How To Make a Job Offer: A Helpful Guide (+ Template!)

How To Make a Job Offer: A Helpful Guide (+ Template!)

In today’s competitive job market, standing out from the crowd and attracting top talent to your organization can be a challenge. But with the right approach, you can make your offer difficult to refuse.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand the ins and outs of the hiring process, follow best practices, and take all the necessary steps to extend a winning job offer. By doing so, you can attract the best and brightest candidates to your team—and set yourself up for recruitment success.

In this article, we share the secrets of creating a job offer that candidates are excited to accept. We share a few best practices for creating an offer, discuss ways to communicate these components clearly and professionally, and cover how to negotiate and finalize job offers that secure top talent.

Understanding the hiring process

Hiring a new employee is a multistep process. It includes sourcing and screening candidates, interviewing, and choosing the right candidate. Once you’ve identified the best candidate, it’s time to make an official job offer.

Extending an offer of employment is one of the most critical parts of the hiring process. It represents the culmination of a significant investment of time and resources. A compelling job offer can help secure top talent for your organization, while a poorly executed offer can result in losing out on a new hire.

Some common mistakes made during the job offer process include:

  • Failing to check references
  • Taking too long to make an offer
  • Not communicating the compensation and benefits package clearly
  • Making a lowball offer
  • Not providing enough time for the candidate to make a decision

This guide provides tips on avoiding these mistakes and making a compelling job offer so candidates are more likely to want to work for your business.

Following best practices and being strategic in the job offer process can increase the likelihood of successful talent acquisition and achieving your hiring goals.

4 steps for making a job offer

In this section, we explore the critical steps involved in making a job offer, including preparing the offer, making the offer, handling counteroffers, and closing the deal.

Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or a hiring manager new to the process, these tips can help you confidently navigate the job offer process.

Steps for making a job offer:

  1. Prepare the job offer
  2. Make the job offer
  3. Handle counteroffers
  4. Close the deal

1. Prepare the job offer

Before extending a job offer, evaluate the candidate to ensure they’re a good fit for the role and your organization. This includes assessing their skills, experience, and cultural fit.

Once you’ve identified the right candidate, determine the job offer details, including the position, start date, and any relevant benefits. Establish base salary expectations based on market research and the candidate’s experience and skills.

When communicating with the candidate, be transparent and build rapport by sharing the job offer details clearly and promptly. Share a sense of the company culture. Explain the expectations for the role including the metrics that will be used to evaluate their performance, as well as any key performance indicators (KPIs) for departments they might impact.

Be sure the candidate has a clear idea of the job requirements and that they understand salary details. Additionally, be responsive to any questions or concerns they may have. If they have a question you can’t answer on the spot, be sure to follow up with them in a timely manner.

Proper communication, transparency, and clarity increase the likelihood of securing the candidate and setting them up for success in their new role.

2. Make the job offer

When making a job offer, timing is critical. It’s best to extend the offer as soon as you know your chosen candidate. Be sure to allow enough time for the candidate to consider the offer fully. Deliver the offer professionally and personally, such as in a face-to-face meeting or by a phone call—rather than just an email.

Your job offer should be clear and concise and include all necessary job details such as title, start date, salary, benefits, and any contingencies—like passing a background check or drug screening.

The offer letter should also include a statement of employment at will and a timeline for accepting the offer. Write it in a positive and friendly yet professional tone. You should also emphasize the company culture and express the organization’s excitement about having the candidate join the team.

Below, we offer a template example you can use to make sure your offer letter is comprehensive and meets the requirements. Use the template as an outline, and tailor the letter to the specific position and candidate.

Overall, the job offer should aim to convey the details of the position and organization positively and invitingly while setting expectations and securing the candidate’s commitment.

3. Handle counteroffers

Preferred candidates often receive counteroffers from their current employer or other interested employers, especially if they’re highly sought-after talent. As a recruiter or hiring manager, anticipate this possibility and have a plan to handle it.

To keep your chosen candidate engaged and reduce the likelihood they’ll accept a counteroffer, maintain open and honest communication throughout the interview process. Be transparent about your company’s willingness and ability to negotiate on certain aspects of the job offer, such as salary, benefits, or flexible working arrangements.

If the candidate gets a counteroffer, encourage them to consider their options and weigh the potential long-term benefits of accepting the new position. Remind them why they were attracted to the position in the first place and emphasize the unique opportunities and growth potential that the job offers.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent a counteroffer is to build a strong relationship with the candidate and help them feel valued and appreciated throughout the hiring process. By showing a genuine interest in their career goals and offering a competitive and attractive job offer, you’re more likely to get their commitment and prevent counteroffers.

4. Close the deal

Closing the deal and securing your preferred candidate’s acceptance of the job offer involves finalizing the details of the position and ensuring they feel confident in their decision to join your organization.

This may include working on any remaining candidate questions or concerns, addressing potential roadblocks, and reiterating the benefits of the position and organization.

Once your chosen candidate accepts the offer, follow up promptly with the necessary paperwork. This includes any background checks, drug tests, or other pre-employment requirements.

Additionally, provide clear and concise information about the onboarding process—from what to expect on their first day to their contact in human resources (HR) and other departments for any questions or concerns.

Be transparent about what the candidate can expect on their first day. For example, consider providing a detailed agenda for the first week, scheduling an orientation session, and introducing them to key team members and stakeholders.

Providing support and guidance throughout the onboarding process increases the probability of a successful hire and long-term retention.

