Should job seekers list their vaccine status on LinkedIn and resumes? HR specialists weigh in


The federal mandate that companies with 100+employees get their workforce vaccinated or face weekly testing has implications for new hires and those doing the hiring.

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Employers in a number of industries are desperately seeking workers, and with the Biden administration’s mandate that requires companies with over 100 employees to get their workforce vaccinated or face weekly testing, this has significant implications for new hires.

There were 10.9 million job openings as of July, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, yet increasingly, the decision means job seekers will be asked about their status. HR experts are mixed on whether candidates should put their vaccination status on their resumes and LinkedIn.

“Vaccination status will certainly be a factor to hiring managers. If they already know you are vaccinated, they can check off that question and will not need to worry about getting that candidate tested every week,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.

SEE: Should companies use vaccine verification systems? (TechRepublic)

“It will speed up the hiring process if the HR department already knows in which bucket the candidate goes,” Challenger said. Talent acquisition professionals overwhelmingly check social media when vetting candidates, he said. If a job seeker has posted anything that conveys their opinion of the vaccines, the company will find it.

“It is more professional to be upfront about your status in your resume or on your LinkedIn profile than, say, sharing a meme,” Challenger added.

A recent Challenger survey of 172 companies nationwide found that 85% were experiencing trouble filling open positions. Nearly a quarter cited COVID concerns as the reason workers were leaving roles.

“Hiring managers are going to find out whether a job seeker is vaccinated or not pretty early in the process, and depending on the status of the job seeker, it will help or hurt their candidacy. Certainly, there are reasonable exemptions that hiring managers will take into account, but generally, at this point, a vaccinated candidate will require less work from a company,” said Challenger.

Vaccine status as a screening tool? 

“Being upfront about your status on your LinkedIn or in your resume will not only help the hiring manager but will help a candidate move more smoothly through the hiring process,” he added.

Challenger maintained that vaccinated candidates would have an edge over their unvaccinated counterparts.

But not everyone believes the decision to put your vaccine status on LinkedIn and your resume is cut and dry. Michelle Quinn Smith, chief human resources officer at gene therapy company Voyager Therapeutics, said the company is mandating that employees be vaccinated.”

Moving forward, Voyager will be requiring it for all new hires, Quinn Smith said. 

Quinn Smith is part of a group of chief human resources officers and she said making your vaccine status is not the trend. “Only 57% of companies were mandating vaccines and others were strongly recommending it, according to the survey I saw,” she said.

Tracy Marshall, senior vice president of Development Guild DDI, a nonprofit executive search firm, said she does not believe people should list their vaccine status on their LinkedIn profile.

“I believe that the issue of being vaccinated or not, and implications for being hired or for current employees, is best left to the employer and the individual,” Marshall said. “Candidates may choose to list their status on their resumes, but as of yet, I have not seen that with any resumes that have been submitted for our current client searches.”

While Quinn Smith lobbied against mandatory employee vaccines at her company, she said she would tell her kids to put their status on their resume “because it’s one thing that will give people an advantage. I think it’s tougher from an HR perspective because there are bonafide reasons you can’t get the vaccine.”

Even if someone chooses to put their status on a resume, “I don’t think it should be a screening tool,” she said. “It’s not something I would screen for,” and Quinn Smith said she would not select only those resumes listing a vaccine status. “I definitely think it’s something we’ll see more of, for sure,” she added.

Voyager Therapeutics is going to have an “upfront disclaimer to job candidates that if you work onsite you have to be vaccinated,” she said. “I could imagine a time where every company will have to make their position known on the vaccination.”

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