In its simplest sense, the template for a job offer letter might be fairly generic. Hitting the right hot buttons for a job offer letter requires some thought and preparation. The same process that goes into composing a job offer letter is similar to that of selling a new home: The best sales counselors spend a great deal of time on the front end leaning what the buyer wants and needs, their budget, expectations, etc. while educating them on what to expect and when (i.e. establishing buyer expectations). Handled correctly, the close of the sale is natural — no surprises or 11th hour negotiations. This natural approach allows for a much less stressful close for all parties.The Interview Process
Early in the interview process, it is important to learn the candidate's motivation to make a change, their current compensation, as well as their future expectations. I typically get this information during the brief screening phase of the process. If the candidate's expectations fail to match up with our opportunity — whether it be scope of duties, title or money — I let the candidate know right then that it won't fly. Failure to confront this issue early on leads to bigger problems at the time of an offer.
Assuming all is well on compensation, position expectations, etc. I move through the rest of the selection process. Remember: multiple interviews, multiple interviewers, structured discussion of each candidate and references yield the best results.The Offer Letter
When my colleagues and I are ready to make an offer, we put pencil to paper and craft an offer letter. The offer letter should be consistent with your company's culture. It is fine to get your attorney's blessing, but don't let him or her draft the letter — it will sound too sterile. See the sidebar for a user-friendly template.
Ideally extending an offer letter should not be the beginning of a negotiation. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.
So what happens when the candidate wants to play Let's Make a Deal, and how should you handle it? I will cover that next month in The Job Offer, Part 2.