What is a promise of hiring and how to write one?

promise of hiring

During the recruitment phase, the company has the option of offering a promise of hiring when the candidate’s profile matches the position to be filled. This document protects both the employer and the future employee.

The promise of hiring can take different forms and must include specific information.

1. What is a promise of hiring?

This is officially a unilateral promise of employment. This document sets out the position, the salary and the starting date. All you have to do is sign it to be bound! Once a candidate has accepted the promise of hiring, it becomes a contract of employment. It is therefore, in a way, a pre-contract that the employer and the future employee draw up after the job interview, and when they do not have the possibility of immediately signing an employment contract but wish to formalize their next working relationship.

The three scenarios that motivate a company and an employee to sign a promise of hiring are as follows:

  • You are replacing an employee who is leaving the company but still has to serve a notice period.
  • The vacancy has not yet been created.
  • You are still employed by your current company and you will only be available at the end of your notice period.

What is the main reason for the promise of hiring? If the employer changes his mind after submitting his proposal, he cannot prevent the formation of the employment contract. Once the promise is made, the formation of the contract depends solely on the candidate’s will.

The promise of employment is also of interest to the employer. When the candidate accepts the proposal, he ensures that a future employee will start working for his company on the date agreed upon.

What is the legal value of a promise of hiring?

It is essential to distinguish between two types of promises of hiring. Indeed, this document can be presented either as an offer of employment contract or as a unilateral promise of employment contract. These two terms may seem synonymous, but there is a distinction between them that has important legal implications.

Here are the two documents in their entirety:

  • The offer of employment contract: In this case, the employer offers to hire the candidate after the latter has passed the job interview. This offer of employment contract formalizes the employer’s willingness to offer the position in question. It is, as its name indicates, a simple offer of employment made by an employer to a candidate.
  • Unilateral promise of employment contract: In this case, the employer promises to hire the candidate. In this document, the employer expressly undertakes to have the candidate sign an employment contract in the near future.

In other words, an offer of an employment contract is equivalent to an offer made by the employer on the condition that the candidate accepts it. The unilateral promise has the same legal weight as the employment contract, and it cannot be revoked by the employer.

What must the promise of hiring contain to be valid?

The letter of promise of employment must meet the same requirements as the employment contract. Thus, it must indicate :

  • the different parties involved (company and candidate);
  • the place of work
  • the effective date of the future employment relationship
  • the type of employment relationship;
  • the duration of the employment relationship (fixed or indefinite);
  • the working hours;
  • the collective agreement applied, if any;
  • the trial period provided for by the collective agreement;
  • the remuneration;
  • the duration of vacations and the way in which they can be taken.

The issue of compensation is crucial and deserves special attention.

Legally, the courts require that negotiations on compensation be completed before the promise of hiring is written. The promise cannot be considered final if it is still in progress.

Make sure that the amount of the salary is specified in the document and that it is satisfactory to all parties (yourself, but also your future employer).

Important: the acceptance deadline

To be valid, a job offer must include a deadline for acceptance. The existence of a deadline is a sort of guarantee that the offer has not been made to other candidates at the same time; it also avoids disagreements that could result from a late acceptance.

After an offer of employment has been accepted, the company and the candidate may still choose not to enter into the employment contract, but they must account for any damages caused. Therefore, the so-called “quantification of damages” clause is crucial. If no such clause exists, the quantification is left to the judge’s discretion.

What happens if a promise of hiring is not respected?

Failure to comply with a promise of employment that is drafted in accordance with legal requirements can result in sanctions for both the employer and the professional.

Non-compliance on the part of the employer

If the employer decides to break the promise of hiring for any reason, he/she is liable to pay damages to the employee. Depending on the type of contract, the following indemnities will be due:

  • open-ended contract: payment of compensation for notice, damages and interest;
  • fixed-term contract: damages corresponding to the employee’s salary if he or she had been hired for the entire period of the contract.

However, there is an exception: if the employer has mentioned a period of withdrawal in the letter, he is not required to pay damages.

Non-compliance by the employee

If the employee withdraws after signing the letter of promise of employment, the employee is required by law to pay the employer compensation.

How to make a promise of hiring

The promise of hiring is not a mandatory document and is not linked to any formality; the employer can write it as he wishes. However, certain information must be included in the promise in order to have a minimum of information:

  • the exact description of the position to be filled
  • the date on which the position is to be filled, the location of the position and the salary.

Promise Of Employment Letter

(Company name)

(Head office)


(SIRET number)

(Name and first name of the applicant)

(Applicant’s address)

(City of the company), on (date)

Subject: Promise of employment

(Dear Sir/Madam – Name of candidate),

Following our interview of (date), we have decided to make you a promise of employment for the position of (job title).

This position in (indicate the type of contract: permanent, fixed-term, etc.) within (name of the company) will take effect from (effective date) under the following conditions:

You will occupy the position of (title of the position) where you will be responsible for (designation of the position and its exact missions).

From the date of signing the contract, you will be subject to the provisions of the Collective Agreement of (specify the agreement) and you will carry out your activity at (name and address of the company).

You will work on an hourly basis of (indicate the number of hours worked per week) and you will receive a fixed annual gross salary of (amount of salary).

When you join the company on (date), we will give you an employment contract containing all the above information.

If you agree with this promise of employment, we would be grateful if you would return a signed copy to us with the handwritten note “Read and approved”.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please accept, Sir/Madam, our best wishes.

The promise to hire can be extremely beneficial in formalizing a shared work intention between the employer and the candidate. This document reassures the future employee while confirming a future recruitment by the company seeking new candidates.

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