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3 things to consider before accepting your boss's counteroffer

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Landing a new job can be a huge relief after the stress of a job search, however lengthy. 

But in a tight labor market that has more job openings than skilled workers, your current employer may be prepared to present you with a counteroffer, and you'll need to be ready to enter a new phase of a process you thought was over.

According to human resources consulting firm Robert Half, 58 percent of senior managers across a variety of industries say they're willing to extend counteroffers to employees in order to keep them from leaving. When asked why,

  • 58 percent said they don't want to lose the employee's institutional knowledge
  • 42 percent said they don't want to spend time or money replacing the employee
  • 35 percent said they don't want to place extra work on the rest of the team
  • 34 percent said they don't want morale of the team to suffer.

A counteroffer may cause you second-guess your resignation. Here are three things to consider before you respond to your boss's new offer:

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1. Money

According to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, the only three times you should work just for the money is if you're in a deep financial hole, if you're looking to make extra cash in order to reach a goal or if you need a high-paying job to support a philanthropic endeavor.

If you fall into any of these three categories, then it may be OK to accept your boss's counteroffer based on a higher salary alone.

But when making a decision solely based on money, it's imperative that you have a clear understanding of your total compensation package. Monika Fahlbusch, chief employee experience officer at BMC Software, tells the Harvard Business Review that roughly 75 percent of executives she's worked with don't have a full understanding of how their outside offer compares to their current compensation.

"They didn't understand how the equity was going to work," she says, "or they didn't understand options versus restricted stock units, or restricted versus unrestricted."

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2. Goals

Before accepting a counteroffer, it's important to have a clear idea as to whether or not your current job is still in line with your career goals. To help you make the right decision, Heidrick & Struggles global managing partner Kelly O. Kay and chief operating officer Michael Cullen suggest talking to a mentor or trusted counselor about your dilemma.

"If you are still unsure about whether you should accept the counteroffer, discuss it with your mentor or with some other trusted counselor who can help you work through its full ramifications, especially for your reputation," Kay and Cullen write in the Harvard Business Review. "If you're perfectly clear about your reasons for leaving, especially the positive reasons, you should be able to resist counteroffers, authentic or otherwise, that are ultimately not in your best interests."

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3. Consequences

If you do decide to accept a counteroffer from your current employer, it's crucial to consider the possible consequences that may come with your decision.

According to a Heidrick & Struggles survey, 71 percent of senior executives and 67 percent of HR leaders said that accepting a counteroffer could cause superiors within the company to question the employee's loyalty moving forward. Additionally, accepting a counteroffer could ruin your reputation with the outside company that already gave you an offer.

In order to avoid the awkward conversations that come with counteroffer negotiations, recruitment specialist Oliver Cooke says it's best that you go into your meeting with clarity and confidence about what you want to do. That way, you'll be able to evaluate any offer your boss may make on its true merit. 

"[My] advice is to keep it polite, keep it short, thank them for their investment and time, but say that you've found a new opportunity that is right for you and your career," Cooke told CNBC Make It. "You can add that you'd be happy to help in the interim, but say that you're ready to move quickly."

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