What Is the Definition of a Job Offer?

Details Employers Include Are Key to the Offer

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A job offer is an invitation for a potential employee, whether she has applied for a job or not, to become an employee in your organization. The job offer contains the details of your employment offer.

It generally sketches out the terms and conditions under which the employment is offered to the prospective employee. This includes salary, benefits, job responsibilities, and the reporting manager's name and title. The job offer also can cover the expected work hours, the desired start date, and provide additional details that are important for the prospective employee to know.

A verbal job offer usually involves telling the candidate that the offer includes all of the standard employee benefits that likely were reviewed with the prospect during on-site job interviews.

When making an offer, affirm that the prospect will make an excellent addition to the team. It is the continuation of efforts to make a potential new employee feel valued and wanted from the start of his employment.

Contents of a Job Offer

While a verbal job offer may address the details of the job in broad strokes, a job offer letter also should be provided to address the finer points. This includes the pay, bonus potential, standard employee benefits, the job title of the position you are offering, the name of the supervisor of the position, and other terms and conditions of employment.

The prospective employee needs to review the terms stated in the job offer and accept or decline. They should sign the job offer to make the hiring and the terms official.

Counteroffers and Negotiations

The job offer may be negotiable, depending on the position. Early career to mid-level job offers are not usually very flexible because you likely have established salary ranges and standard benefits. However, it's good to have at least some flexibility in terms of pay range and other benefits in order to attract a potential employee you really want. Factors such as the scarcity of a candidate's skills, the difficulty you have recruiting employees for the particular position, and the impact of the unfilled position on the organization also are likely to play a role in your willingness to negotiate.

The potential employee may make a counter-offer, or they may tell you they need a couple of days to think about your offer. However your prospect wants to handle the discussion, do set a time limit for a response—three days should be sufficient. If she fails to accept your offer, you will want to restart your employee search while your candidate pool is fresh.

Once the candidate responds, you will need to decide if you wish to continue the negotiation of his counter-offer. If you are too far apart, continued negotiations may not be worth your time. If you are close, however, it's worth it to come to a deal to avoid losing the potential employee.