Job offer

09 July 2019

Employers tend to interview multiple candidates before deciding who is a good fit for the role. When the decision is made on the best candidate, a job offer is made. This is typically done via a job offer letter.

As an employer, you need to make sure you handle the process of offering a job correctly, as this is another chance to make an impression on the applicant.

In this guide, we'll discuss how to make a job offer, what to include in your job offer letter, and how to negotiate with a candidate.

What is a job offer?

A job offer is when you offer a candidate the vacancy that they have previously interviewed for.

You may choose to verbally communicate job offers, however - this can also be done via a job offer letter. Letters are typically seen as more of a formal offer as opposed to a conversation.

Although a job offer letter isn't a legal requirement, it's a good idea to use one as it is a physical record if a conflict arises in the future.

What is a job offer letter?

A job offer letter is a formal document that makes the chosen candidate aware that you'd like to offer them the role following the application process.

The letter is usually written by the HR department or the hiring manager.

You should have a job offer letter template pre-made and ready to use when hiring a new employee. Your job offer template should be saved somewhere securely, ready to be used when required.

 Two people shaking hands, possible after a job interviewTwo people shaking hands, possible after a job interview

What should you include in the job offer letter?

As an employer, you need to understand what should be included in your job offer letter. Once you're familiar you can improve your onboarding process with ease.

Company logo

You should always include the company name, logo, and contact details. Not including your details can make it difficult to contact you about the job you're offering.

The candidate's contact details

Always include the details of the candidate, such as name and address as this makes the letter more formal.

This could be one of the biggest decisions they make in their career, so you must treat it as formally as possible. However, you can opt to use a softer tone in you would prefer.

Job title, role, and responsibilities

This section is crucial. Included should be details of the job, as well as job logistics. Make sure you include the following:

  • The job title.
  • Details of their manager or supervisor.
  • A short description of the role and the expected responsibilities.

This helps the new candidate with any questions they may need to ask on their first day.

Contingencies and required re-employment checks

Make clear in your offer that it's pending taking place.

This includes former employer references, eligibility to work in the UK, and criminal record checks. Beware that hiring someone who isn't eligible to work in the UK comes with heavy fines.

Renumeration package

You must use the job offer letter to make clear your company's compensation scheme. Including how they'll receive their salary, for example bank transfer. As well as the following:

  • Details of the starting salary (on a yearly and monthly basis).
  • Company bonus scheme or commission structure.
  • Start date.
  • Work schedule.

Company benefits

Included in the letter should be a list of attractive company benefits on offer. These may include:

Include that after they accept the offer you'll send onboarding documents. Such as employee benefit enrolment forms, the employment contract, and the employee handbook that explains important company policies.

The expiration date of the job offer

At the bottom of the letter, you should include when the job offer will expire. You should make sure that you give them enough time to consider their options and make a final decision. Typically, a week is enough.

You can also make clear that you would like to receive an acceptance letter once the candidate accepts the job.

If the employee decides to decline the job offer, you should request a formal letter. They don't have to explain the reasons why, but they may choose to thank everyone involved in the interview process.

 Two people walking into a room, possibly for a job interviewTwo people walking into a room, possibly for a job interview

Why would an employee reject a job offer?

Employees reject job offers from their potential employer for a number of reasons, for example not agreeing with the company's culture.

More reasons include:

  • They have found a better position elsewhere.
  • Their current employer has offered them a pay rise.
  • They have decided to stay in their current role.

They may also want to accept the role but not at the terms you offer. This can lead to negotiations taking place.

You should never pressure someone to accept the offer, give them the time and space they need to make a decision.

How to negotiate a job offer

Employees may choose to negotiate a job offer from their prospective employer. This could be because they disagree with the employment terms or feel they deserve a higher salary. If you feel they're the perfect candidate for the role - you should negotiate with them.

Remember, employees are likely leaving their current job to work with your company, so they're taking a gamble. Be wary  not to play too hard when negotiating their contract.

If they are asking for higher benefits or salary package, try and include this based on their job performance. This is often done following the completion of a probationary period.

Many employers offer a gradual salary increase. For example, after six months of service - a pay rise is offered.

Can you withdraw a job offer?

Yes, employers can withdraw a job offer). However, it must be for a legitimate reason - such as:

  • Failure to provide suitable references.
  • Unsatisfactory criminal records check.

However a job offer can’t be withdrawn if it’s legally binding. It becomes legally binding if the employee has accepted the offer, for example if the references weren’t satisfactory.

You cannot withdraw an offer without good reason, this may lead to legal action being taken against you. You should always make it clear to the employee why you're withdrawing the job offer.

You should never withdraw a job offer for a discriminatory reason. Doing this can lead to claims being raised against you at a tribunal.

Can an employee withdraw a job acceptance?

Yes, an employee can withdraw a job acceptance. However, doing so could leave them liable to legal action due to breach of contract.

If they have accepted the job and signed the employment contract, the offer becomes legally binding. This means notice must be provided if they want to withdraw the acceptance.

Get expert advice on job offers with Peninsula

As an employer, you'll have to hire new employees from time to time. When this happens, you'll need to make a job offer to the chosen candidate. This is often done via a job offer letter.

As an employer, you need to make sure you handle the process of offering a job correctly, as this is another chance to make an impression.  Failure to do so can lead to legal action being taken against you.

Peninsula offers 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 051 3687; and book a free consultation with one of our HR consultants.

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