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I have interviewed many candidates that claim to have received job offers from one of my client companies. When I dig deeper, their statements start to unravel. Pressed for details; self-importance collapsed because information needed for a valid offer were missing. A verbal job offer is not a bona fide offer unless confirmed in writing. The following items should be contained in an official job offer.

Almost without exception, companies extend job offers in writing. Most often sent by next day delivery. The offer may also come as an e-mail document. You are requested to print, sign, and fax it back to the employer. Most offer letters also contain an acceptance deadline date. If the offer is not accepted by that date, the employer can rescind the offer. Deadline extensions are available but employers get nervous and question any delay. They may wonder if you really want the job. Before you resign, make certain that you have a new job waiting for you, confirmed in writing.

The position title is important so there is no misunderstanding when you show up for work. Amazingly, sometimes employers forget the promises made in the pursuit of closing the deal. It’s optional but many times the offer includes who you report to along with your product, people or department responsibility.

Most eyes read here first. Verifying your new money should be the happiest part of the offer. Offers usually state the yearly income salary. Then divide the yearly income by the number of pay periods and you’ll understand the gross amount of each paycheck. Other optional details of the offer letter such as vacation time, sick leave, company car, car allowance or relocation allowance may be stated. Other benefits are referred to in an overview and a complete benefits package will be sent to you upon acceptance.

Without a start date, the offer is non-conforming and needs to be corrected. The start date commits both sides to the offer. Normally, this gives you enough time to give proper notice to your current employer. The start date is mutually agreed upon prior to extending the written offer.

Offers are contingent upon the successful completion of your background check. Your educational degree is authentic. You are eligible to work in USA. A physical exam and drug test may also be part of the conditions. Your credit, criminal background and driving record can be checked. If any of these reports are negative, the offer can be rescinded.

RECAP: Do not quit your job until you have the offer in writing, you passed the tests, and the background check has been completed and verified. There are too many styles and types of offer letters to list, but they all should at minimum include a start date, money package and job title.

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George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.