Talent   //   January 19, 2022

Help wanted: Only vaccinated candidates considered

The job listing for director of public relations at Johnson Controls, an international facilities management company headquartered in Ireland, calls for the successful candidate to have all the things you’d expect of a communications professional. “Calm under fire,” experience working with C-suite executives and the ability to set strategy. Now there’s an added requirement: The successful candidate must be fully vaccinated by the start date.

It will likely continue to be a growing trend despite the Supreme Court’s recent decision to block the mandate from President Joe Biden’s administration that would force U.S. employers of 100 or more employees to require their staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or test weekly.

On the job site Indeed, 5.9% of postings include some description of a vaccine requirement, up from zero in August, according to Indeed data recorded on January 7. It’s a similar story on LinkedIn, where job postings requiring vaccination made up 4.47% of total U.S. job postings at the start of December. That’s up from .32% in August, according to an analysis of the data. However, the trend has likely grown with shifting medical standards  many companies were likely waiting for FDA approval before including it in job requirements; the Pfizer-BioNTech shot was approved on August 23.

“On LinkedIn, companies are being more transparent with job seekers when it comes to shifting workplace policies during this period of tremendous change,” said Rohan Rajiv, group product manager for LinkedIn talent solutions. “New vaccination requirements in job postings is one area in particular where we’ve seen a more than 140% increase between October and November.”

It’s that transparency that’s key. 

“If you’re going to require that everybody be vaccinated, you need to let them know in your postings because the last thing you want is to go through the whole process, identify a candidate, and find out later that person isn’t willing to get a vaccine,” said Barbara Holland, an advisor for the Society of Human Resource Management. 

Telling prospective employees upfront not only about a vaccine mandate but also when proof of vaccine must be collected by the employer, where the company will store that sensitive medical data and the process for requesting an exemption, are all elements that companies must share during the hiring process.

That’s likely why Lyft, the transportation sharing platform, started including detailed language in its job listings last summer that required its employees to be fully vaccinated — unless a religious or medical exemption was made — and that it would retain employees’ vaccination records and comply with all federal, state and local laws.

Lyft arrived at the decision after holding focus groups and surveying thousands of its employees. The majority reported feeling more comfortable returning to the office if they knew their coworkers were vaccinated. Lyft offices will fully reopen in February, but working from the office will be optional in 2022.

“We want to make sure we’re transparent about this policy to prospective candidates,” said Ashley Adams, a Lyft spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, many companies are doubling down on vaccine requirements. Nike employees who weren’t in compliance with the company’s vaccine mandate were fired this weekend, according to The Oregonian. And Apple recently announced that corporate and in-store employees must be boosted within four weeks of eligibility or submit to Covid testing before entering their workplace. 

WorkForce Software, which is based in Livonia, Mich., tries to avoid misunderstandings by being upfront in regard to Covid-19 safety measures. Since mid-December all job posts include this statement: “WorkForce Software, in compliance with the United States Federal Mandate, has a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. We are requiring all employees are either vaccinated or receive weekly COVID-19 testing. If you have questions about the policy please email us at careers@workforcesoftware.com.”

Leslie Tarnacki, senior vp of human resources at WorkForce, says that line won’t be removed from job listings any time soon.

“WorkForce Software will stay the course of complying with the original mandate as that seems to be in the best interest of our employees’ health and safety,” Tarnacki said. “We will likely default to what we deem best in keeping everyone safe and healthy as we optimistically turn this corner from the pandemic in 2022.”