Whether you're congratulating someone on their promotion or making a job offer, the appointment letter should signify the start of something good, set expectations and clearly lay out agreed upon terms.
Open with a congratulations and end with a warm welcome, but make sure the body of the letter contains the meat of the offer.
Avoid topics usually associated with an employment contract. Don't mention the duration of the job, conditions of employment, grounds for termination or resignation, detailed compensation and benefits offerings (it’s okay to cover the basics), or intellectual property components.
Include a statement that employment is "at will." Check with your legal department for state law, but most states recognize at-will employment as the employer's right to fire an employee without cause.
Provide essential start information. Job title, start date, start time, rate of pay, overarching benefits and reporting relationships.
Reiterate any contingencies already discussed in the interview process. If your company requires drug testing for new employees, background checks, or even credit checks prior to employment, make sure those issues are stated clearly.
Send two copies. You need the potential employee's signature indicating agreement before the offer is finalized. One copy should be signed, dated and returned, and the other copy retained by the employee.
Take advantage of your legal department. Once you’ve added your own finesse to the document and included all the nuts and bolts, let your legal team look over it to make sure you’ve ticked all the necessary boxes.
As you review the appointment letter samples provided, you'll get a flavor for the variety in tone, level of formality and amount of detail.