How a Pre Employment Drug Test Can Stop You Hiring the Wrong Applicant and Save You Money

pre employment drug test

There’s one big reason we all drug test our employees – we don’t want them high or coming down from a high on the job.

But did you know that there are a range of benefits, including avoiding accidents and fatalities related to workplace drug use? It’s true.

You could come to work one day to find your star employee (who you didn’t drug test) dead on the scene.

On that positive note, let’s look at why spending the $50 – $70 on a pre employment drug test is more than worth your investment.

It could be the difference between never having to file a workers comp claim and that becoming your new reality.

Get more information in the drug-free guide below.

What Do Pre Employment Drug Tests Look For?

When you order a drug test, there are levels of tests. They range in what they test, the more drugs they look for, the more expensive the test.

The test you choose depends on what kind of usage you care about, along with your budget.

The standard test is for alcohol and marijuana usage. However, in the middle of the opioid crisis, more employers are looking for heroin and pill usage.

There are different types of tests too. A urine test is the most common and the cheapest. But, it can only test for results for so long. The most you’ll get out of a urine test is results from maybe a month back.

Here’s a quick guide to the types of drug tests and the drugs they test for.

Urine Tests

The most common test screens for alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, & cigarettes.

Blood Tests

A blood test can tell current and past use from the remnants of drugs available in the blood. They can test for things like cocaine, nicotine, alcohol, methamphetamines, and opiates.

Mouth Swab Tests

Saliva tests are the least accurate, but the cheapest. They only capture drug use from the last two or three days and day-of-test use. But, they’re cheap and quick to process.

Hair Tests

The longest of all the tests, hair tests can capture three months back from the day of testing. To do a hair test, you do actually lose a small patch of hair.

Technicians cut 100 strands of hair, usually by creating a tiny ponytail at the scalp. The hair isn’t pulled out, so there’s no pain involved.

Hair tests don’t capture alcohol use, but they capture pretty much everything else. That includes cocaine, weed, heroin, and opiates. methamphetamine and phencyclidine (PCP).

Benefits of Drug Testing

When you hire a new employee, you’re putting a lot of faith and money behind that choice. They may have access to your finances, your data, and your building.

High Productivity Levels

When your employee uses drugs in the workplace or comes to work after a night of drug use, they don’t get much done.

Some people can go through withdrawal symptoms at their desk, leading to multiple trips to the bathroom and low work volume.

Other people won’t come to work at all after a long night of drug or alcohol usage, leading to no-call no-shows. You lose money when an employee doesn’t show up since their work doesn’t get done.

You also spend precious time scrambling to find people to cover for them.

At the very least, your employees will waste time and concentration thinking about their drug use.

Worst case scenario, people will use drugs at work – even sell them on their breaks or worse, at their desk!

People who know they can be randomly drug tested at any time are less likely to use – and more likely to be productive.

Prevents Need to Sponsor Substance Recovery

If you have an employee that has an undetected or develops a drug problem, you may be on the hook for their recovery.

Recovery programs are expensive, you’re looking at around three thousand dollars per employee – and that’s if they only go once.

It Deters Drug Users

Saying that you’re a drug-free workplace and insisting on a pre employment drug test stops drug users from applying in the first place.

That means you don’t need to worry (so much) about random and continuing drug tests.

Every employer should reserve the right to drug test employees if you suspect something. This is usually written into the employment contract and you can decide what you consider suspicious.

This is a point you need to make sure they read in the contract and sign a consent to be continuously tested.

Communicating Drug Testing Practices

You don’t need to tell potential employees that you drug test pre employment at the first interview. Don’t even mention it until you have a final pool of applicants.

For most people, drug testing is part of the onboarding process. They schedule drug testing before someone starts the job, but after the job offer is made.

Most people don’t schedule the first shift or give employees the green light for the first day before the results come back.

The things you want to test for depends on your organization and your personal values.

Now that states are legalizing recreational marijuana it makes things a little trickier for employers. Yes, you can still consider marijuana an illegal substance – since that’s what the federal government considers it.

If you don’t consider it illegal, that is, that it doesn’t bar employment, let your employees know. This is a new avenue for all of us and will be for probably the next 10 years.

Want to know how to read a drug test cup in case you need to test yourself (for science or reference) or a future child? Not a bad idea!

Testing Your Employees

Finally, knowing what you want to do for your employee’s drug use is a personal decision. If you’re a small business owner, think about what drugs you consider as a bar for employment.

Then, communicate with your (almost) employee about your pre employment drug test policy.

We’ll leave you with this final tip – if someone asks about the drug policy before you bring it up, that’s a bad sign. Maybe they’re just being thorough, but more likely they’re looking to buy themselves some time so they can stop using.

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