You'll have more room for negotiation with a smaller company. The larger companies have armies of people dedicated to making sure that standard hiring practices and procedures are being followed, and they tend to make it hard for the people doing the hiring to deviate from the standards. Still, if you can't get the salary you want, you might be able to get a hiring bonus (tough in many industries these days). Or maybe if you are moving, a small relocation stipend. One thing I liked to do with a new employer is say "While I'm not completely satisfied with the salary, I really want to come work for you because I think this is a great company and I can contribute a lot. Can we agree on a salary review in 6 months, instead of a year? Because I think I can convince you that I am a quick learner and will be adding a lot of value by then." This goes back to my original point - your first salary negotiation is hardest, because you are being hired on faith. Once you have proven yourself, the uncertainty of your performance is lowered.