So, you’ve decided that it’s time to add a social media manager to your team. This addition to your staff that can give some consistency to your brand’s presence across the web, as well as freeing up your time to focus on running your business. However, it’s an important hiring decision that should not be made lightly.

This person will be acting as the voice for your company on some very public channels. We’ve already shared some of the traits that make for a good social media manager. Here are a few of the characteristics that should give you pause about a job candidate.

1. No Social Media Experience on the Resume

Spending five hours a day casually browsing Facebook or tweeting 20 times a day doesn’t make anyone an expert in social media. Review candidates’ resumes for some bona fide credentials.

Since the field is relatively new, there is no set career path that someone looking to be a social media manager should follow. You may need to do some sleuthing to assess a candidate’s real experience. Was social media important to the corporate culture of past workplaces? Has he or she written or read insightful articles about trends? Does the candidate know about the businesses running the popular networks?

A smart applicant will want to demonstrate that expertise clearly on a resume. If that experience is lacking, tread carefully. While it is possible that a bright person can learn skills quickly on the job, you will probably be better off teaching a new hire the details of your industry rather than helping him or her learn the social media angle.

2. Lack of Dedication

The responsibilities for maintaining all of a brand’s social media channels add up to a heavy load for one person. It’s entirely possible that a social media manager can feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks, updates, and responses that the job demands.

Someone with just a passing interest in either social media or in your business is less likely to have the drive to stick with a job that requires near-immersion in both. Make sure that you have faith in the candidate’s dedication to the work and that he or she is clear about your expectations for what the position entails.

3. Red Flags in the Cover Letter

The cover letter is just as important as the resume for judging job applicants, and social media experts are no exception. Take a really close look at the correspondence from your potential new employee. Are there spelling or grammar mistakes? What’s the tone of the cover letter? What’s your first impression of the writer’s character?

A job candidate uses the cover letter to put his or her best foot forward. The candidate’s attitude will reflect and represent your brand to the public. Just because social media is new, and frequently casual in tone, it doesn’t mean that traditional business savvy should fly out the window. A good cover letter should demonstrate that the candidate is, at the very least, professional. If the cover letter and your further interactions with the applicant don’t confirm that, keep looking.

4. Questionable Reliability

As mentioned above, this position essentially falls under the umbrella of public relations. We’ve covered some of the more prominent mistakes companies have made on social media platforms, from Twitter to Pinterest. Can you count on your new hire to avoid those problems and to put your brand’s best face forward?

References are the best way to confirm this character trait. If past employers mention that your job candidate was habitually late to work or frequently missed deadlines, that’s a serious warning sign. You wouldn’t tolerate that in your other employees, so don’t make your social media hire an exception.

What sort of warning signs would you look for in a social media manager? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: Christina Xu, Victor1558, star5112, Rutger van Waveren, Ben Onken]