Tips for making a job offer to a candidate

The process of making a job offer to a candidate may appear simple at first glance: you create the offer letter, ask management to approve and send it to candidates. But each of these require time, effort and a good deal of coordination and care.

Here are a few tips that will help you optimize your job offer process:

Cover important job details before you start hiring

Your offer letters should include information like job title, compensation, benefits and expected start date. The start date depends on the candidate’s availability, but you could agree upon all other factors beforehand. This way you will be able to send the offer as quickly as possible to losing candidates to another opportunity.

Discuss details with hiring managers when you open the requisition. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Who does this role report to? The hiring manager and team leader may not always be the same person.
  • What is the pay range for this position? Draw from your company’s pay structure for this information.
  • What will the final compensation package depend on? You may decide to offer a higher salary to candidates with more experience or education.
  • Will we offer any bonuses with this position? Discuss other compensation, like commissions, bonuses and rewards.
  • What kind of benefits will we offer? For example, you might offer stock options to senior roles and training opportunities to other positions.
  • How many days should we wait for a candidate to accept our offer? Ideally, candidates won’t take more than a couple of days to accept, but you might extend this period if needed.

You may need to revisit all these if your finalist decides to negotiate, but using your initial factors as a reference helps speed up the process once you have found your best candidate.

Workable’s all-in-one recruiting software can help you streamline your hiring process, from sourcing candidates to the offer stage. Start a free trial today. 

Make a job offer over the phone first

Recruiters send written offer letters to candidates upon request of the hiring manager. This means that even if the candidate rejects the offer, recruiters would still have gone through the process of creating a letter and getting approvals.

Anticipate this by extending a job offer to a candidate over the phone first. Candidates get the chance to bow out (e.g. if they accepted another offer) or verbally accept your offer. Ask hiring managers whether they would like to extend the offer themselves, since they are the ones who have met the candidates and will probably be the new hire’s manager. But, even if recruiters are the ones to extend the offer, it will save them a lot of time if the candidate withdraws from the hiring process.

Use effective offer letter templates

An offer letter template can save valuable time when preparing offers. All you—or members of your hiring team— need to do is to fill in placeholders with information specific to each position. And, a well-formulated template will help you make sure you hit all the important points of the role and welcome all new hires with the right tone. We’ve drafted this template which is available to use and can be easily modified to suit your company:

Dear [first name],

We are pleased to offer you a job as a [role title] at [company name]. We think that your experience and skills will be a valuable asset to our company.

If you accept this offer, you will be eligible for the following, in accordance to our company’s policies:

  • Annual gross salary of $[total annual salary] paid in [monthly or semi-monthly] installments by check or direct deposit
  • Up to [percent]% of your annual annual gross salary as a performance bonus
  • Standard benefits including:
    • [vacation days number] days of annual paid time off
    • [sick days number] days of sick leave
    • Medical and dental insurance
    • 401k/retirement plan
    • Flexible working hours
    • Tuition reimbursement for career development courses
    • Childcare
    • [more benefits]

To accept this offer, sign and date this letter as indicated below and email it back to us by [date].

Your expected hire date will be the [date]. Your immediate supervisor will be [supervisor’s name].

We look forward to welcoming you to our team. Feel free to call [recruiter’s name] if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

[Sender Name]

Signatures:
___________________________________________________
Company Representative (Sign)
___________________________________________________
Date

___________________________________________________
Applicant (Sign)
___________________________________________________
Date

Speed up the job offer approval process

How many people usually need to approve an offer letter before you can send it to candidates? Some companies have many layers of approvals, including HR, CFOs, CEOs and other executives. While the time you spend to go through each of these layers might make sense for senior positions, it could be counterproductive for others.

Aim to keep the number of needed approvals to a minimum. Ideally, recruiters would get confirmation only from the person responsible for the position’s budget—most often the department head. The C-suite or VPs will usually have pre-approved the recruiting budget when formulating the company’s hiring plans. If possible, arrange a quarterly or semi-annual meeting with those leaders to keep your plans updated. This way, you will have a better understanding of salary ranges for future positions before they open. When you’re ready to make an offer, you can draw from the approved salary ranges.

Automate the offer approval process

Extending job offers to candidates without an automated system is time-consuming when:

  • There are a lot of back-and-forth emails with team members to make sure they approve an offer letter.
  • You want to ensure your offer letter is error-free, engaging and on-brand.
  • You need to track candidates’ answers and negotiation requests.
  • You want a quick and clear overview of who has taken action and who hasn’t, so you are able to follow up with team members or candidates.
  • You need a system to keep all information in one place for easy reference.

Workable helps you overcome all these challenges through its offer letter feature that simplifies the entire process. This helps you:

  • Upload your offer templates into the system and save them for future use. There are two useful templates to create:
    • The email you send to candidates to inform them you’re extending an offer. Choose from a list of variables to include in your template, like ‘candidate name’ and ‘position.’ These variables are placeholders in your email and will be automatically replaced with information that matches each candidate.
    • The formal offer letter that includes all the job details, which needs to be signed by candidates. Upload your own offer letter template and customize it in Workable. Include a list of important variables as placeholders, like ‘salary’, ‘direct manager’ and ‘offer expiration date.’ When the time comes to create a new offer, add the relevant data for each candidate in the provided boxes and Workable will automatically replace the placeholders in the formal document.
  • Set offer letter approvers. Workable will notify them to approve and sign your offer letter. After the letter is approved, Workable automatically sends it to the candidate.
  • Speed up the process by enabling e-signatures from team members and candidates.
  • Easily track rejections from team members and candidates who can also add comments explaining why they rejected the offer letter.

Finding the right candidate is tough, so streamlining your job offer process ensures you have everything you need to hire fast. Templates, approval workflows and e-signature capabilities facilitate effective and timely communication, helping you offer positive experiences that compel your best candidates to join your company.

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta Bika is a senior writer at Workable and holds an MSc in HR. She writes about all things HR and recruiting, with a particular interest in bias, data, technology and the future of work. She hates meaningless jargon and dreams about space travel. She tweets @Nikoletta_Bika.

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