Do you know why most offer letters sent by companies to candidates don’t really stand out?
Because they’re more geared toward “covering the company’s rear end” than actually making an exciting, enticing, and attractive offer. Here’s one of the reasons why this is the case: because the offer letter is written in such a way as to suggest that it’s a foregone conclusion the candidate is going to accept the offer. In today’s candidate-driven marketplace, candidates are getting multiple offers and if you want to stand a greater chance of having yours accepted you need to add a little more love.
I have many years of experience in the civil engineering marketplace in the executive search industry. As a result, I’ve seen more than my fair share of offer letters. Some companies throw together a “quick and dirty” offer letter with job title, start date, salary and Oh by the way, we’re excited to have you work here.” Zzzzzzzzz…..
Then there are the exceptional clients I’ve worked with who have written beautifully crafted offer letters that paint a picture of their culture and growth plans and how the candidate will be an integral part of their team. I just read an offer letter that a client of mine wrote and it was such an amazing offer, it made me want to work there! For instance try using descriptive verbiage such as:
“We envision you becoming an integral member of our team…”
“We value your experience and hope to leverage it in assisting us with furthering our strategic goals…”
If you were reviewing 3 offers which letter do you think is more effective? The fact of the matter is that you’re not just offering a job. You’re offering a future—the candidate’s future. You’re trying to convince the candidate to spend part of their future (quite a substantial part, as a matter of fact) with your company.
With that in mind, below are five tips for writing great offer letters for candidates you want to attract to your company:
#1—Ditch the corporate jargon
You’re not issuing a writ of habeas corpus. You making an offer of employment. Don’t go cold and corporate. Be warm, inviting, and even (gasp) cheery.
If you want the candidate to be excited about working for your company, you must be excited about the candidate working for your company. Makes sense, right?
#3—Cast a vision
Candidates (especially top candidates) want to work for a company with vision and direction. If they’ve come this far, they probably believe that you are such a company. Don’t lose them at the altar. Instead, keep them hooked by reiterating where you want to grow and how they will grow with you. (Bonus! This will also help override a possible counter-offer situation from occurring.)
#4—Place the candidate within that vision
This is the best way to get the candidate excited about the offer. Explain how they fit into your organization’s plans for the future and the contributions they’ll make to the achievement of its goals.
#5—Make the candidate feel wanted
What’s one of the major reasons that candidates reject offers? Because they don’t feel wanted. The standard offer letter does NOT make them feel wanted. Be proactive about doing this. It will make a difference.
In this highly competitive market where, in many cases, candidates are reviewing multiple offers, you need to make your offer stand out by painting a picture. In that picture, the candidate should not see themselves just “taking a job.” Rather, they should see themselves working, thriving, and excelling at your company and building a better future for themselves.