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You should personalize the letter by writing something about the value your new employee will bring to the company in his new role. New hires really do read their offer letters. In many cases they also have their spouse or family members read the letter so that makes writing something complimentary about them in the letter even more important. Many companies have a concern that giving this letter somehow creates an employment contract between the employer and the employee. Nothing could be further from the truth if the letter is written correctly. The offer letter actually can do a nice job of making it clear that no contractual relationship exists between the new hire and the company. Most make it clear that the employment relationship between the employee and the employer is an "at will" relationship that either party may end at any time with or without cause.
You should have a line at the bottom of the letter on which the new hire can sign. No this does not create a contractual situation but it does signify that the new hire has received and read a copy of the letter. Recently we concluded the placement of a Senior Sales Representative for a publicly traded company. The role was ripe with potential as the company products were being widely embraced by current and new customers. The recruiting process went smoothly as the candidate progressed through several rounds of face to face interviews with company executives. At the conclusion of the final interview our candidate was pulled aside by his prospective boss the Vice President of Sales.
Substantive conversation took place as the candidate and prospective employer agreed upon the terms of a potential offer. The candidate and prospective employer spent approximately 30 minutes discussing in detail the offer terms: base compensation commission schedule profit sharing and bonuses insurance coverage car allowance expense account and other related matters. At the end of the conversation the candidate and the prospective employer shook hands to "seal the deal". The VP of Sales told him that their HR Director would follow up with him in the next "few days" with an "official offer letter". Four business days later the candidate called me. I could tell this normally cool and collected sales professional was a bit flustered.