After selecting the best candidate, you need to make a job offer. Remember, you are not obliged to hire any of the applicants if you are not satisfied with them. A verbal job offer must be followed by a formal written offer of employment; this ensures that you and the candidate are fully aware of the terms and conditions of employment.
When making a verbal offer, ensure you:
- Congratulate the person on being the successful candidate.
- Enthusiastically welcome the candidate to your team.
- Re-state the position for which the candidate is being hired.
- Inform the candidate of the starting wage you agreed upon, as well as hours/days of work, benefits, vacation time, and any other relevant information
- Confirm the start date and time.
- Inform the candidate of any training programs he or she will be attending on the first day, including length and expectations.
- Inform the candidate of dress code standards.
- Inform the candidate that this information will be put into a formal letter for signing.
Once you have made the verbal offer, provide the candidate with a reasonable time frame to consider the decision and the opportunity to clarify any of the terms of the offer. Be prepared to reconsider your terms and conditions if the candidate asks to negotiate something. Once these details are agreed upon, make sure they are clear in the written offer you provide. The written letter should ask for the candidate’s signature and contain a company representative’s signature. After both of you have signed the letter, give the employee the original and keep a copy in the employee’s file.
Common components of an letter of offer include:
- Position title (attach a copy of the job description)
- Basic duties and responsibilities
- Position status (part-time, full-time, seasonal, temporary full-time)
- Start date
- Performance review expectations
- Salary and overtime
- Work schedule
- Probationary period
- Benefits and insurance entitlement
- Vacation entitlement and statutory holidays
- Union contract (if applicable)
- Training programs
- Bonus plan information, if applicable, and eligibility requirements
- Notice period requirements for or resignation
- Reference to an employee handbook and/or any other included attachments/schedules
Don’t forget to include the date the letter is written and the date it is valid until, who it needs to be returned to, in what format, and how. See Appendix 5 for a sample letter of offer.
Informing unsuccessful candidates
Once you have selected and informed the successful applicant, and both of you have signed the letter of offer, you must inform the unsuccessful applicants as quickly as possible so they hear the news from you and not on the street.
The successful applicant is probably ecstatic and might want to tell the world how great your company is without any prompting from you. The unsuccessful people will naturally be disappointed and, unless you handle the situation correctly, they can become very poor ambassadors. Because there are usually many more unsuccessful applicants than successful ones, the potential for spreading bad news about your company is significant.
When informing the unsuccessful applicants, take a forthright and understanding approach. The conversation should be short and to the point. Start by telling them that they were not the successful in their application. You might express the sentiment that they were really good, but the selected person was better qualified. This is true, of course, otherwise they would not have been on the shortlist. Wish the unsuccessful applicants well. For those candidates who stood out, consider asking if you can keep their resumé on file should a similar position become available it the future. Most importantly in every instance, treat the unsuccessful applicants with dignity, respect, and empathy.
The end of the employee-employer relationship.