Is Offer Letter and Appointment Letter the Same?

It is important to specify the differences between offer letter and appointment letter before moving forward with a candidate
It is important to specify the differences between offer letter and appointment letter before moving forward with a candidate

One may confuse an offer letter with an appointment letter. But there are key differences between the two.

An Offer Letter is different from an Appointment Letter. The main differences between an appointment letter and an offer letter are:

  • Candidates get an offer letter after clearing all rounds of interviews. But an appointment letter gets issued to a candidate only after they accept the offer letter.
  • An appointment letter gives more details related to the job role compared to an offer letter.
  • Offer Letter conveys the company’s interest in offering a job role. But an appointment letter provides a detailed contract of employment to a candidate.
It is important to specify the differences between offer letter and appointment letter before moving forward with a candidate
An offer letter and appointment letter are two different but interchangeable terms in HRM

What is an Offer Letter?

An Offer Letter is a company document sent to a candidate if they get selected for a job. When a jobseeker clears all interview rounds, the company sends this letter to offer the role. 

It contains broad details about the designation for which the candidate had applied. There is no fixed template for this document.

What is an Appointment Letter?

It is a formal contract of employment sent by a company when the candidate accepts the offer letter. It has details like designation, responsibilities, salary structure, and terms of work. 

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It is an official document, and candidates can face action if they break any conditions in the letter. This letter precedes the verification of documents to check the candidate’s details. An appointment letter serves as proof of employment for the job seeker.

An offer letter lays down details about the job role and responsibilities and an appointment letter officiates an employee’s contract with the company
An offer letter is a selection confirmation while an appointment letter is a formal contract of employment

The Major Difference Between an Offer Letter and an Appointment Letter

You receive an offer letter after clearing your interviews. Once you accept it, the company sends you an appointment letter.

The Purpose of the Letter

The difference between an offer letter and an appointment letter is its purpose. The former is to inform the candidate that they have cleared the recruitment & selection process

It is also proof that they see the applicant as fit for employment. The latter gets issued when the candidate acknowledges and accepts the offer letter. It is a formal contract of employment from the company to hire someone for a particular job role.

The Content of the Letter

The content of an appointment letter is more clear as compared to an offer letter. An offer letter gives basic details about the job title, salary, location, and start date. But the appointment letter is more detailed and comprehensive. This is because it is a formal contract between the company and the candidate. It includes things like roles and responsibilities, working hours, and additional benefits. It includes terms of employment, conditions for terminating the contract, and other details.

The Timeline of the Letter Offered

The appointment letter always comes after an offer letter. A candidate gets an offer letter post their interviews and background checks. This document expresses the organization’s intent to hire the candidate. 

It is up to them to either accept or reject it. After they accept the offer letter, the company sends them an appointment letter. It is an official agreement between the company and the new employee.

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Things to be Included in an Offer Letter

An offer letter must include:

  • Start date: the date when the employee can officially start working in the company.
  • Position: The offer letter must clearly state the position at which the candidate has been hired. For example, the position can be that of a software developer, content writer, HR manager, etc.
  • At-will employment statement: This is a crucial part of the offer letter that states that the candidate is joining the company at their own will and that no one has forced them to do so.
  • Compensation: It includes all the monetary and non-monetary compensation that an employee is eligible to receive. In short, it includes the salary and benefit that is.

Things to be Included in an Appointment Letter

There are some basic provisions included in the offer letter. These are:

  • Title and duties: Appointment letter must clearly state the title of the job and roles and responsibilities associated with it that the candidate must perform.
  • Term of employment: Terms of employment are the responsibilities and benefits that the candidate adheres to while accepting a job. It may include anything from salary, benefits, retirements, company policies, termination, etc.
  • Termination: This is that part of the appointment letter that states the conditions on which an employee is liable for termination. 
  • Confidentiality: It is another important aspect of the appointment letter under which an employee must protect the confidentiality of the company. They are not supposed to release any information even if they leave the company.
  • Exclusivity: This is that clause of the appointment letter where the employee promises not to work with other organizations and companies that offer similar work or have a similar business
  • Arbitration: This clause states that any differences between the employer and employee must be solved in presence of an arbitrator and must not be arbitrated in court.
  • Severance pay: It is the compensation or benefits given by the organization to an employee once the employment gets over.


An offer letter is less detailed than an appointment letter. These legal documents are different versions of a formal contract of employment. A candidate must accept one to receive the other.

An offer letter includes basic details regarding the job but an appointment letter includes everything from employment terms to termination conditions
An offer letter is a less detailed document whereas an appointment letter is more comprehensive

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does the letter of appointment contain?

The appointment letter usually includes details on where the employee should show up for work, the start date of the position, the expected work schedule and the employee’s agreed-upon salary.

How many types of appointment letters are there?

There are two types of appointment letters: Job letter and Internship letter.

Is an appointment letter and offer letter the same?

Offer letters are provided by the companies to the selected candidates, offering them a job. It contains details regarding the job, whereas an appointment letter is the letter that is often used as a proof stating the job details of an employee.

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