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Will HR and Recruiters Need to Screen Their Candidates for COVID-19 Vaccinations?

Nurse injecting vaccine into an employee’s arm New Questions and Challenges Emerge for Recruiters During COVID-19

HR managers are now well aware that COVID-19 has challenged recruitment strategies, creating questions and concerns for hiring and screening potential candidates. The hiring process was already long and difficult before COVID, but now recruiters will have to consider a candidate’s attitude on COVID-19 and ask intimate questions regarding their health status and opinions on a COVID vaccination. Now with an immunization looming, recruiters are forced to dive deeper into a candidate's thoughts towards COVID-19, social distancing rules, and whether or not they plan to receive a vaccination once it arrives.

The views surrounding COVID-19 have been highly politicized across the globe, with some reacting with anger to imposed restrictions and lockdowns. How a candidate responds to questions about COVID-19 is extremely important, especially for companies that work with vulnerable sectors or the general public. Businesses will have to work diligently to protect their workforces and make tough decisions on screening candidates for their vaccination status and attitudes towards the virus.

Female employee wearing a disposable facemask at her desk When Work Can’t Be Performed Remotely

For many, work has permanently changed with the arrival of COVID-19. Some professionals can work from home and continue to remain productive despite not being in a physical office. The problem remains that many must perform their work either in the office or at a specified site.

Certain professions, especially those who work with a population that is vulnerable to the virus, could be faced with the tough decision between hiring a candidate that has been vaccinated for the virus and one who has not.

Construction workers, maintenance professionals, educators, and healthcare workers have no choice but to enter the worksite and be in close contact with other people. With the news of a vaccine arriving in 2021, business owners and HR managers alike face with a long list of challenges, including ongoing recruitment, screening, and vaccination that has changed the hiring process for the long run.

Many candidates are still opting for remote work offerings that allow them to stay away from large office settings and the mixed attitudes towards the virus. Recruiters might benefit from asking screening questions that reveal a candidate’s thoughts on COVID-19 to help make an informed hiring decision.

Empty office with computer desks and chairs Does a COVID-19 Vaccination Signal the End of the Pandemic?

A COVID-19 vaccination has shown a glimmer of hope that 2021 will be different from 2020. With a potential end to the pandemic in sight, business owners will have to decide whether or not to call their remote workforce back into the office. Despite the arrival of a vaccine, attitudes towards COVID-19 remain mixed, and mass vaccination is not a sure-end to the pandemic. Social distancing, extensive hygiene measures, and face masks are expected throughout 2021.

As for making a COVID-19 vaccination a mandatory part of a job offer, the fine print and legalities range depending on the state or province. Employers know that they have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workspace, but in many jurisdictions, employers cannot legally force an employee to get vaccinated. This is complicated even further when the role includes close contact with others or vulnerable sectors, as an unvaccinated employee could threaten the well-being of a large workforce.

Vaccination Policies Could Prove Complicated for Many Businesses

Employers who implement a vaccination policy will have to go to great lengths to justify it as a requirement for the role. Managers will need to consult legal resources and ensure that their policies clearly outline that these measures are being taken to protect the workforce. Retirement homes, hospitals, and healthcare facilities of all kinds have proven to be a high-risk work setting and might be an industry where an employer can force its staff to be vaccinated.

Workforces that are not vulnerable to the virus or do not serve the general public will likely find no legal grounds to force their employees to get vaccinated. In these work settings, employers will have to find creative means to implement alternative measures and accommodations for an employee that declines the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Alternatively, companies have free range to offer and facilitate the administration of a vaccine for staff willing to receive it, regardless of the industry. As death tolls continue to rise across the world, free vaccinations offered by an employer will hopefully encourage employees to trust public health measures and get vaccinated and contribute to ending the pandemic once and for all.

Buildings Navigate the Challenges of Hiring During COVID-19 with ISB Global Services

ISB can help any company, regardless of its size, navigate the challenges of screening and validating a candidate’s experience. Our solutions for HR managers include validating candidates’ identities to performing full background screenings, criminal record checks, and education verification. We can also assist with the sudden need for enhanced screening and hiring during COVID-19.

ISB is highly experienced in helping HR managers screen large numbers of candidates to ensure the quality of workforces. Contact us directly to learn more about our suite of HR-related solutions and take the next step into remote recruiting.
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