core of your email:
- Define the terms of employment.
- Define the company’s expectations.
- Define what the candidate can expect.
- Define “contingent to” conditions if there are any.
- Detail the salary and benefits being offered.
- State the start date and start time.
- Detail working hours, including fixed, flexi, and overtime.
- State the date by which you expect a response.
- State the date on which the offer will expire.
- State that all other details previously communicated are voided.
- Confirm that this is the official exclusive employment.
- Give clear instructions on how to accept the offer.
- Provide contact details should the candidate have any questions.
These are the essentials, but you might need to elaborate if necessary. It’s best to include lengthy information as attachments because you don’t want your email to be too long and difficult to read.
You can also send a more specific job offer letter format once the candidate has accepted and converted to a new employee.
Make a verbal offer before you put it in an offer email
Once you have all of your offer details ready, call the candidate and make the offer. Congratulate them and give them the basics like the salary and benefits as well as the expected start date. Ask them directly, “Are you interested?” If they are, tell them that you’ll be sending the offer email shortly.
There are three main reasons why you must make a verbal offer before submitting the offer email:
- Is your candidate still interested? They could have changed their mind or accepted another offer. Sending the offer will be wasting valuable time that you can use offering the job to the second-best on your shortlist candidate.
- If the candidate is still in the market, you’ll delay them from accepting any other offers because they’ll probably be curious to see yours first.
- The candidate will be expecting your email offer, so they’ll be looking for it. There’s no chance it will get overlooked.
Craft the offer email to match the candidate’s personality
You have to view the offer email as a sales tool. You’re still hard at work trying to get your candidate onboard!
The deal’s not done yet, so a generic email simply won’t do! In any organization—from startups to multinationals—each job fits well with a specific type of personality. You’ve just identified your candidate’s true work personality, and you think it will help drive your team forward, so craft your content accordingly.
For example, don’t use an overly formal tone when sending an offer email to a creative or sales-oriented candidate. And don’t be too informal with an executive or senior specialist candidate. You’ve met the person and spent some time with them. Picture them, put yourself in their shoes and think of how they’d like to be addressed and what will get them excited.
Your job offer email subject line
Most importantly: don’t complicate the email subject line. Make it clear and straightforward so that your candidate recognizes it right away. Go along the lines of:
- Offer of employment: [company name]
- Job offer: [company name]
- Offer of employment: [job title/company name]
- Job offer: [job title/company name]
Job offer email format: include finer details and project your employer brand
Once you know that your candidate is interested and you have all the essentials on hand, you can compile your offer email and elaborate further. Your opening line must always be upbeat. The candidate must feel pleased that they were selected and reassured that their decision is being anticipated with excitement. They must know that you want them on board.
You might want to include job and team-related information in the email and also tell the candidate who will meet them on their arrival. Add Google map links if all interviews were conducted by telephone or video conferencing for out of town candidates or if the candidate is invited to an off-site event.
Attach all legal documents as PDF files
If the offer is contingent on the candidate signing a non-disclosure agreement, a restraint of trade, background check or anything similar, make that very clear and attach the agreement document.
Legal documents must be locked and in PDF format to avoid tampering. Also confirm details of whether it’s an at-will, fixed-term, permanent or casual employment contract.
If you are attaching your offer as a PDF letter, make sure you include the highlights within your email body text. Where your complete offer is attached as a PDF, make sure your candidate understands that they must open and respond to the letter’s content.
Demonstrate your employer branding by reminding the candidate of your company values and vision through initiatives and projects that are currently in process or coming up. Extend an invitation to anything that will happen before the start date and also invite the candidate to join online team groups or forums if you have them.
What else to include
You can be sure the person will be happy about this offer news. However, if you’re not careful, the soon-to-be employee may have some confusion. Be detailed in this offer letter. State when you expect the person to start, including the day and time he or she should report on day one. Explain who they’ll be reporting to, what department they’ll work in, and what their job title will be.
You’ve undoubtedly covered this information during the first and second interviews, but you should include it here once again. Of course, another important part of the offer letter is its salary information. Include here the annual gross salary you are offering. You can also mention some of the benefits which the employee will be eligible for. If there are others that the employee will have at some point, talk about those as well.
Before closing the letter, briefly congratulate the person once again and ask that he or she responds with an acceptance. Be respectful and understand that the candidate may want to take 24 hours to consider the offer and make sure it is the right decision. Also, don’t forget to encourage the candidate to reach out to you if he or she has any questions.
Job offer email templates that will get candidates excited
These are two examples that you can adapt and build on that provide a great starting point for any job offer letter/email for your candidate.
1. Job offer email template: Formal offer email
2. Job offer email template: Less formal offer email
And lastly… the rejection letter
While the offer communication is an exciting occasion for the candidate and you, sending a rejection letter after the second interview can be difficult. Even though this email or phone call can be daunting, you owe it to the other candidates to inform them that you are not moving forward in the recruitment process with them.
You should communicate individually with all second-round candidates whom you don’t select for the job. Make sure you send out rejection letters after an offer letter. If you reject candidates first, and the person you want does not accept the job, you may have to awkwardly change your mind on one of the individuals you turned away. The rejection letter should be kind and empathetic.
Thank the candidates for the time they invested in you and for letting you get to know them. Mention a few attributes that you admired about the person. Wish each candidate well in his or her job search and career goals. You should also consider telling the candidate that you will keep his or her resume on file and that you will communicate any future opportunities with the company.
Sending a job offer email to candidates is the initiation of the formal job offer process—so don’t weigh down the content. Focus on the good news and keep the start and end upbeat, welcoming and congratulatory.
Cover only the essential legalities in the body of the email. You want the candidate to easily be able to understand the offer and be excited about accepting and keen to join your employer brand.
In some organizations (and certain positions), there can be many aspects that need to be covered and agreements that have to be signed. These shouldn’t all be included with your initial communication. All the mandatory matters can be sorted out later, or even on the start date.