Job offer letter

09 July 2019

Once the recruitment process has finished, you can select the best candidate for your latest role. After that, making them an offer is the final piece of the puzzle.

And how do you go about doing that? Well, sending out a job offer letter from employer to employee is good business practice. Here’s how you let your candidate know the good news.

Conditional and unconditional offers

First, it’s important to establish if the letter confirms whether the job offer is conditional or unconditional. With an unconditional offer, this means as soon as the candidate accepts it, there’s a contract of employment between the parties.

It doesn’t matter whether this takes place verbally or in writing. As a contract exists, it can only end if the employee serves the required notice period that’s stated within the contractual terms.

Or reasonable notice where this is silent. Not giving this notice will breach the contract, and could lead to an expensive employment tribunal claim. In August 2016, one business had to pay over £2,700 in notice pay even though the employee wasn’t in work yet.

But can a job offer be withdrawn after acceptance? Using an unconditional offer, such as where the offer of employment is conditional upon the receipt of satisfactory job offer references, means you can if the condition isn’t met.

So if references before a job offer is part of your recruitment policy, then you can use this approach to confirm whether you want to hire your employee or not. For example, if you don’t think a reference is satisfactory you can withdraw the employment offer even if the candidate has already accepted it.

If this happens, there’s no need for any notice. But it’s good business practice to send a letter confirming the reason why you’ve withdrawn the offer.

Details to include

If you’ve discussed any verbal terms with the candidate, or you’ve made a verbal job offer, then confirm this in writing. Usual job offer letters will confirm information such as:

  • Job title.
  • Main duties.
  • Salary.
  • Start date.
  • Place of work.

You may also want to include a copy of the employee handbook with the offer letter. This is so the employee is aware of your other workplace rules before starting. The job letter can also explain how to go about accepting a job offer from you.

Candidates are then clear about how to go about joining your business. For example, it’s common to ask for acceptance by letter (or email). This will have to reach your designated person before a particular date.

It’s best practice to receive a job offer acceptance letter from the candidate. You must still confirm any verbal acceptance in writing if the individual agrees over the phone. If the acceptance is not received, this will usually mean the candidate has declined.

However, you might not want to just assume this, especially where the candidate was the best person for the role. Instead, you can also ask them to confirm their rejection in writing.

Entering negotiations

As the letter confirms the terms that’ll apply, you may find the candidate tries negotiating your job offer.

This can include asking for a higher salary. It’s up to you whether you want to enter into negotiations – you may just want to say that this is your first and final offer and they can accept the terms or not.

However, where this is the best employee for the role, you may want to consider their counter-offer.

Where higher benefits are asked for, such as a higher salary or company car, you may want to tie this into job performance.

You can also counter-offer with a gradual increase over an extended time period. An example is, after six months’ service, offer a pay rise, so long as they pass their probationary period.

Need help with your recruitment strategy?

We can help you set up a job offer letter template and bring in new talent to your business. Call us today on 0800 028 2420.

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