It is frustrating to spend a lot of time recruiting, interviewing, and vetting exceptional candidates, only for them to be rejected at the job offer stage.
Even a slight error in putting an offer to employees in writing can result in a loss of a job or even worse, a lawsuit. Make sure that your offer letter is solid and doesn’t make any costly mistakes.
Failure to make a verbal offering.
Make a verbal offering first, whether it is in person or by phone. To make it official, you should follow up with a written offer. Why? In today’s competitive market, time is everything. Your candidate may be unable to accept a competitor’s offer if you extend an immediate verbal offer.
Not providing important information.
The following should be included in a comprehensive offer letter:
- Position title
- Status of the job (full-time, part-time).
- A general overview of the primary tasks
- Name of Supervisor
- Expected start date
- Pay rate and frequency (weekly or biweekly),
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), determines whether the employee should be considered exempt (i.e. not eligible for overtime wages) and non-exempt (i.e. must be paid overtime).
You should not state compensation in terms of an annual salary. This will imply that you are not providing employment for at least one year. Instead, state compensation in terms hourly, weekly, or monthly.
Failure to include an “at-will” statement.
Every state has a version of “at-will employment.” Private-sector employees and employers have the right to end the employment relationship at any time, but not for illegal reasons. To prevent employees from misinterpreting your offer letter as an employment contract, make sure you are familiar with your state’s employment laws.
Use imprudent language.
Avoid misunderstandings by using non-specific terms in your offer letter.
- When describing terms and conditions for employment, including benefits and company policies, use words such as “generally” or “typically”.
- Avoid phrases that could imply guaranteed employment such as “family business” or “job security.”
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