Key Findings

  • 33% of hiring managers will automatically eliminate resumes that don’t include a COVID-19 vaccine status
  • 69% of hiring managers are more likely to hire someone who has already been vaccinated against COVID-19
  • As of August 2021, 63% of companies are mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees

The authorization of multiple vaccines for COVID-19 in the U.S. ushered in a new phase of the ongoing pandemic, providing people with protection against hospitalization and death, and allowing vaccinated individuals to return to some semblance of normal life.

It also raised a host of questions for employers, including whether they should require vaccines for current and new employees, and if so, how to confirm an employee’s vaccination status.

To gauge how employers are handling hiring in the time of COVID vaccines, surveyed 1,250 hiring managers across the U.S. this August regarding their preferences for seeing vaccine statuses on resumes, as well as their company’s COVID-19 vaccine policies.

Failing to put vax status on resume may get candidates eliminated from consideration

According to our survey, 63% of hiring managers prefer seeing a job candidate’s vaccination status on their resume.

Among all hiring managers, 33% will automatically eliminate resumes that don’t include a vaccination status. Another 32% will give priority to applicants who indicate on their resume that they are vaccinated.

Carolyn Kleinman, a career coach and professional resume writer, warns that these stringent new practices among hiring managers may have some negative consequences.

“Unless there is a clearly stated policy on vaccination status, asking up front for this information may be over-stepping boundaries,” says Kleinman. “Additionally, employers could be losing out on qualified candidates if they use that as a screener, as it is not common practice to include this information on resumes.”

Company vaccine policies may influence hiring practices

As of mid-August 2021, 63% of companies are mandating COVID vaccines for employees, according to the hiring managers we surveyed.

More than three-fourths of hiring managers at these companies (77%) say they prefer it if applicants include their vaccination status on their resumes.

At companies that are requiring employees to be vaccinated, 43% of hiring managers will automatically eliminate resumes that don’t state the candidate’s vaccination status. An additional 33% will give vaccinated applicants priority in the hiring process.

In order to solicit appropriate candidates, and not waste anyone’s time or efforts, Kleinman says companies should include their vaccination policy and requirements in the job posting itself.

3/4 of computer & IT firms want to see vax status on resumes

Industries in which more than half of hiring managers prefer seeing vaccination status stated on resumes include computer and information technology (78%), food and hospitality (69%), retail (64%), education (60%), and healthcare (60%).

“These industries may be leading the way because some, like advertising and marketing, are very client-facing, and these types of jobs tend to be done in ‘cube farm’ office spaces, where employees are close together,” Kleinman explains. “Others, like food and hospitality, healthcare, and education make sense, as those tend to be mainly in-person, with an inability to maintain proper social distance.”

7 in 10 companies more likely to hire someone vaccinated against COVID-19

Overall, 69% of hiring managers say they are more likely to hire someone who is vaccinated against COVID-19.

At companies with vaccine requirements, this number jumps to 80% of hiring managers.

Advertising, IT, food service top list of industries looking for vaccinated workers

Personnel in charge of hiring in certain industries are more likely to make a job offer to vaccinated individuals.

Those industries include advertising and marketing (83%); computer and information technology (80%), food and hospitality (72%), healthcare (71%), business and finance (71%), education (69%), and retail (64%).

Regardless of work arrangements, companies want vaccinated employees

Another impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many companies have shifted how they operate, with more employees working remotely, or in a hybrid in-person/remote model.

Among our survey respondents, 42% say employees primarily work in-person, 41% say employees work in-person and remotely, and 16% are remote work only.

Hiring managers at companies where employees work a hybrid schedule are most likely to want to hire vaccinated applicants (72%). At companies where employees work in-person, 69% of hiring managers are more likely to hire a vaccinated candidate. And even though employees do not work in congregate settings, which lowers the risk of COVID transmission, 61% of hiring managers at companies where employees primarily work remotely still prefer to hire someone who is vaccinated against the virus.

Qualifications still matter more to hiring managers than vax status

Regardless of these preferences, the majority of hiring managers say they are more likely to hire better qualified candidates, even if they are not vaccinated, over less qualified but vaccinated candidates, by a small margin (53% to 47%).

However, 34% of hiring managers at companies with vaccine mandates say they are “very likely,” and 24% say they are “somewhat likely” to hire a less qualified but vaccinated candidate over a more qualified but unvaccinated candidate.

Regardless of what employers are looking for, Kleinman says their intentions should be clearly stated.

“Overall, employers want to hire qualified candidates who will be an asset to the workplace,” she says. “If they have a clear vaccine policy and they are transparent, this should help both hiring managers and candidates. Candidates may not be vaccinated when they apply, or at the time of their interview, but if they are required to be vaccinated by the first day of work, that needs to be clearly communicated.”


All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,250 hiring managers were surveyed. To qualify for the survey, each respondent had to currently work as a hiring manager. Appropriate respondents were found via a screening question. This survey was conducted on August 13, 2021. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities.