Finding a great new employee is cause for celebration—and now you need to inform them of the good news. Writing a job offer letter is a good way to communicate all the necessary information about the position, from start date to salary. The following overview covers what needs to be included in an offer letter, what to avoid, and why you should send one.

What is a job offer letter?

A job offer letter informs a candidate of your employment offer and its terms. While they’re generally not required in the United States, they can act as documentation of the original offer. Employers are still welcome to give verbal job offers, but putting it in writing can protect both employer and candidate—as long as they include all appropriate information and language.

What should be included in a job offer letter?

Job offer letters should be carefully reviewed before sending. Generally, the tone should be direct and positive, and avoid making promises or setting expectations your company will not be able to fulfill. Some employers like to include why they chose the candidate, though that’s optional.

Some states require notices and/or specific language, such as that covering wage theft prevention, if you choose to send a letter.

Generally, job offer letters should include:

  • Job title and description: This section should include what the employee’s official position is called, and a brief description of job responsibilities. 
  • Base salary: Whether you plan to entertain salary negotiations or not, the candidate needs to know how much they’ll be paid.
  • Start date: The candidate should know when they’re expected to start, and whether that date is flexible.
  • Employment contingencies: Some seemingly perfect candidates may not be able to meet all the contingencies of employment, such as drug screenings, background checks, reference checks, and more. This section should clearly communicate that the offer is contingent upon meeting these requirements.
  • At-will statement: This section informs the candidate that their job is at-will employment, meaning that the employee or employer can terminate employment at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice. (Montana is the only state that does not permit at-will employment. Montana employers may specify their probationary period, but if they do not, state law dictates that there is an automatic 12-month probation.)

You might wish to include further information, such as the name and title of the candidate’s manager or supervisor, employment location, work hours, employee benefits, and additional compensation like profit-sharing, stock options, or bonuses.

Finally, some employers choose to include a job offer letter expiration date, so they can move on to another candidate without significant delay.

Why is it important to have a job offer letter?

It can serve as legal documentation for employment. It can also provide a paper trail should the candidate want to negotiate their salary, benefits, and other terms of employment. This letter is also a nice way to welcome a candidate to the company, express why you want to work with them, and set expectations for the job if they accept it. Should a dispute arise, a job offer letter can protect your company against liability. 

How to create a job offer letter with SixFifty

Creating one requires thoughtful language and state-specific employment law research, especially because offer letters are often used to communicate required pre-employment notices. Some companies choose to have their in-house legal team or lawyers research and draft job offer letters, incurring great expense. Others may look for a one-size-fits-all template online, which can be problematic and expose the company to significant liability.

Instead, use SixFifty’s innovative Employment Agreements tools. We’ve paired real legal expertise with easy-to-use technology, so you can quickly generate state-specific employment documents like job offer letters, employee handbooks, and more. All you have to do is answer some questions about your company and download the automatically-generated documents. Instead of racking up billable hours or giving your in-house team extra work, you can create customized employment documents for a fraction of the time and cost. Interested in learning more about quickly generating your own job offer letters? Schedule a free product demo today!