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Onboarding Recruiting & Hiring

Your Offer Letter Is Losing You Candidates

January 14, 2014
6 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged



The following article, originally published in 2014, has recently been updated as of March 2017 with resources to help you attract those high performing candidates. Need a little more guidance? Take a look at our related articles to start off on the right foot:

There’s currently a war raging for the best talent, and you might already be losing. Recent statistics show a much rosier employment picture in many industries, but before you start celebrating, know it’s not all good news. 

While candidates and the economy benefit, it’s not always good for your hiring prospects. Thanks to the shortage of graduates in the science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) fields, everyone will be jostling over the same pool of talent. When it comes to hiring the best people, you have to act fast once you’ve got top talent in your sights. 

Too many companies focus heavily on finding candidates but not enough on crafting the job offer letter likely to seal the deal. Your offer letter is more than just a formal piece of paper -- it’s also an extension of your company brand.

Here are a few things you should know about crafting a better job offer letter, so candidates can’t imagine not signing on the dotted line:

Find a Good Template

Not every company can afford to hand-craft each new job offer letter. All companies have different hiring needs, and while some organizations may only need to bring on one or two new people, others will need to onboard dozens or even hundreds. Your recruitment plan should be tailored to your unique hiring needs, which means some companies won't have time to personally write dozens of offer letters.

Wasting time in the offer letter stage is only going to lose the talented candidates with whom you’ve connected. While you're struggling to write the perfect offer letter, another company will swoop in and steal your talent. A great recruitment solution is to find an easily-customizable job offer letter template.

It's important to find a template or system that allows for some customization, so candidates in your process feel like individuals instead of cogs in your recruitment machine. You should also ensure everyone in your recruitment process is on board and approves before the letter ends up in the hands of your dream candidate.

There are, however, a few aspects that are requirements for all good offer letters:

Outline of Position Goals

This section is the meat and potatoes of the job offer letter. Get the ball rolling before your new hires’ first day by clearly outlining in their offer what they are expected to accomplish. Essentially, it details how the role contributes to overall company goals. Make sure to start the future employee out right by focusing on goals as early as the offer, so they understand exactly how they fit into the company infrastructure. It will make for a smoother and more efficient onboarding process -- and a more engaged employee.


Easy to Understand Benefits

This section of the offer letter discusses the benefits the company is going to offer the employee, including health benefits, vacation time, and financial benefits like 401K. While including this section may seem obvious, make sure the new hire can easily understand the benefits being offered to them.

A Competitive Pay Rate

This is probably the first section a candidate checks, as it discusses what the employee will be paid as a new member of the organization. In order to keep this competitive, you should try to offer talent about 10 percent more than they’re currently making at their old position to entice them to switch sides.

Watch Out For The Legalities

The job offer letter is a legal document. While the new hire should be central to the drafting proess, it is also important to keep your company’s best interest in mind before onboarding begins For instance, if your company is in a highly competitive marketplace, you might want to put a non-compete clause in your letter.

Another important legal term to include is "at will employment," which means an employee can be dismissed as any time and for any reason. It means your offer letter isn't a contract guaranteeing employment and can save your company from a sticky situation if the superstar talent you hired turns out to be an office dud.

Give It A Personal Touch

Companies should try to add a bit of a personal touch to their offer letters, such as starting a paperless onboarding process early by including a packet on employee policies or company culture along with the letter. You could also send along something small like a pen or cup with the company logo, or you could just put a personal line in the offer letter about how excited you are for the candidate to join the team. It’s amazing how the little touches can have such a big impact on a talented candidate’s decision to accept an offer.

A great job offer letter can help your organization beat the competition, ease onboarding, get employees focused on company goals early, and turn smart candidates into great employees. Even if you’re hiring a high volume of people, it’s worth the time and effort to create an offer letter candidates can’t turn down.

What does your company put in the job offer letter? Share in the comments!

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IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr user mbgrigby


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