Don’t lose your candidate at the offer stage – get your job offer letter right


In the current talent drought, candidates have an abundance of choices – and they know it. The better your candidate is, the more likely it is that your offer isn’t the only one they’re considering.

Hiring can be a long and costly process, especially when you factor in the cost of undone work piling up or being done in a rush by overburdened colleagues (who, in today’s market, may quickly get fed up and leave you with another role to fill). The average time to hire is 27 working days (in other words, well over a month). It’s vital to avoid losing someone at the last hurdle and having to start again.

Your job offer letter is a formal document outlining your agreement with your new employee. As well as the specifics you’ve already discussed with them – such as the salary, benefits, and working hours – it should also include any extra documents they need to sign, like an NDA or work permit application.

If they haven’t already accepted the offer verbally, most offer letters will also include a deadline. This is one of the most critical stages in the entire hiring process. You’ve done everything you can – now you just have to wait and see if the candidate accepts. Your offer letter can make or break the outcome.

Throughout the hiring process, you’ve done your best to demonstrate the level of professionalism the candidate can expect with you. Your offer letter needs to reflect that same professionalism. Here are some tips to make sure it does.


Tips to improve your job offer letter

While there are plenty of downloadable templates for offer letters, you’ll still need to make some edits. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Cut the fluff and keep it streamlined.
  • If you can, make it automated, and preferably integrate it into your recruitment platform.
  • Be positive, honest and direct.
  • Acknowledge the candidate’s skills and the value they’ll add to your organisation.
  • Double-check that you’ve included all the key details and got them all correct.
  • Add that your offer is subject to satisfactory references and work permit.
  • Rigorously check for spelling errors and correct formatting.
  • Make sure the layout is professional and your brand is clearly noticeable.
  • Make it easy for candidates to accept with an e-signature. When they can sign in a couple of clicks rather than having to print, sign, and scan the letter, they’ll have less time to reconsider.

Finally, before you send your offer letter, look at it and ask yourself if it makes you feel proud. Does it reflect your organisation at its best? Would it be a letter you’d be happy to receive? And most importantly – would it make you want to say yes?

Posted by: Branwell Ford