Job Offer Letter (Job Offer)

Definition

The term job offer letter refers to a written document sent to a successful candidate by an employer.  The job offer letter outlines the terms of employment, including start date, total compensation package, as well as a high-level summary of the company's benefits programs.

Explanation

Also known simply as a job offer, a job offer letter is used to formally present a successful candidate with an offer of employment.  The letter is a concise summary of the information a candidate needs before making a decision to accept a job.  For example, the letter will usually contain information such as:

  • Start Date / Manager:  since many candidates will need to provide their former employers with two weeks' notice, the start date is typically two or more weeks in the future.  The letter will also confirm the successful candidate's reporting relationship, including the name and title of their direct supervisor / manager.
  • Total Compensation Package:  this will include the company's base salary offer as well as incentive compensation, bonuses and stock options, if they apply.
  • Benefits:  this will be a high level summary of the benefit programs offered by the company, including paid holidays, expense policy, health care plans, life and disability insurance in addition to retirement plans (401(k), defined benefits, or defined contribution plans).
  • Vacation Time:  of particular importance to individuals with five or more years of work experience, the letter will also specify the amount of paid vacation time the company is willing to provide.

The letter will usually be signed by someone in the company authorized to make offers of employment.  Successful candidates are expected to sign the letter as proof they understand the content of the agreement.  The letter may also indicate a firm offer of employment is contingent upon the candidate successfully passing a mandatory drug test and the company's background verification or screening processes.

The letter may also be accompanied by other documents the successful candidate will need to sign and return to a company representative such as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or non-compete agreement (NCA).

Related Terms

job hopping, new job orientation, counteroffer