How to Negotiate Smarter According to a Career Coach

how to negotiate smarter according to a career coach
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In 2020, Forbes reported that 70% of managers expect a salary and benefits negotiation when they make a job offer, even if they don’t implicitly state that the offer is flexible. In this circumstance, a shocking contrast emerges: 46% of men take a risk and negotiate, while only 34% of women do the same.

If these numbers are true, then this is also true: there is a horrifying disconnect between what employers expect to happen after they make an offer, and what we choose to accept for our talents, our gifts, and our time. It’s time to start advocating for ourselves. But in order to advocate for what we want and need, we have to educate ourselves on why — and more importantly — how.

Desiree Booker is a career coach who specializes in career advancement for diverse employees and has garnered 1.8M in salary increases. In an enlightening conversation, Booker shared savvy ways to negotiate smarter. Whether you’re about to start a new role or want a higher salary in the role you have now, there’s always room for negotiation. Here are a few things you need to know before you step into the room.


Don't accept the first offer

“I would say that the biggest mistake that I see people making with negotiations is accepting the first offer – and accepting it on the spot," Booker said.

“A lot of times this happens, especially when you’ve been out of work or you don’t really feel super confident in what you bring to the table, and you’re just happy to have the offer. We get excited — especially if it’s our dream offer — and that excitement leads to us kind of giving a quick answer without doing our research and making sure we’re getting the best deal. So the worst thing that you can be doing, one of the biggest mistakes, is to accept an offer on the spot without taking time to think about it and analyze the offer to make sure it’s the best possible deal.”

Prepare two numbers

“The best thing that I’ve seen people do is come to the table prepared, having done their research, and having their two numbers established. They know their target salary range: the number they want to ask for, and then they know what their walk-away number is," she said.

"You should’ve already calculated your expenses and understand how much you need to earn to feel comfortable, to be able to support your lifestyle, your family. What is that walk-away number? Whatever that is, you have to be willing to walk away if the company cannot at least meet that.”

Be ready to negotiate non-monetary benefits

“Really [get] an understanding of what non-monetary benefits you would want to negotiate in place of the financial comps. So is it a certain amount of paid time off? Is it negotiating a relocation stipend? That’s monetary, but certain benefits [may be] important to your lifestyle that you may not be able to negotiate as part of the salary.”

Know how salary works

“Typically, a recruiter is going to rely on human resources to give them a salary — a budget for the role — so they’ll have a range in terms of what they’re able to pay based on the experience level. They have that range before they actually post the job and so they make an offer based on your experience."

"In order to make sure that you’re navigating that properly, you can leverage websites like or to put in your information in terms of your market, your background, [and] any accomplishments to determine what you’re worth, and [to] make sure it’s on par with what the recruiter presents you with in terms of the salary number