At this point in the process, a candidate has been identified to make an offer to. It is important to create an offer letter with input from the candidate. See Making an offer for more information.

Request from the hiring authority if an offer can be made. For many tenure-track positions this will require permission from the Dean.

Once this permission has been granted, the Hiring Official should contact the candidate and let them know that an offer letter is being prepared. If there will be a start-up package, this is the time to inquire about the candidate’s startup needs. Advise the candidate to request a generous but reasonable startup package, letting them know that the offer will likely be smaller. The candidate should indicate which parts of the startup are essential. In addition, if the candidate wants to count prior service for the terms of the appointment, that should be mentioned. The Hiring Official should state that the verbal offer is contingent upon review and approval of the offer by University Human Resources.

Invite the candidate to let you know about any dual career needs (but don’t ask about partnership status—only whether there are dual-career needs). Information about Dual Career hires (PDF)

The most successful dual-career hires occur when the initial hiring department takes an active role in helping the partner or spouse find appropriate employment. The department may request a CV from the significant other and explore job possibilities within OSU. If the job prospects are outside OSU, the department can facilitate connections between the significant other and possible job openings/employers. If there are possibilities within OSU, the department may request an interview for the significant other, involving both deans and department heads/chairs.

A reconciliation between the amount of money requested for startup and the amount available must be undertaken. Financial support typically comes from the department, the college and the Research office. The department will negotiate with the college and Research office to create the best package possible.

Create the offer letter with a detailed description of all elements that will be provided. Work closely with your UHR Strategic Partners and make sure you have their approval. The offer letter needs to be signed by the department and by the dean (if the dean is the hiring authority). 

Model Offer Letter:

The offer letter includes (but is not necessarily limited to) the following elements:

  • Terms of appointment
  • Decision date for tenure (if applicable)
  • Prior service agreement and conditions (if applicable)
  • Salary
  • Summer salary support for initial years
  • Release of teaching, for positions with a research component
  • Equipment budget
  • Personnel for support during startup
  • Moving expenses
  • The terms of appointment are non-negotiable.
  • The decision date for tenure can be negotiated within reason. That negotiation depends strongly on the nature of the prior service. It is important for the candidate to understand what a reasonable balance is for prior work and work at OSU. Too much prior credit brings a risk for being denied tenure if negative evidence appears at OSU. One misstep can become costly.
  • The salary range was set when the position was created. The candidate will almost always ask for the maximum of the range. Without prior service, one should not give the maximum. Assuming the salary range was set properly, going outside the range creates inequity problems within the group of current employees. A small concession can be useful, though, to signal that the candidate has been listened to. Sometimes when an increase to the offered base salary is not possible, the hiring unit may offer additional one-time-only funds for professional development, travel, etc.
  • All other items are up for negotiation. It is important to make sure the offer is not too different from offers made in the recent past to current faculty members. But actual dollar amounts will depend strongly on the field of study, so direct comparison is not always possible.
  • Startup costs are the biggest hurdle in fields where there is strong competition with highly ranked universities. Even when budgets will not allow a significant change in the base pay offer, other one-time inducements (such as professional development funds, additional course release, etc.) can help the hiring unit close the deal with the candidate in a competitive market.

During negotiations, candidates may not always know how to ask questions. They might have received advice that leads to behavior that can be interpreted as pushy or overly demure. When a candidate comes back with questions for more, do not respond immediately. The best answer is to thank them for the feedback and tell them that you now need to discuss this with your supervisor, which is often true. Give them a timeline when you will get back to them and follow up on that timeline. By avoiding an immediate response you also avoid automatic reactions that could hinder the negotiations.

Identity-related norms and socialization can affect a candidate’s comfort in seeking to negotiate at this stage. Those same norms can cause us to unintentionally respond differently to the same negotiation strategies depending on candidate identity. The hiring manager should work to recognize and address differential responses to and judgments of candidates. At the same time, it is important to consider internal equity and compression concerns for current faculty.