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How to write the perfect offer letter



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After rounds and rounds of interviews, you’ve finally found the perfect candidate to fill the role. But don’t start celebration just yet – you still have an offer letter to write.

While many managers may think that writing an offer letter can’t really go wrong – basically it’s repeating what was agreed during the interview with the candidate – it’s always the small detail that makes or breaks, according to a Glassdoor post by Nikki Larchar, co-founder/human resource business partner at simplyHR LLC.

“Since the offer letter is a legal docu“Since the offer letter is a legal document, it can be difficult to make changes after it has been signed… Wanting to make changes to the offer letter after this point causes a huge traffic jam, and creates additional work for others,” she said.

Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s may be harder than it sounds. Here are the details which need to be confirmed before the letters goes out according to Larchar.  Use it as a guide to ensure an error-free offer letter.

1. Dates and times

Nothing ruins the work plan more than a worker who doesn’t show up on the first day, but it’s not them to blame if the employer is the one who mixes up the dates, or times, or both. Also, pay attention to whether the new hire’s first day is the day when their immediate supervisor is on leave, or a holiday. If the probationary period  is stated in the letter, check that as well.

2. Job duties

Make sure the job duties listed in the letter agree to what was discussed with the candidate during the interview. All responsibilities should be clearly outlined. Keep an eye on the wordings and try to avoid any potential misrepresentations.

3. Salary and benefits

The compensation package should have already been discussed at this point, and should be stated accurately in the letter.

If there is a need to present salary information in a different way from what as previous discussed, monthly vs. yearly for example, make sure everything adds up to what was agreed. Double check the information, salary and also any guaranteed bonuses, with the interviewer when necessary.

Some companies state the entitled days of leave and insurance in the employee handbook. If the organisation doesn’t have one, such details needs to be listed clearly and explicitly in the offer letter.

Even there is an employee handbook or other documentation that spells out the standard benefits, the letter should contain anything special that has been negotiated with the new hire, from extra vacation time to a paid cell phone.

4. Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements

Having a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement is a typical way to avoid employees, especially the ones who have just joined the team, to spill the beans about the financial status, latest product design or highly sensitive communications of the company. Consequences of breaching the agreement should be clearly stated.

5. Non-compete clause

A non-compete clause can be defined as “a contract between two parties, where one party agrees not to compete with the other for a period of time” This clause prevents employees from exposing proprietary information of the company, leaving for a competitor, or starting a competing business.

According to Andrew Horowitz from Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP “These agreements can severely limit the employee’s ability to seek other employment down the road. For example, the employee can be prevented from working in his or her industry for some period of time within the geographic region where he/she is working. Therefore, to seek new employment, the employee would then have to wait for the agreement to lapse, move to another geographic area, or change industries.”

6. Non-solicit agreements

Working in a similar fashion as the non-compete clause, non-solicit agreement is a contract that guards against employees soliciting their employer’s customers for a certain period after leaving the company. It is one way to keep your existing clients or customers even when your employees start their own business. But again, this should not be put in place without careful consideration.

ALSO READ: What HR needs to know about the competition ordinance in Hong Kong

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