A lot of things can affect an employee’s happiness, but some cities just seem to have happier employees than others.

CareerBliss recently unveiled its list of the “Top 20 Happiest U.S. Cities for Young Professionals for 2012.” This year, six California cities appeared on the list, with three taking hold of the top spots.

The list is based on data from more than 38,000 employee reviews completed between 2011 and 2012 by young professionals, or those with less than 10 years of experience, throughout the country.

Employees were asked to rate 10 key factors that affect workplace happiness (including: work-life balance, compensation, company culture, overall work environment, company reputation, relationships with managers and co-workers, opportunities for growth, job resources, daily tasks, and job autonomy) on a scale of one to five.

The 20 happiest cities include:

  1. Los Angeles, Calif.: 3.952
  2. San Jose, Calif.: 3.951
  3. Sunnyvale, Calif.: 3.950
  4. Indianapolis, Ind.: 3.942
  5. San Diego, Calif.: 3.884
  6. Irvine, Calif.: 3.866
  7. Atlanta, Ga.: 3.857
  8. Boston, Mass.: 3.845
  9. San Francisco, Calif.: 3.833
  10. San Antonio, Texas: 3.828
  11. Las Vegas, Nev.: 3.820
  12. Seattle, Wash.: 3.784
  13. Irving, Texas: 3.783
  14. Philadelphia, Penn.: 3.779
  15. Orlando, Fla.: 3.763
  16. Pittsburgh, Penn.: 3.743
  17. New York, N.Y.: 3.716
  18. Plano, Texas: 3.705
  19. Miami, Fla.: 3.679
  20. Houston, Texas: 3.679

If you need some help recruiting happy employees, check out PCRecruiter.

If you’re not using social media to complement your hiring efforts yet, then you’re seriously falling way behind the trend.

Earlier this summer, Jobvite unveiled its annual Social Recruiting Survey, which found that social media has become an essential recruiting tool for successful HR teams. Currently, 92 percent of companies are using social media to recruit new employees, which is up from 78 percent five years ago.

Survey results are based on answers from more than 1,000 human resources and other recruitment professionals who were asked about their social media recruiting activities and intentions.

Some key findings of the survey include:

  • LinkedIn remains the most popular social network among recruiters, with usage increasing from 87 percent in 2011 to 93 percent in 2012.
  • 66 percent of recruiters are using Facebook, up 11 percent from last year.
  • 54 percent of recruiters are using Twitter.
  • 73 percent of employes have successfully hired a candidate through social media, up from 63 percent in 2011 and 58 percent in 2010.
  • 89 percent of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn, 25 percent through Facebook, and 15 percent through Twitter.
  • 49 percent of recruiters have seen the size of their candidate pools increase since adopting social media.
  • 43 percent of recruiters think social media leads to better quality candidates.
  • 20 percent of recruiters say hiring through social media is quicker than through traditional channels.
  • 71 percent of recruiters consider themselves moderate to exceptional social recruiters.
  • 48 percent of recruiters always check a candidate’s social profiles.
  • 80 percent of recruiters like candidates who belong to professional organizations.

“The rise in social recruiting has allowed both candidates and employers an easier way to find the best match,” Dan Finnigan, president and CEO of Jobvite, said in a press release. “We continue to see social recruiting gain popularity because it is more efficient than the days of sifting through a haystack of resumes. It also increases quality referral hires, which our own data on Jobvite proves are hired faster and last longer.”

How does your small business recruit? Recruiting can be filled with endless requirements that can eliminate some of the dynamic potential of the process.

Taking a look at advice from Johnny Laurent, vice president and general manager for the Sage Employer Solutions business unit, there are “six rules of wise recruiting” that can help small businesses manage such an important process:

  1. Look back to go forward: Take a look at how your business used to hire talent. What did and didn’t work? These lessons can help you learn from the past, improve what’s broken, and move away from what needs to be forgotten.
  2. Hire for attitude, train for skills: Laurent advises businesses to observe the dynamic potential of an interested employee. After all, you can always train an employee on the changes in software, but their attitude toward work probably won’t be so amenable.
  3. Past performance does predict future behavior: Take a deep look at the prospect’s background and remember that “unclear answers from former employers shouldn’t be accepted.” Laurent also advises you to ask what the person was like in a particular situation.
  4. Become the employer of choice: The “number one recruiting strategy,” according to Laurent – is a goal that your business should strive to be recognized for in recruitment. When resumes start coming to you, Laurent says, you know you’re on the right track.
  5. Put them in the book – it’s important to keep a reference guide: Pay attention to who’s in your business right now. Keep tabs on your current employees and the directions they’re moving. You can keep tabs on your own organization as well as others.
  6. Hire hard, manage easy: Laurent uses this quote from Alan Davis, chairman and co-founder of Alan Davis Strategic Recruiting. If the right amount of energy is put into the recruitment process, the rest “is a breeze,” in Laurent’s words.

Take these tips from Laurent and use them in your own recruitment process. Blending dynamic potential and conventional wisdom, the advice merges the best of both worlds for organizational success.

Recruiting those really exceptional, ‘extraordinary’ people won’t ever happen if you stick to legacy notions of simply matching skill levels to the company’s job description.

What’s important is what Geoffrey James, a staff writer for Inc’s SalesForce column, came away with from a leadership conference attended by numerous “CEOs and sales execs.”

“How to Hire Extraordinary Employees: 7 Rules” is not a randomly acquired list; the thoughtful tips go beyond the traditional skill-matching process to incorporate a deeper understanding of the applicant’s desires, wants, and even disappointments.

  1. Define your “Extraordinary Employee” – This step requires you to focus on the successful employees in your organization and understand their “talents and skills.” Interview questions around these traits will bring out any skills and character attributes that look to be “exceptional in your specific organization.”
  2. Always be Interviewing – Instead of waiting for the day you need to fill that opening, always be looking ahead and creating an inventory by “interviewing candidates all the time.” Use this along with your social media channels – and email – as a way to find applicants who look like they have that something “extraordinary” to contribute.
  3. Ask Questions That Reveal Character – Don’t throw them the ‘ol soft-ball question, like “What was your greatest achievement?” Get deep-in-the-weeds with this one and ask them to bring up “achievements from grade school, two from high school, two from college … ” and make sure they can tie-in a business-related achievement as well.
  4. Seek People Who Have Overcome Disappointment – You’re looking for those telling and “defining moments” that show they possess resiliency, which is crucial to assessing how they will cope in your business environment.
  5. Don’t Confuse Success with Motivation – How many times have you heard that almost-cliché-type phrase, “self-starters”? Make sure the “self-starter” mantra is only working when heavily supervised.
  6. Hire for Attitude, Not Experience – Hiring based on the applicant’s past track record is not enough; instead you should decide if they have the right mojo and the right attitude to contribute to the company’s future.
  7. Get a Real Reference – Step away from the candidate’s resume when checking references and do your own sleuthing to find the references you need … ”rather than simply calling the ones on the … resume.”