Building a Team

Make an Offer

After you make your final hiring choice, you may think you can just sit back and relax. Not just yet. Have you closed the deal? Are you sure the candidate wants you? If you want to know how to make a job offer that’s successful, you need to make sure it’s followed by an acceptance.

  1. Get the paperwork ready: Set up records for the government, write the employment offer letter, update your business insurance coverage and decide if you want to run a background check.

  2. Make the offer: Let the candidate know through a phone call first, then send the offer letter.

  3. Follow-up and prepare to onboard!

The paperwork

As an employer, you’ll need to setup records for the government. This is done through Form I-9, Form W-4, Form W-2 and applicable state forms. After the forms are completed, you’ll need to submit them to the IRS.

  • Form I-9: Before or on their first day on the job, your new employee needs to fill out section one of Form I-9 to make sure they’re eligible to work in the U.S. If you hire someone who doesn’t have the right employment eligibility, you could face fines, and even criminal penalties. You don’t need to send Form I-9 to the federal government, but you do need to keep it on file for three years after the hire date, or for a year after the employee stops working for you, whichever comes later.

  • Form W-4: To withhold the proper amount of federal income tax from a full- or part-time employee's pay, you'll need to file them once a year to your state and federal governments.

  • Form W-2: To the Social Security Administration and a share of a full- or part-time employee's Social Security payroll taxes (FICA) once a year to your state and federal governments.

  • State forms: You and your new employee will need to complete applicable state withholding forms.

We recommend using electronic versions, or scanning any documents to make sure you have a secure copy.

You’ll also need to prepare an official, written employment offer letter. The elements of a typical job offer are the deadline for response, job title, job description, start date, base salary, bonus opportunities, benefits, vacation, sick days, holidays, perks, etc. Make sure you stay compliant with the law and provide required employee benefits like social security taxes, worker’s compensation, disability insurance, leave benefits and unemployment insurance. Other benefits you can offer are retirement plans, flex time, and remote work. How much you offer to pay your new employee depends on the kind of work you need done, their experience, and your budget, but keep in mind that candidates expect a pay increase of at least 10% if they change jobs.

Don’t forget to update your business insurance coverage to make sure your new hires are covered with workers’ compensation, disability insurance, and unemployment insurance. Requirements for employers vary from state to state so make sure you read up on what you need to do to be compliant.

You’ll also need to decide if you want to run a background check. You can use a it as a pre-employment screening to help keep your business and customers safe. It can help you make sure you’re hiring employees who are who they say they are. Make sure you get permission from applicants before you run a background check. There are many third-party agencies that conduct background checks. For specific guidance or advice on background checks, consult with a legal professional.

The offer

The offer process should happen in two steps. An initial informal job offer and an official job offer. The first is typically a phone call and the later is done as a written form

The following framework outlines the elements of a strong, effective informal job offer, typically done through a phone call, to make candidates cancel their job search and begin the onboarding process with your organization.

  1. State Your Excitement. Everyone likes to feel wanted, and your newest potential hire is no different. Let them know how excited you are to have them join the team.

  2. Remind Them Why They Like Your Company. Talk to them about how they’ll fit in at your organization. What made you realize they’d be a good match for your culture?

  3. Show Them The Money. Let them know the base salary you’re prepared to offer, as well as any other major benefits. You don’t need to list everything here, because it’s an informal offer. Just let them know you’re still nailing down the details of their complete package.

  4. Be Ready to Negotiate. Often times, candidates may want to negotiate everything from start date, to salary, to vacation days and everything in between. Make sure you’ve thought through your needs and if you don’t know, let them know you’ll get back to them with an answer.

  5. Get a Response. Whether you’re communicating via email or phone, it’s completely appropriate to ask for the recipient’s initial response. Be aware, however, that many people may want to see the official, formal offer before making a commitment. Make sure you let them know if they’ll be receiving it through email, mail or any other method you choose.

After the initial call, you’ll want to send the candidate their official written offer letter through email or mail.


The first few weeks a new hire is on the job are some of the most crucial because you’re setting expectations and building their personal investment in your business or organization. Start with a simple overview of your business, share your mission, vision, expectations and a training plan. Make sure you ask them how they’re doing regularly and make sure they feel supported as they accumulate to a new job!

Pro Tip

Like it or not, first impressions matter. Start making a good one right off the bat by treating onboarding as a part of your business’s success. Your efforts will pay off with higher employee engagement and retention and your business will quickly benefit from employees that are giving their all each day.