Offer Letter

What is an Offer Letter?

A letter or email sent to a candidate chosen at the end of the hiring process, extending an offer of employment. An offer letter can be an official or unofficial document and often includes information like salary/wage, a list of benefits, start date, etc.

Example

I was holding my breath throughout the whole interview process, but now that the company sent me an offer letter I can finally relax and celebrate my new job!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What stage of the hiring process is an Offer Letter sent?An Offer Letter is sent once the hiring organization has made a decision about who their top candidate is. This is most often after all viable candidates have progressed through multiple rounds of interviews, although there is no legal obligation to adhere to any one process – a hiring organization can send an Offer Letter as soon as they’ve identified the candidate they want to hire, regardless of when that may be.
  • What all is included in an Offer Letter?An Offer Letter should outline the fundamental scope and conditions of employment for the job being offered. This can include (but is not limited to) information such as:
    • Start Date
    • Work hours
    • Salary/Wage (including bonus or incentive structures)
    • Benefits (including health insurance plans, PTO, work-from-home options, etc)
    • Official job title and description
    • Legal information (at-will employment clauses, background check consents, etc)
  • Can you negotiate after being sent an Offer Letter?When a candidate is sent an Offer Letter, the intention is for the candidate to look over it closely and make an informed decision on if the job offer is agreeable. While different employers may have different expectations on whether or not negotiation is “part of the process,” it is not uncommon for candidates to use the Offer Letter as a starting point for negotiations, replying to it with requests for higher salary, more expansive benefits, increased flexibility, etc. 
  • Is an Offer Letter legally binding?Unlike an employment contract, an Offer Letter is not legally binding. It should be taken as a document that presents – in good faith – the terms of a job, but there is no legal mechanism enforcing the terms as presented. However, this does not make an Offer Letter useless. As discussed above, an Offer Letter is great as a jumping off point for negotiations, and it can be used as leverage to avoid unscrupulous companies abusing purely verbal agreements to attempt a bait-and-switch (where an employee tells you one term then conveniently “forgets” about the conversation after presenting you with a much lower offer on the employment contract).

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