Update: The deadline for federal contractors was extended to January 4 to comply with the vaccine mandate. 


The DoD sent out a reminder this week that all non-exempt federal employees, regardless of if they work remotely or onsite, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by November 22. That date includes the two-week waiting period for full vaccination effectiveness following the final vaccine dose. Of course, medical / religious exemptions are available but should be filed by November 8.

Some agency employees have said that they haven’t heard any chatter or much pushback, and offices have been pushing closer to the 100% vaccinated workforce. But take a stroll through the cyber streets and Facebook comments will shed some light onto the negative chatter and very apparent pushback to the mandate.

It’s clear that some percentage of the cleared workforce is not going to comply – however will recruiters deal with the staffing competition becoming even more stiff?


It’s similar to what they tell you in therapy (which every recruiter could probably benefit from). The only thing that you can truly control is you and your reaction, not anyone else (or vaccine mandate).

So, while it may seem like we’re beating a dead horse on the employer branding and recruitment automation, making yourself an attractive workplace for the shrinking cleared workforce, and finding tools to make your day to day easier is really the best thing you can do.

Recruiting automation takes some of the burden of talent sourcing, pipelining, and initial contact off of recruiter’s hands so they can focus on engagement with candidates. While these time-sensitive tasks become effortless, recruiters can spend their time engaging candidates both for the staffing short game (contracts that need people yesterday) and the long game (i.e., networking with military that may be transitioning down the line).


While the various mandated dates are important to keep in mind, with the expectation for contractors to be December 8, or for new covered contracts after that date, no later than the first day of performance under the new contract, it is clear that the federal government intends to come alongside contractors who are striving to meet the mandate.

“Where covered contractors are working in good faith and encounter challenges with compliance with COVID-19 workplace safety protocols, the agency contracting officer should work with them to address these challenges,” the task force said (pulled from updated frequently asked questions). “If a covered contractor is not taking steps to comply, significant actions, such as termination of the contract, should be taken.”

If the holidays weren’t already stressful for families, industrial recruiters will now experience those last minute extensions for proposal submissions right before the holidays along with new billets opening due to potential employee turnover. Recruiters: get the boxes of wine ready.

Read the full memo: Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 23) Revision 2 “Department of Defense Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination Attestation, Screening Testing and Vaccination Verification” to get the latest guidance.



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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