Creating a Document Template with Signature Placeholders


This article explains how you can create templates for documents and contracts that can then be signed electronically. Templates need to contain signature placeholders to ensure that the process of requesting and obtaining e-signatures from multiple people works. Use these document templates either for employee documents or for contract proposals you send out during the offer process.


Creating Templates

In order to use electronic signatures in a document, you need to create a contract template with signature placeholders. You can create the document template in any popular word processing application (e.g. MS Office or OpenOffice) and upload the file in DOC, DOCX, ODT or OTT format. Please refer to this article for more detailed information about creating and managing document templates.

Once a document has been finalized and signed electronically, it is always stored as a PDF file in Personio, regardless of the original file format. You can then view and download finalized documents from the respective employee or candidate profile.

If you would like to use electronic signatures with existing templates, you have to adjust and upload them again per the instructions below.


Creating a Signature Placeholder

Create a placeholder in the template by entering @@ before and after the designation. You may add any number of signatories to the document and freely choose their designations, for example @@Candidate@@, @@Employee@@ or @@Recruiter@@.

If a person needs to sign in more than one place, be consistent in using the same designation, including the same spelling. You should therefore only have one unique placeholder designation for each signatory. The selected name within the @@ characters does not automatically ensure that the correct employee is assigned to the signature placeholder during the signing process. You need to do this assignment manually when you request an electronic signature. However, the designations will help you to identify whom you should assign to which placeholder in this manual step.
The placeholders for the e-signatures also determine precisely where signatories need to sign a document.

Leave sufficient blank lines where you want the e-signatures to go to allow enough space. We recommend a minimum of two blank lines after the placeholder (tested in 11 point Arial font).
Also, make sure that the placeholder doesn't wrap to a new line when the document is uploaded in Personio. This can very easily happen with placeholders inside a table if the table cell is not large enough. Otherwise, the document cannot be uploaded correctly. The placeholder should not be placed at the very end of a line or inside a small table cell.

For the e-signature function to work, the template must contain at least one other placeholder (e.g. {{first_name}}) next to the signature placeholder in any contract templates you intend to use throughout the offer process in your recruiting section.


Creating Location and Date Placeholders

To add a location and date for each signatory on a document, you can add placeholders to the template. The placeholder for location defines where in the document a signatory can enter the location where they signed. The placeholder for the date in the document is automatically filled with the date on which the signature is added during the e-signature process. The date is entered in the format DD-MM-YYYY. It is currently not possible to edit the format or font. 

The table below provides examples of what the placeholders for electronic signatures, location and date look like at the various stages of the document creation and signing process. 

Document template view Signing process view PDF view
e-signature-placeholder-document-template_en-us.png e-signature-placeholder-signing-document_en-us.png e-signature-placeholder-final-pdf_en-us.png


How to use placeholders:

Create placeholders at the points in the document where you would like them to appear by following the examples shown below:

Placeholder for the location: @@designation##city@@
Beispiel: @@Mitarbeiter##city@@

Placeholder for the date: @@designation##date@@
Beispiel: @@Mitarbeiter##date@@

When using location and date placeholders, you don't need to leave a certain amount of blank space in your document template as you would for signature placeholders. The designations for the location and date placeholders must be consistent with the designation for the signature placeholder to ensure that they are correctly correlated.


Fixing Placeholder Errors

Correct spelling is essential when using placeholders for signatures or for location and date. The automatic assigning of a document will otherwise not work properly, or the document may display incorrectly.
Here are some examples of why placeholder errors may occur:

Wrong spelling Correct spelling Explanation
@@Designation##city##date@@ @@Designation##city@@ @@Benennung##date@@ In order to display both location and date, you have to create to placeholders. It is not possible to combine ##city and ##date in one placeholder.
@@Designation##cities@@ @@Designation##city@@ ##cities is not a valid addition for the placeholder. 
@@Designation@@ or
@@Designation##city@@ or
The placeholder must not contain the hashtag characters ## without the addition of "city" or "date"


Uploading Templates


Once you have created your document template, go to Settings > Documents > Add template to upload it to your account. 

Contract templates need to be uploaded to the Work contracts category before you can use them in your recruiting.

Go to Who will sign it first? to set the order in which the various signatories will be asked to provide their eSignatures. You will see immediately how many signature placeholders the document contains per signatory. 


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