Offer letters don't have to be boring. How can automation help hiring teams deliver a better, more delightful candidate experience?
Hiring new employees should be one of the happiest moments in a company’s life. But the employment offer letter process can be a bureaucratic nightmare. This deep dive explores why businesses choose to automate offer letters, the benefits of doing so, and more. Use the navigation below to find out more, or explore our deep dives on other contracts, like MSAs and NDAs.
What's an employment offer letter? | Who do offer letters affect? | What's the manual process? | Why automate offer letters? | How to automate employment offer letters | Useful features | Handy integrations | Learn more
What's an employment offer letter?
After a lengthy hiring and interview process, you’ve decided on your best candidate, and it’s time to send through a letter offering them the job. This letter gives your prospective new team member basic information about the role, but it also details the salary, employment terms and conditions, start date, and more. The offer letter is an important touchpoint for negotiations between you and the candidate. You might follow up with further details in a separate, lengthier and more formal employment contract.
Who do offer letters affect?
Various people might be involved in creating and sending offer letters, depending on the size of your business. A small startup, for example, might not yet have a well-established people team in place – its founders might still run the contract process. Once a company reaches a reasonable size, it’s likely to have a dedicated function for talent acquisition and hiring.
People, HR or talent acquisition teams usually own the hiring process, and use applicant tracking systems to manage new hires and keep the onboarding process running smoothly.
The hiring manager for the specific role are typically involved in making changes to the offer letter and agreeing the terms it sets out.
Authorized signatories will need to sign the letter on behalf of the business.
And of course the candidates themselves are crucial stakeholders in the document’s workflow. Often, the employment offer letter will be the first written communication they have with their future employers – and first impressions are always important.
What does a manual offer letter process look like?
The offer letter process exists from the earliest stages of a business – employee #1 needs an offer letter to secure employee #2, after all. Because of this, these documents are often created when the company’s tech stack is basic or even non-existent, and remain unchanged as the business grows.
An offer letter process without automation would usually look something like this:
Someone from the business, most likely in HR, enters the candidate information into the applicant tracking system (ATS) during the recruitment process. In the earlier stages of the business, the HR team might not have an ATS, in which case the information would be manually entered into a Word document or spreadsheet. People or HR teams copy this information from the ATS into a Word template – which may or may not reflect the business’s latest values and brand. This template is emailed to the hiring manager, and there may be several rounds of amends.
The offer letter process exists from the earliest stages of a business – employee #1 needs an offer letter to secure employee #2, after all
Once the document is approved, the offer letter is emailed to the candidate, either as a Word document or a PDF. Often, they must print, sign, scan and send the letter back. The signed offer letter is then uploaded to the ATS and a shared drive. Some businesses still print hard copies of the contract, which are then posted externally to the candidate and given to internal signatories and other relevant stakeholders.
Some companies have used tech alternatives to make small changes towards simplifying this process: the template might be a shareable Google Doc; versions might be shared and changes tracked using platforms such as Slack; and eSignature might be used as a faster more efficient alternative to wet signatures
What are the pain points?
The pain points within the manual process frustrate both hiring teams and candidates alike. Some of the most commonplace include:
Lack of data integrity: “Despite repeated data entry, the information doesn’t match across our various systems. We risk having errors in our offer letters, which looks unprofessional.”
Wasted time: “Having to manually print, sign and scan each document takes so long. We're missing out on talent because we can't get offers out fast enough.”
Duplication of effort: “I have to manually enter the same information twice – once in the Word template and then in the ATS. It’s a waste of my time.”
Poor candidate experience: “We're a tech company that claims to be disruptive and innovative, but our candidate experience doesn’t reflect this. Our processes feel like something from the 1970s and our offer letters look like everyone else’s – we don’t stand out.”
The build-up of this pain often drives companies to automate their employment offer letter processes.
How to automate offer letters
Who owns the templates for automated offer letters?
In some jurisdictions, offer letters are used together with employment contracts; in others, employment contracts aren’t used much and the letter forms the basis of the legal agreement. Regardless of the jurisdiction and document type, the legal team should have oversight and ownership of the wording of key provisions, alongside HR or people teams.
Marketing and communications colleagues can also input into offer letter templates, as they are best placed to give direction on company branding and tone of voice. An attractive, dynamic and engaging contract can tip the scales in a business’s favour, leading to faster offer acceptance and better employer/employee communication.
Who creates the offer letters?
