Human resources is the art of working with humans (hence the name). And anyone concerned with dealing with today’s humans had better be prepared to also deal with social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are now ubiquitous platforms that are not satisfied being confined to our private lives. So for streamlining your responsibilities at work, helping move your own career along, and more, here are 40 crucial pointers about incorporating social media into your life as an HR pro.

Recruiting and Hiring

1.Be careful in your Facebook screening: Legal experts are promising that the lawsuits are about to begin involving workplace discrimination by HR people who pass over job seekers because of something they say on a Facebook profile.

2.Don’t ask for their password: An alarming trend of late is employers asking for job candidates’ Facebook passwords. Not only is this potentially unlawful, it’s downright creepy and sends a negative message to the candidate. If you want to check their page, just friend them.

3.Choose your medium based on the candidate: In using social media to court a new employee, the channel should fit the position. So if you’re wooing a vice president, go with LinkedIn for its more professional feel; for a sales rep, Twitter works fine.

4.Know before you tell: What we mean is, if you don’t personally manage the Twitter account or Facebook page, don’t direct job seekers there unless you know the profile is up-to-date (and well-managed).

5.Use online tools to gauge marketing and social media job seekers: Services like Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex are great ways to verify that people who want to do social media for your company know what they’re doing online.

6.Have a “Recently filled positions” area on your website: Allowing job hunters the ability to see what positions at your company in their area of expertise have recently been filled lets them know your company is a good option for them once a spot opens up and will keep them interested.

7.Stay away from recommendations: “Liking” an employee to other employers is really easy with social media, but it should be avoided as it could open you up to liability for failing to disclose an employee’s negative aspects.

8.Master hashtags: Recruiting through Twitter is a cheap but effective way to connect with job seekers. Save them and you time by capping job posting tweets with combinations of carefully tailored hashtags that mention the job type and your company name.

9.Don’t forget about other social networking sites: Beyond the Big Three, there are many other social networking sites that are worth using in the hiring process, including and

10.… And keep an eye on your company’s online reputation while you’re at it: Social sites that allow reviews of companies can be breeding grounds for smear campaigns and even libel. Pay attention to what people are saying about your company and glean whatever helpful info you can from the criticism and take action to have libelous comments removed.

11.Don’t believe everything you see on social media: In addition to potentially breaking the law by checking a job candidate’s social profile, remember the possibility exists that you may just be getting duped. A phony Facebook page is easily set up and dummied to present a seemingly perfect job candidate.

12.Act fast to preserve evidence: This is almost in the lawyer department, but if you help your company win a lawsuit by staying on top of a former employee’s violation of a non-competition agreement, you’ll be a hero.

13.Keep thorough records: A good way to safeguard against a lawsuit regarding the use of Facebook screening is to keep detailed records on what you viewed and used in your decision. Also, stay consistent in those parameters.

Company Activities

14.Create a clearly-defined social media policy: If your company plans to permit employees to social network at work, you need to craft a policy by asking yourself questions like how you will monitor their comments and what constitutes appropriate behavior.

15.… And revisit it every six months: Your stance on sexual harassment is not going to change much in probably 10 years. However, social media moves fast and your policy will need to be revised regularly to keep up.

16.Comvince your CEO social media is vital: Don’t wait for marketing to take over your CEO’s public persona. Help him develop a social media network that feels authentic using your knowledge of people.

17.Create a Facebook group before a training session: Employees can get an idea of topics that will be discussed and gain a feel for the trainer ahead of time when you create a Facebook group or event prior to the session.

18.Start Yammering: Move those fun office chain emails to Yammer, the private social networking site for companies. It’s a great way to improve morale and give employees a place to joke and have a voice.

19.Don’t stop innovating: HR is just one more industry that is still learning how to effectively use social media. Make sure you continue to try new social media platforms as they come out so that your company stays a social media leader, not a follower.

20.Employ restrictive covenants: Get together with the legal department to create employee agreements that stipulate social media is important to the business and that accounts are company property. They will come in handy in a lawsuit.

21.Nix boss-employee friending: As the HR person, you have to be the buzzkill and insist bosses and subordinates not become Facebook friends, for the good of both sides.

22.Don’t try to do too much: Obviously social media is great, but it just looks off if you have too much going on using too many platforms. Find a balance between seeming transparent and welcoming to the outside world and just plain fake.

23.Take the resolution process offline: It may seem obvious, but never attempt to resolve conflicts with employees, potential employees, or customers over social media. Keep those interactions face-to-face or over the phone and away from the public eye as much as possible.

24.Post your HR training manual online: Take a tip from telecom company Telstra and go transparent with your company’s training guide. That way you can increase the visibility of your company values with the public and get helpful feedback.

25.Understand how social media has changed corporate communication: News of hirings, firings, and changes in policy no longer parcel out slowly from face-to-face meetings. A single tweet or post can mean everyone knows at once, so act accordingly.

26.Use Foursquare to develop your company culture: Encourage employees (and customers, if possible) to check in on this social networking site when they arrive at your location and leave a comment about what they love about working there.

27.That being said, don’t force participation: You’ll have to decide if it’s your company’s policy to insist employees fill out social profiles for your sites. But our advice is to stop at just encouraging it, otherwise it won’t have an authentic feel.

28.Take advantage of HR software: Programs like Compli are invaluable for helping you draft your social media policy or educate your employees on the appropriate use of different sites.

29.Take advantage of free software: Freeware like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck can also be great timesavers once you start using Twitter heavily. And best of all, they’re free (for basic services anyway).

30.Create an HR blog: A great way to let employees ask questions anonymously is to set up a blog with a private login. It wouldn’t have to be updated often but would be a way of addressing issues more than just the asker is concerned about.

31.Keep score with Facebook Insights: With this Facebook tool you can keep track of important metrics regarding your Facebook page, from how many times it’s viewed to the demographics of the people viewing it.

32.Don’t let employees use the company email address to log in: You don’t want dozens of update emails from Facebook about comments on a wall post going to the same place important work emails are going.

33.Start a YouTube channel: Create a place for job candidates, employees, and clients to upload videos with their experiences of working with or for your company.

HR Career Help

34.Link in: LinkedIn is a HR pro’s dream- people are looking for jobs, posting resumes, and generally doing all things networking. It’s a perfect training ground for you to do research on what kinds of qualifications are landing people jobs, what skills are trending, and more.

35.Share: If you’re seeking an HR job, don’t just re-broadcast material from other sources. Engage in conversations with employers or blog about HR topics to display your skills.

36.Join ConnectingHR: As an HR pro, you have your own social community already set up and waiting for your membership. Members say the networking and resources can’t be beat.

37.Use Twitter like LinkedIn, not Facebook: Collecting thousands of random followers like trophies doesn’t do much for you, just as having a thousand Facebook friends is nice but not super helpful. If, on the other hand, you cultivate fellow HR professionals as followers by tweeting on HR topics, then you’re helping your career.

38.Pay attention: The move towards “openness” in the online world is a great development for you. Use social media to follow other companies and study how they handle similar situations that you face at your company.

39.Join Twitter chats: One of the best features of Twitter is the Twitter chat, conversations at set times between people with similar interests. You can learn much and meet many by joining chats like #HFchat and #HRTechChat.

40.Use RSS feeds to follow HR blogs: Keep up with the latest ideas from your fellow blogging HR pros by following all their updates with an RSS feed.