This is an extract from our full guide ‘Making a Job Offer’.

One of the best parts of recruitment is finding someone you want to employ. The next step is to make an offer in a way that makes them likely to accept. You should also use this as a way of welcoming the applicant to your company and set the tone for a good working relationship.

Phone the candidate

A good way to offer the successful candidate the job is by calling them. You should sound excited and happy to show that you are looking forward to working with them. Phoning them will enable you to establish if the offer is accepted and to answer any questions they may have.  If the candidate turns down your offer, thank them for applying but ask why they are turning the offer down. You can also ask if you can keep in touch with them in the future. Also, be prepared on how you will handle a situation if the candidate wants to “think about it”.

Written Offer

Send the successful candidate a formal letter with either an unconditional or conditional offer. Usually a conditional offer is made, which only stands if the candidate meets your specified conditions. For example: “subject to satisfactory references”

What to include in an offer

  • The job title
  • The name of the candidate
  • Conditions
  • Start date and time
  • Location
  • Whether or not there will be a probation period
  • All the terms on which the offer is made
  • Action required by the candidate
  • Instructions on how the accept the offer

You must not send the job offer to the candidate’s current employer’s address.

Ask the candidate to sign a copy of the job offer and send it back to you. You should also send the candidate a copy of the terms and conditions of employment within two months of their start date.

Conditional offers

Common conditional offers include:

  • Passing a medical
  • Checking qualifications
  • Receiving satisfactory references
  • Proving eligibility to work in the UK
  • Completing a probationary period
  • Passing a criminal records check

If you require a candidate to pass a medical test then this must apply equally to both able-bodied and disabled people alike.

The required checks should be actioned as soon as possible, in order to give the candidates an unconditional offer of employment before they commence. If the candidate does not meet the conditions, you are entitled to withdraw the offer of employment. However you must ensure you do this as quickly as possible. If the candidate feels they have been unfairly treated they could take legal action.

Probation and notice periods

Probation periods should stipulate how much notice you will give the candidate if they are not suitable for the company. Statutory notice periods will apply if you don’t specify a notice. If you specify that training will be offered to the candidate and dismiss an employee without having given them training, they could sue you for breach of contract.

Alternatively, you could extend the probationary period and provide the employee with appropriate training to get them up to the required standard.

Contractual duties

No contract exists between the company and the applicant until the job offer has been accepted and all conditions of the offer have been met. Therefore, if you withdraw the offer because the candidate does not meet certain conditions stipulated in the conditional job offer, they cannot sue you for breach of the contract.


You must ensure that no candidate is discouraged from accepting a job offer due to their age, sex, religion etc. Any candidate that feels they have been discouraged due to any of the above factors may have a tribunal claim. Note there is no statutory cap on the amount of compensation an employer may be ordered to pay at tribunal.

As featured in

Become a Recruitment Genius

As featured in