Can I Fail a Pre-Employment Drug Test And Still Get The Job?

Sometimes, employers and companies require pre-employment drug tests as part of their hiring practices. In some regulated industries, employers may even be required to perform a pre-employment drug test. Drug tests are common for certain careers like teachers and government employees. But what happens if you fail a pre-employment drug test? In most cases, if you fail a pre-employment drug test, you will no longer be eligible for the position. Whether you are an employer who is considering implementing pre-employment drug testing as part of your hiring process or you are a prospective employee who is concerned about your ability to pass a drug test, it is important to know about pre-employment drug screenings. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about pre-employment drug tests, including how long a drug test takes and what jobs don’t drug test.

What Is a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

A pre-employment drug test is a common practice in many professions and workplaces. Some employers require pre-employment drug tests as a condition of job offers. Pre-employment drug tests are screening tests given to potential employees as part of the pre-employment screening process. A pre-employment drug test protects the employer from potential safety and cost issues that might arise as a result of hiring someone who habitually uses drugs.

How Do I Know If I Will Have to Take a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Laws regarding pre-employment drug testing vary from state to state. For instance, many states require that employers give advance notice that pre-employment drug testing is required. Typically, it is required that employers list the drug test requirement either on the job listing itself or on the job application. (This is one reason why it is always important to read the full job description!) A state may also require that a job offer must be given to the applicant first before the drug test can be conducted. It is important to know your rights as an employee before submitting to a pre-employment drug test. 

The Importance of Pre-Employment Drug Testing 

More than 41 million Americans required treatment for substance use disorders in 2020. As a result, most companies want to know if prospective employees are abusing illegal drugs or prescription medications. Some employers also use drug tests on a random basis. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who abuse substances are more likely to miss work frequently, be late to work, change jobs frequently, be involved in workplace accidents, and file more workers’ comp claims.

Drug abuse can also be dangerous in the workplace. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, 65% of workplace accidents and up to 50% of workers’ compensation claims are caused by substance abuse. 

Pre-employment drug testing and routine drug screenings of employees can increase workplace safety, help employers battle high turnover rates (especially during the Great Resignation), boost employee morale, and save on numerous costs. 

Which Jobs Require a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Some jobs require urine analysis testing for hiring. Certain fields require mandatory drug tests or drug testing to a greater degree than others. The importance of drug testing for applicants and employees in certain types of jobs is fairly evident. 

For example, the U.S. Department’s Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance has state and federal drug-testing rules for transportation employees in industries including aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and more. Other high-risk occupations include social workers, health care professionals, pharmacists, firefighters, and more.

What Drugs Do Pre-Employment Drug Tests Screen For?

A typical pre-employment drug screen typically checks for the presence of the following substances: 

  • Amphetamines, including methamphetamines (meth, crank, ecstasy, and speed)
  • Marijuana and THC (marijuana, weed, cannabinoids, and hashish) 
  • Cocaine (crack and coke)
  • Opiates (morphine, codeine, opium, and heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (angel dust and PCP) 

Employers can also request that the drug test include other screens. 

What Happens if You Fail a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

If you fail a pre-employment drug test, the job offer will most likely be rescinded. 

Jobs That Don’t Drug Test 

If passing a drug test isn’t an option, or you have lost out on a job due to a failed drug test, there are some jobs that don’t drug test. For example, many contract jobs do not require a drug test, so perhaps a contract position is the right role for you.

How Long Does a Drug Test Take?

The turnaround time for a pre-employment drug test depends on the method. Both urine tests and blood tests typically take between one and five business days. A hair test takes between four and ten business days.

Drug Test Methods for Employment 

There are different types of drug test methods for employment. In the U.S., the most common drug screenings are urine, hair, blood, and saliva tests. 

Urine Tests

The most common type of pre-employment drug test in the U.S. is a urine test. A urine test has a shorter drug detection window than other kinds of drug tests. 

Hair Tests

Hair tests have a long drug detection span and can detect drug use up to three months before the testing date. 

Blood Screens

Some employees use blood drug tests to screen employees. Unlike a hair test, a blood test will also detect alcohol. 

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests are another popular method of pre-employment drug screening. They are non-invasive and can be collected on-site at the workplace. 

Other Types of Drug Tests 

If you pass your pre-employment drug test, great! However, there are other types of drug tests that you may have to undergo during your employment. Some examples include random drug tests, periodic drug tests, post-accident drug tests, reasonable suspicion drug tests, return-to-duty drug tests, and follow-up drug tests.

Find Your Next Job With Brightwing Talent Experts

The experts at Brightwing Talent Experts can help you navigate the pre-employment process and help you find the right position for you. We believe that you deserve to end each day at work with a sense of accomplishment. Our recruiters can help you find a role, team, and company you can be proud to work for. Check out our available positions or contact us today to begin a stress-free job search! Or, utilize our services to help you find the perfect person to fill that open position at your company.