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Should you disclose Vaccination status on your resume, LinkedIn, and interview?

Could vaccination be part of the job search strategy and hiring process?

Just like employers are conducting a credit check, driver's abstract, drug tests, asking for the police report during the background check, vaccination might be on the list going forward. It is better to be prepared than to get rejected during the pre-screening selection process without being informed. Vaccination disclosure/proof could depend on industries and the role on a case-by-case basis. I recommend career professionals ask questions during the initial screening process and be informed if the job posting doesn't outline the vaccination policy. Jobseeker can't assume that vaccination is not warranted in non-vulnerable sectors. With our clients, we found out that few of them have mandatory requirements, especially in the healthcare sector. Even though they are not dealing with the patients, they are in IT within hospitals they are required to be vaccinated.

Even though roles are remote, you might have to attend a few meetings in person/ meet clients once in a while. Employers are asking for vaccination proof. So don't assume that work from home has a leverage of no vaccination policy.

Job search is all about getting your resume and LinkedIn in front of employers to get the interview. You have an option to not voluntarily disclose the vaccination status earlier in the hiring stage. If you want to make things easy for both parties, you could play the game based on the demand and release the vaccination status earlier. There could be potential for discrimination for choosing only vaccinated people if the job description doesn’t outline the mandate. Employers have to think twice before weeding out unvaccinated job seekers. Employers need to provide accommodation. At the end of the day as a job seeker, you do you as everyone's situation and belief is different. Do you feel it right to disclose personal information?

The job market is getting competitive and thinking outside of the box to make it easy for employers is the key if you want that dream role. While it is a personal choice to disclose and only release the information when the time comes, it doesn’t hurt to place it on LinkedIn, Resume, and the cover letter strategically in my opinion, only if you are okay with it. A few recommendations are below:

  • On the Resume, you have an option to add either on the top below your name/ at the bottom. Just like you would add “willing to relocate” add “Vaccine passport available upon request” "willing to work from the office, fully vaccinated" "Flexible to travel, fully vaccinated".

  • On LinkedIn about section, you could give a hint "fully vaccinated” "vaccinated willing to travel and work for office". I wouldn't suggest updating the headline. That is the prime real estate and needs the right keywords, such as the title you are targeting. Post pictures of your travel, write content about travel, vaccinations etc ( be strategic without offending anyone).

  • Add the line strategically on the cover letter if you are planning to get vaccinated or get the second dose, perhaps provide the date as well when you will be fully vaccinated.

  • Do you need accommodation that falls under the Ontario Human Rights Code exemptions or Religious exemptions? add that in the cover letter/ application/ send an email out to HR. Most companies have accommodation steps. Follow that policy.

  • Bring the accommodation request during the initial phone interview.

  • Some people may decline vaccination because of a sincerely held religious belief. This is referred to as a religious exemption. You could request during the application stage/ cover letter/ interview if you are comfortable.

  • In an interview, strategically talk about the vaccination if the job requires lots of travel and work from the office. Slide it when warranted.

  • Don't talk about vaccination status until you are asked, this is the strategy if you are not okay with disclosure.

What could the future look like for career professionals and employers when hiring?

I wouldn't be surprised if recruiters/ employers start to use vaccination status as a knock-out question within the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) at the initial stage. I recently saw a couple of recruiters asking if their colleagues have implemented filters on the recruiting tools related to vaccination. Those tools could automatically reject the application if the answer to vaccination is no. The new feature for vaccinated might be implemented, to streamline the hiring process. Just the way employers are currently using the years of experience, legally entitled to work, educations etc. to weed out the "non a fit" candidate. It all depends on the industry and the mandate of the job requirement, how crucial it is to find someone who is fully vaccinated. After all, companies/ recruiters will not waste the time to go through piles of applications that do not qualify for the roles. So screening with knock-out questions could make sense with a clear accommodation policy. Employers have to follow health and safety protocols too.

What if recruiters start to use boolean search to locate vaccinated career professionals who are willing to travel/ work in the vulnerable sectors. We never know how the hiring tools and sourcing are used at the back end. There are thousands of hiring tools career professionals are going against. Career professionals need to use smart strategies to show up on the employer's search. If the job description is crystal clear on the mandates, disclosing the vaccination status makes sense before applying. Therefore, adding keywording on the LinkedIn profile and Resume might be a wise idea, only if you are okay with the disclosure. It is a personal preference.

The federal government released its mandatory vaccination policy for federal public service workers on October 6, mandating vaccinations for all employees in federally regulated workplaces. Employers need to be fully transparent as well on the job description and make it easy for career professionals to disqualify with self-selection. I have not seen the majority of employers disclosing the vaccination policy in advance but it is spiking up recently. Not everyone is willing to share private information in the initial stage without identifying the mutual fit. What I would hate to see is waiting until the conditional offer and asking for the vaccination proof, which is not fair to the candidates. Here is my advice, research if your industry and the role require proof of vaccination. Know your negotiables i.e. If you are open to travel internationally as per business needs, as most countries require vaccination proof. Are you dealing with vulnerable sectors, dealing with seniors and children?

Most public sectors require proof of vaccination and if it doesn’t work for you then pivoting might be an option. Have a backup plan based on your firm belief. Vaccination will be part of the hiring process. Start thinking about how to bring this up if it impacts you.

I have seen many job postings recently with full disclosure, the example below is taken from Rogers's website.

Rogers is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all employees, new hires, contractors and guests requiring access to its physical sites. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have put in place measures to protect the health and safety of the public and our team members. This includes requiring all new hires to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Where a successful candidate is unable to be vaccinated for reasons that are protected under applicable Human Rights legislation, an accommodation may be made on a case by case basis and in accordance with applicable law.

Please click on the link here to review conditions that may qualify for medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine.

My insights on the vaccination disclosure during job search which was first featured in Forbes Toronto Sun. Take a look at the edited version of this blog.

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The poll I did recently on to disclose/not to disclose vaccination status on Resume, LinkedIn, and Interview was an eye-opener. There was no consensus!

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