Tips for writing an effective offer letter

A thoughtful and effective offer letter is critical in securing the candidate’s commitment. We provide a few tips for creating a compelling and personalized offer letter.

  • Start with a warm and engaging greeting to make the candidate feel welcomed and appreciated.
  • Include all necessary details, such as job title, start date, salary, benefits, and any contingencies or conditions of employment.
  • Include a timeframe for the candidate to respond; you don’t want to be left with an open-ended offer if they don’t accept right away.
  • Use strong and positive language throughout the letter, highlighting the candidate’s qualifications and expressing excitement for them to join the team.
  • Personalize the letter to the candidate by referencing specific skills, experiences, or accomplishments that stood out during the hiring process.
  • Emphasize the company’s competitive advantages and unique selling points (USPs), such as company culture, opportunities for growth and development, or work-life balance initiatives.
  • End the letter with a call to action (CTA) and a sense of urgency, encouraging the candidate to accept the offer and join the team.

Overall, an offer letter should convey the company’s enthusiasm for the candidate while providing precise and detailed information about the position and organization.

Job offer letter template

Dear [Candidate’s Name],

We are excited to offer you the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name]. We believe your [list specific skills] and [list specific experience] make you an ideal fit for our organization, and we look forward to having you on our team.

As [Job Title], you’ll be responsible for [list key responsibilities]. You’ll report directly to [Manager’s Name] and work with our team to achieve our goals and meet the needs of our clients.

Your starting salary will be [state specific salary amount], and you’ll be eligible for [list benefits and perks]. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in [list training and development programs] and [list career growth opportunities or other benefits].

To accept this offer, please sign and date this letter and return it to us by [Date]. We’re excited to have you on board and look forward to seeing you soon.


[Your Name]

[Company Name]

Job offer template

Best practices for hiring the perfect candidate

Following best practices can help ensure your job offers appeal to top candidates in all areas of your organization.

Below are a few of the best organizational practices for hiring top talent.

  • Act quickly. As soon as you decide on a candidate, make an offer. The longer you wait, the more likely the candidate will accept a competing offer.
  • Communicate effectively. Call them to offer the job first and then follow up with a formal letter or email.
  • Show excitement. Express your enthusiasm for the candidate and tell them how much you value their skills and experience. Candidates who feel wanted and valuable are more inclined to accept your job offer.
  • Be transparent about salary and benefits. Discussing specific details of the compensation package up front can help you avoid misunderstandings. It also ensures the candidate has a clear understanding of the financial rewards of accepting the job.
  • Highlight why they’re the best fit. During the offer process, take the time to explain why the candidate is the best fit for the job. Highlight specific skills, accomplishments, or experiences that make them a great candidate.
  • Get a commitment. Once you’ve extended the offer, ask the candidate for a commitment. This can include asking them to confirm their acceptance verbally and providing a deadline for their response.
  • Provide additional information. Provide any additional information about the company or position the candidate might find helpful in making their decision. This can include information about company culture, opportunities for growth, or the team they’ll work with.
  • Be flexible. If the candidate has concerns or questions about the offer, be open to discussing potential adjustments or alternatives. This can build trust and show your commitment to the candidate’s success.
  • Stay in touch. Regularly communicate with the candidate throughout the acceptance process. This can include providing updates on the onboarding process and checking in with the candidate to see how they’re settling in.

Job offer FAQ

When making a job offer, you should consider several factors, including how long to wait for a candidate’s response, what to do if they reject the offer, and how to let other candidates know the position has been filled.

This section thoroughly explores these questions and provides best practices for navigating these situations with professionalism and empathy.

How long should I wait for a job offer response?

When you make a job offer, give the candidate a reasonable time to respond. The length of time you should wait can depend on various factors, including the urgency of the position, the candidate’s availability, and the competition for the role.

Generally, give the candidate at least three days to consider the offer. You should give a deadline for their response, but ensure it’s realistic and allows them enough time to consider the offer carefully. Making your offer on a Thursday or Friday before the weekend and requesting a response on Monday is a reasonable approach.

If your candidate needs more time, be open to negotiating a mutually agreed-on deadline. However, if they fail to respond by the agreed-on deadline, you can move on to another candidate.

What if the candidate rejects my offer?

If a candidate rejects your job offer, you should approach the situation with professionalism and empathy. You can start by asking the candidate for feedback on why they declined the offer, as this information can help you improve your recruitment process and future job offers.

If the candidate has concerns about the salary or benefits package, see if there’s room for negotiation. Sometimes, a minor adjustment to the offer can significantly affect the candidate’s decision.

If the candidate isn’t open to negotiation and declines the offer, thank them for their time and consideration. Keep the door open for future opportunities, and let them know you appreciate their interest in your company.

What is the best way to let other candidates know the position has been filled?

When letting candidates know the job has been filled, do so positively, empathetically, and professionally. Let them know you appreciate their interest and effort in the recruitment process and that their candidacy was carefully considered.

Providing constructive feedback about why they weren’t selected for the position can help them understand where to build their skills and keep doors open to opportunities in your organization.

If you feel they’d be an asset, encourage them to apply for a more appropriate position for their skills and experience.

Hire top candidates with help from Upwork

We hope this article provides a better understanding of how to make a compelling job offer and the best practices for communicating offers with your desired candidates.

Following these steps and using our free offer letter template can help you create attractive job offers that stand out in today’s competitive market.

If your organization requires recruiting specialists who can attract and acquire top talent, search for full-time, part-time, or contract-based professional recruiters on the Upwork talent marketplace.

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How To Make a Job Offer: A Helpful Guide (+ Template!)
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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