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Offer Letter vs. Appointment Letter: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 7, 2023
An offer letter is a proposal for employment from a company, outlining job details and terms, while an appointment letter is a formal confirmation of employment after acceptance.

Key Differences

An offer letter is sent by an employer to propose a job position, usually after interviews. While, an appointment letter is issued after the offer is accepted, formally confirming employment.
Offer letters detail job role, salary, benefits, and terms of employment. Whereas, appointment letters confirm these details and include start date, policies, and job responsibilities.
The offer letter is a tentative proposal and does not constitute a binding contract. The appointment letter, however, often signifies a formal employment contract.
The offer letter is a part of the selection process, inviting the candidate to join. The appointment letter marks the conclusion of the hiring process.
An offer letter requires the candidate to accept or decline the proposal. The appointment letter usually doesn’t require a response, as acceptance is implied.

Comparison Chart


Proposes employment and outlines terms.
Formally confirms employment agreement.

Timing in Hiring Process

Issued after interviews, before acceptance.
Issued after acceptance of the job offer.

Legal Significance

Not a binding contract, but a proposal.
Often serves as a formal employment contract.

Key Details Included

Job description, salary, benefits.
Start date, job responsibilities, company policies.

Required Action

Candidate must accept or decline.
Usually no response needed, acceptance is assumed.

Offer Letter and Appointment Letter Definitions

Offer Letter

A document proposing employment, outlining job role and salary.
She received an offer letter from the company she interviewed with last week.

Appointment Letter

A formal letter confirming a candidate’s acceptance of a job offer.
He signed his appointment letter and returned it to HR.

Offer Letter

A letter detailing the terms and conditions of a job offer.
His offer letter specified a probationary period for the first three months.

Appointment Letter

A formal acknowledgment of an accepted job proposal.
Receiving the appointment letter, she was excited to start her new job.

Offer Letter

A formal job proposal from an employer to a potential employee.
The offer letter included details about the position and compensation.

Appointment Letter

A letter detailing the finalized terms of employment, including responsibilities.
Her appointment letter outlined the company’s policies and code of conduct.

Offer Letter

An initial step in the employment process, presenting an employment opportunity.
After receiving the offer letter, she had a week to respond.

Appointment Letter

A document that officially starts the employer-employee relationship.
The appointment letter included her official start date and work hours.

Offer Letter

A non-binding agreement indicating interest in hiring a candidate.
The offer letter stated the benefits package and stock options available.

Appointment Letter

A confirmation of employment, often with legal standing as a contract.
The appointment letter also included details about her reporting manager and team.


Can a candidate negotiate terms in an offer letter?

Yes, candidates can negotiate terms before accepting an offer letter.

Is the appointment letter sent after the offer is accepted?

Yes, it's sent after the candidate accepts the offer.

What is the main purpose of an offer letter?

To propose employment to a candidate and outline the job's terms and conditions.

Can an appointment letter be rescinded?

Rarely, but it can happen in certain situations like company downsizing or restructuring.

What legally binds an employee, the offer letter or appointment letter?

The appointment letter often serves as a binding employment contract.

Are benefits discussed in the appointment letter?

Benefits are usually outlined in the offer letter and confirmed in the appointment letter.

Does the offer letter guarantee employment?

No, it's a proposal and does not guarantee employment until accepted.

Is the salary negotiable after receiving an appointment letter?

Typically, salary negotiations occur before the appointment letter is issued.

What details are included in an offer letter?

Job position, salary, benefits, and terms of employment.

Do candidates sign the appointment letter?

Yes, signing the appointment letter is common to acknowledge acceptance.

Can an offer letter be withdrawn?

Yes, an employer can withdraw an offer letter under certain circumstances.

What happens if a candidate declines an offer letter?

The employment process ends, and the employer may consider other candidates.

Is the appointment letter a legal document?

It can serve as a legal document, outlining the terms of employment.

How long do candidates have to respond to an offer letter?

The response time can vary but is often around one week.

What if there are discrepancies between the offer and appointment letters?

Discrepancies should be addressed immediately with the employer for clarification.

Can a candidate get multiple offer letters?

Yes, candidates can receive offer letters from different employers.

Is the job role described in detail in the appointment letter?

The appointment letter usually confirms the job role, often detailed previously in the offer letter.

Is a start date included in the appointment letter?

Yes, the start date is typically included in the appointment letter.

What happens after returning the signed appointment letter?

The candidate proceeds with onboarding and starting the job on the agreed date.

Who sends the offer and appointment letters?

Typically, the HR department or hiring manager of the company sends these letters.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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