The eShares offer letter: write like a human, not an HR robot

Bullshit gathers where lawyers and human resource people meet. But as Henry Ward, CEO of startup eShares, shows with the company’s offer letters, it doesn’t have to. Using the power of clarity, simplicity, and graphics — eShares is welcoming new hires — and it’s probably getting a lot more of them to say “Yes.”

Ward published a sample offer letter on Medium. Take a look at what it does right. Here’s how it starts:

offer letter 1

So far, so inviting. While most offer letters start in an encouraging way, this one includes not just enthusiasm but a phone number and a description of what’s coming next. This is followed by a simple summary of the offer.

offer letter 2

The candidates’ first question after the basics is likely “where do I fit in the company?” eShares answers that graphically (when was the last time you saw an offer letter with pictures in it?).

offer letter 3

Salary calculations are shrouded in mystery. But not at eShares. They actually explain how they calculate your salary, on a bell-curve.

offer letter 4

Many of the candidates who see a letter like this are young and inexperienced, with heads spinning from tales of stock grants, equity, and unicorns. It’s in those explanations that the eShares letter excels — both in explaining how options pay off, and in how to think about them. Notice how these parts are written directly to the candidate in simple, jargon-free sentences and active voice.

offer letter 5

offer letter 6

There’s more, but you get the idea.

The lessons here go beyond offer letters. No matter what you’re creating, even if lawyers are involved, think about clear and simple expression. Don’t settle for boring boilerplate — stand out. Use lists and graphics to clarify. That’s how to win over your audience instead of boring and annoying them.


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