Candidate Experience

Craft an offer email that your candidate will love

August 26, 2019

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Craft an offer email that your candidate will love

After weeks of screening and interviewing candidates, the hiring team has finally identified the person you want on your squad. You’re all excited and ready to get the offer email out as quickly as possible. Delivering good news is always a feel-good moment!

But hang on. There’s a lot of work to be done before you hit “send”. Considering that 28% of candidates back out of job offers after they’ve accepted them, you want to get it right!

Offer emails are the equivalent of a formal job offer. Although emails seem informal, the content will hold up if there were to be any challenge, legal or otherwise. 

The last thing you want is your best candidate disputing info and turning down the offer. Prepare and think the content through carefully before you even touch your keyboard.

Ensure the legally binding details are accurate

Formal job offers are legally binding contracts, so although you want your offer email to have an upbeat tone, ensure you get the finer details right. Include the following essentials at the core of your email:

  • Define the terms of employment.
  • Define the company’s expectations.
  • Define what the candidate can expect.
  • Define “contingent to” conditions if there are any.
  • Detail the salary and benefits being offered.
  • State the start date and start time.
  • Detail working hours, including fixed, flexi, and overtime.
  • State the date by which you expect a response.
  • State the date on which the offer will expire.
  • State that all other details previously communicated are voided.
  • Confirm that this is the official exclusive employment.
  • Give clear instructions on how to accept the offer.
  • Provide contact details should the candidate have any questions.

These are the essentials, but you might need to elaborate if necessary. It’s best to include lengthy information as attachments because you don’t want your email to be too long and difficult to read. 

You can also send a more specific job offer letter format once the candidate has accepted and converted to a new employee.

Make a verbal offer before you put it in an offer email

Once you have all the offer details ready, call the candidate and make the offer. Congratulate them and give them the basics like the salary and benefits as well as the expected start date. Ask them directly “are you interested?” If they are, tell them that you’ll be sending the offer email shortly.

There are three main reasons why you must make a verbal offer before submitting the offer email:

  1. Is your candidate still interested? They could have changed their mind or accepted another offer. Sending the offer will be wasting valuable time that you can use offering the job to the second-best on your shortlist candidate.
  2. If the candidate is still in the market, you’ll delay them from accepting any other offers because they’ll probably be curious to see yours first.
  3. The candidate will be expecting your email offer, so they’ll be looking for it. There’s no chance it will get overlooked.

Craft the offer email to match the candidate’s personality

You have to view the offer email as a sales tool. You’re still hard at work trying to get your candidate onboard!

The deal’s not done, a generic email won’t do! In any organization, from startups to multinationals, each job fits well with a specific type of personality. You’ve just identified your candidate’s true work personality, and you think it will help drive your team forward, so craft your content accordingly.

Brainstorm creative job offers with the specific candidate in mind. Revisit automated communications and notes the hiring team made on your ATS about the candidate. 

For example, don’t use an overly formal tone when sending an offer email to a creative or sales-oriented candidate. And don’t be too informal with an executive or senior, specialist candidate. You’ve met the person and spent some time with them. Picture them, put yourself in their shoes and think of how they’d like to be addressed and what will get them excited.

Most importantly: don’t complicate the email subject line. Make it clear and straightforward so that your candidate recognizes it right away. Go along the lines of:

  • Offer of employment: [company name]
  • Job offer: [company name]
  • Offer of employment: [job title/company name]
  • Job offer: [job title/company name]

Include some finer details and project your employer brand

Once you know that your candidate is interested and you have all the essentials on hand, you can compile your offer email and elaborate further. Your opening line must always be upbeat. The candidate must feel pleased that they were selected and reassured that their decision is being anticipated with excitement. They must know that you want them on board.

You might want to include job and team-related information in the email and also tell the candidate who will meet them on their arrival. Add Google map links if all interviews were conducted by telephone or video conferencing for out of town candidates, or if the candidate is invited to an off-site event.

