Making an offer of employment

Employment letter and pen

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So, you have advertised the opportunity, shortlisted the applicants, been through an interview process, checked references, and now you are ready to offer the role to your preferred candidate.

Now that you have invested the time to identify the right person for the role, it’s time to seal the deal. Before contacting the candidate, think about what salary, incentives, and benefits (the package) you will offer for the role. Be clear on what you can realistically afford to offer as a package and ensure your paperwork is ready to go before contacting the candidate. This will mean you can move quickly during the offer process.

A slow recruitment process is one of the main reasons employers lose quality candidates. The current job market is competitive, so if the candidate is actively seeking a role, they may already have other job offers.

Most employers begin with a phone call to the candidate to see if they are still interested in the role and, if so, advise them that you would like to offer it to them.

Formalising the employment relationship with a written offer of employment will set the foundation for a successful employment relationship and ensure everyone is ‘on the same page’.

The offer: what to include

The formal offer to the candidate should include:

  • Letter of offer
  • Employment contract
  • Position description

Fairwork Australia offer some basic templates and examples of these.

Letter of offer

A letter of offer is a document confirming the details of the offer, which is usually sent to the candidate by email or post following a phone call to the individual. Typical details include:

  • The role you are offering
  • A summary of duties
  • Salary and package details
  • Probation details
  • Offer time frame
  • Reference to policies and procedures

Employment contract

An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee that sets out terms and conditions of employment. A contract is legally binding, and it can be in writing or verbal (in writing is best) detailing information like:

  • Employer details
  • Employee details
  • Start date
  • The position and base location
  • Full-time, part-time or casual
  • Hours of work
  • Award and classification
  • Probation period
  • Pay details
  • Termination

Position description (PD)

Position descriptions are important because they communicate the requirements and expectations of the role. A well-thought-through PD can be a valuable resource for performance management in the future. Examples of the contents include:

  • A summary of the position
  • Major responsibilities
  • Essential and desirable requirements (skills, knowledge, licences, experience)
  • Key performance indicators
  • Reporting structure


Pre-employment screening

Pre-employment screenings formally review and verify information about the selected candidate and are an optional part of the hiring process. Common pre-employment screenings include:

  • Criminal background screenings
  • Consumer credit reports
  • Licence/certification verification
  • Educational verification
  • Drug screenings
  • Medical assessment
  • Rights to work in Australia

Potential employers should only conduct these checks if necessary for the role. If the checks reveal anything negative that you weren’t already aware of, before writing the candidate off, double-check the facts and give them a chance to explain. When using pre-employment screening, ensure that the letter of offer has a paragraph covering the reasons for the screening and that the offer is conditional upon screening results.

Unsuccessful applicants

Applicants spend a significant amount of time creating their applications and attending interviews. So, it’s common courtesy to follow up with the unsuccessful applicants after the preferred candidate has accepted the offer. The unsuccessful applicant may request constructive feedback from you, and although it may be difficult to do so, providing this may encourage them to apply for future opportunities with you.

Further information

Over the next few months, we will be sharing a series of articles to help you better understand the human part of a successful farm team written by Sally Murfet, Chief Inspiration Officer of Inspire AG. These articles are designed to provide a basic awareness and, where appropriate, lead you to additional resources to help develop your HR systems & process.

Other articles in this series:

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