Hiring managers and talent acquisition teams usually work together on the specific details of the contract. Sometimes, senior leadership will get involved, depending on the role. If using a contract collaboration platform, teams can use a Q&A flow to enter in smartfields data such as candidate name, contact details, remuneration, start date and so on. This then autopopulates the generated contract and is searchable once the candidate has signed.
Who approves the offer letters?
Usually, offer letters follow the same structure or template, so the legal team doesn’t have to approve every document that gets sent out. When hiring for more senior roles, like C-suite or VP vacancies, there might be more scrutiny from legal and leadership teams, particularly if there are considerations like equity awards or complex bonus and compensation structures. Hiring managers usually own offer letter approval for most roles.
Who are the authorized signatories?
The CEO is often the ultimate signatory for employment contracts, which has benefits from both a candidate experience and a branding perspective. This may change as the business continues to scale, however, and a certain department or function might be empowered to sign offer letters. In a high-growth, scaleup environment, if a business is hiring rapidly, it’s common to replace wet signatures with eSignatures. This can streamline the process and save time, so signatories can power through their workload faster.
eSignature features are essential in the digital age, offering candidates the opportunity to accept a job offer on their phone as they walk back from the interview
Useful features for automating offer letters
The contract collaboration platform you choose needs a specific set of features to successfully automate contracts and documents relating to employment. These include:
A rich, dynamic text editor. From a branding perspective, this is a must-have, allowing employers to make offer letters more appealing to the candidate with engaging visuals. Options for tables and charts can help employers convey clearly and simply pension, remuneration and stock options, for instance.
Commenting. The ability to comment and negotiate in-browser is useful for people teams and hiring managers making changes on the document before sending it to the candidate. External negotiation is uncommon on offer letters, as this would typically be discussed over the phone or through recruiters, but it’s useful to have the option.
Mobile-responsive eSignature. This gives candidates the opportunity to accept a job offer on their phone as they walk back from the interview, giving you the edge if your candidate is interviewing with several companies. eSignature also decreases time-to-hire and streamlines the hiring process, saving signatories valuable time.
Mass generation. The faster your company grows, the more urgent it will be to have processes and solutions that scale with the business. Mass generation can help HR users create letters to vary terms at scale. If you’re working at a high-growth scaleup, for example, and hundreds of new employees receive a new equity award, you can use a platform like Juro to mass generate and sign those variation letters.
Creating the perfect offer letter has never been easier - check out our example to see how you can create and automate beautiful, dynamic offer letters that candidates are excited to sign.
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Greenhouse. High-growth tech businesses often use Greenhouse to track their applicants, although other providers are also available. Integrating with Greenhouse can help you to maintain reliable, synchronized data across your contract management system and your ATS.
Slack. Enabling contract notifications in Slack helps give the whole company visibility across the hiring process, so you can celebrate new hires together.
Google Drive. Integrating with the team’s shared drive means that agreed terms are automatically downloaded when fully signed and stored securely.
Find out more about automating employment offer letters in our free eBook, 'Contract automation: start small, win big'.
Why automate offer letters?
Automating your employment offer letters benefits everyone involved – from key stakeholders to HR professionals, and, of course, the candidate. These benefits include:
Less admin. Automation ends clunky, manual workflows, meaning HR and people teams never have to copy and paste text into old Word templates, and don’t have to print, sign, scan and post documents to candidates. Instead, they can spend the time on what matters most: finding great candidates.
Data integrity. Remove the risk of human error by integrating your ATS with your automated workflow, which significantly reduces the chance of discrepancies and errors across your offer letters.
Faster time-to-hire. You can send digitized offer letters within minutes of approval, and candidates can eSign on any device, at anywhere, anytime. This decreases your time-to-hire, and can help you provide a delightful candidate experience.
Employer branding. By bringing branding and tone of voice into your offer letters in engaging, dynamic and attractive features, you can reflect your company culture and stand out from the crowd.
Achievable time savings
Juro’s customers typically report saving upwards of 75% of time on admin and paperwork when they automate their offer letters. With an automated workflow, the end-to-end contract process – from creation to signature – is under an hour.
A representative customer reported that they generated, sent and agreed 1,400 offer letter documents, with over 300 amendments, across 13 jurisdictions in just two weeks. These time savings have had a massive impact on people teams and their ability to move quickly, help their business scale and secure the best talent.
Find out how companies like Deliveroo, Curve and Tempo are delighting candidates with an automated hiring process, with Juro.
Is a poor offer letter process a pain point for your business, hurting your time-to-hire metrics and leading to a bad candidate experience? Try Juro and see how you can benefit from a flexible DocuSign alternative that enables the business, reduces time-to-hire and gives your candidates the experience they deserve.