If the offer is contingent to the candidate signing a non-disclosure agreement, a restraint of trade, background check or anything similar, make that very clear and attach the agreement document. 

Legal documents must be locked and in PDF format to avoid tampering. Also confirm details of whether it’s an at-will, fixed-term, permanent or casual employment contract.

Demonstrate your employer branding by reminding the candidate of your company values and vision through initiatives and projects that are currently in process or coming up. Extend an invitation to anything that will happen before the start date and also invite the candidate to join online team groups or forums if you have them.

Offers that will get candidates excited

These are two examples that you can adapt and build on.

1. Formal offer email:

Subject line: Offer of employment: [company name]

Dear [candidate name]

It is with great pleasure that we would like to offer you the position of [job title] at [company name]. 

The whole team extends their congratulations and look forward to welcoming you onboard. In particular, we look forward to your contribution to [project] that will commence on [date] OR you joining us for [event] that will happen on [date].

You will receive an annualized salary of [amount] {excluding performance bonuses, commission, overtime or standby compensation.} Salary payments are made weekly on [day of the week] OR monthly on [date].

Your expected start date is [day, date, month, and year]. You will be met by [name of the person responsible for employee onboarding] in the reception area at [start time]. Your working hours will be [days of the week, from am to pm].

This offer is contingent on the signing/agreeing to [detail the contingent requirements and attach details] per the attached document. Please print and sign the document scan it back to me by no later than [time, date, month, year].

Attached please also find [anything else that you want to include, such as comprehensive benefits and salary analysis, detailed job description, etc.].

To accept this offer, please add an electronic signature {if you have the facility} OR, please print, sign and scan this offer back to me. By signing this job offer, you agree that this is the exclusive official employment agreement and that it replaces all previous communications.

If you have any questions or need more details, please don’t hesitate to contact me on [your contact number] or [your email address].

We are all eagerly awaiting your positive response.

[Your name and full contact details]

Accepted by [candidate’s full names]

[Date]

[Signature]

2. Less formal offer email:

Dear [candidate name]

You really impressed the hiring team during the interview process. We believe that you have the skills, experience, and attitude necessary to take this position to new heights. 

For that reason, we would like to formally offer you the position of [job title] at our company.

Should you accept this offer, we would love you to join us on [date] at [venue] for the launch of [new product/service/partnership]. {Adapt this to what works for you.}

You will receive an annualized salary of [amount] {excluding performance bonuses, commission, overtime or standby compensation.} Salary payments are made weekly on [day of the week] OR monthly on [date].

Your start date is [day, date, month, and year]. You will be welcomed at [start time] by [name of the person responsible for employee onboarding] at the second-floor offices of the [department]. Your working hours will be [days of the week, from am to pm]. 

Attached please also find [anything else that you want to include, such as full benefits and salary analysis, a detailed job description, etc.].

To accept this offer, please add an electronic signature {if you have the facility} OR, please print, sign and scan this offer back to me. By signing this job offer, you agree that this is the exclusive official employment agreement and that it replaces all previous communications.

If you have any questions or need more details, please don’t hesitate to contact me on [your contact number] or [your email address].

The whole team excitedly extends their congratulations, and we look forward to welcoming you onboard.

[Your name and full contact details] 

Accepted by [candidate’s full names]

[Date]

[Signature] 

Conclusion

Sending job offer emails is the initiation of the formal job offer process, so don’t weigh down the content. Focus on the good news and keep the start and end upbeat, welcoming and congratulatory. 

Cover only the essential legalities in the body of the email. You want the candidate to easily be able to understand the offer and be excited about accepting and keen to join your employer brand.

In some organizations (and certain positions) there can be many aspects that need to be covered and agreements that have to be signed. These shouldn’t all be included with your initial communication. All the mandatory matters can be sorted out later, or even on the start date.

Bev has enthusiastically worked to match top employers and candidates for almost twenty years. An endless curiosity of the human mind, HR tech development, how to help people reach their goals and the ever-evolving hiring landscape is what keeps her fired up.
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