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Job Offer Letters: Don’t Make These Mistakes

August 31st, 2012

You’ve had a difficult time staffing this position. It’s a mid-to-upper level role requiring a high degree of responsibility and a specific set of rare skill sets, but because of your company’s geographical area and budget constraints, you can’t offer a very competitive salary. Even when great applicants have come to your door—and they haven’t been flooding in—you’ve managed to get as far as the first interview before most of them slip away.

But now it looks like your troubles are almost over, since you have an excellent candidate lined up who seems sincerely excited about your company mission. You just have to seal the deal. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you complete the next step and draft an offer letter.

1. Mention both salary and benefits. Be clear about everything you’re offering, and don’t hold anything back for the sake of leverage at the negotiating table. Save that for circumstances like the one below.

2. Be enthusiastic. A robotic drone with no welcoming or complimentary language won’t put you ahead of the other offer letters this candidate is very likely sifting through. If you’re excited about bringing her on board, let it show.

3. Make things easy. If you can cover relocation expenses, do so. Even if you can’t afford moving fees, consider offering discounts and tickets to local businesses and entertainment venues. Just make her feel welcome and supported during the transition.

In a second scenario, you’re ready to bring an entry level candidate on board, but your circumstances involve a different set of challenges. In this case, your company is struggling with a shifting marketplace, and restructuring takes place almost every year. The position you’re offering isn’t stable, and it’s in your best interests to keep salary and expectations as reasonable as possible.

1. Be honest, and be ready to follow through on all written statements. Don’t make any claims, promises or suggestions in the offer letter that aren’t genuine.

2. Leave room for negotiation. Offer a salary a few notches below what you can afford, and be prepared for the employee to make a slightly higher counter offer.

3. Explain what happens next. Especially at the entry level, offer letters must be explicit and clear about the initial steps expected of the new employee. If her offer will be contingent on successful drug or aptitude test, for example, be clear about how the test will take place and what criteria will determine success or failure. If she needs to bring certain documents or items with her on her first day, clarify these items in the offer letter.

4. Give her a decision deadline. Ask the employee to respond with an acceptance or refusal by calling a specific person by a specific date, and provide clear contact information.

In both scenarios, offer letters should be accompanied by a phone call from a hiring manager or HR professional. For more information about what should and shouldn’t be included in an offer letter, contact your local staffing company in Fairfield County at Merritt Staffing. We can help you make sure great candidates don’t get away. And once they sign on the dotted line, we can guide you through a smooth, trouble free onboarding process. Call our Connecticut employment agency today.

 

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