Pre-Employment Drug Test: Everything You Need to Know

Employers are looking to hire the best people for the vacant positions in their workplaces. However, judging an applicant simply based on their resume and/or interview may leave out important details about the applicant’s history.

Before confirming a job offer, most employers need potential employees to take a drug and/or alcohol test. This is a standard procedure for well-known and respectable businesses, and it is a common aspect of the job application process for any position.

When a pre employment drug test is necessary, the job offer is conditional on the applicant passing the test clean. In this blog, we have provided the information you should know about pre-employment drug testing and who you can contact for help with this critical phase in the recruiting process.

What is a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Many businesses have a pre-employment drug testing policy that they must follow before hiring an applicant. As part of the hiring process, potential employees might have to submit to a drug and alcohol test.

Understanding Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Before finalising a job offer, pre-employment drug testing is normally done at an offsite healthcare facility. The most common type of drug screening specimen is a urine test. Saliva, blood, and hair testing can be other pre-employment drug tests.

A urine drug test can detect a wide range of chemicals consumed up to five days before the test. Cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and opiates are just a handful of the illegal drugs that can be found in a candidate’s urine. If the employer requests it, the urine can also be tested for other drugs.

What are the Most Common Drug Test Methods for Employment?

Employers use urine, hair, blood, or saliva tests to undertake pre-employment drug screening. Let’s learn more about the most common drug test methods for employment.

Urine Tests

Employers all around the world use urine tests as the most common method of pre-employment drug tests. Typically, the job offered will be conditional if the applicant passes a drug test.

The applicant will have to submit a urine sample, which will be subjected to a preliminary examination. Before the results are given to the employer, a confirmation screen will be performed at an external laboratory if the initial screen confirms the presence of a drug.

Urine tests can also be used in random testing programs for current employees and when employers have a reasonable suspicion that a worker is abusing illegal drugs.

Companies might utilise urine tests to see if an employee has recently used drugs. Urinalysis is the only approved method when it comes to the legality of employee drug testing, and both non-regulated and regulated enterprises frequently choose it.

Hair Tests

Hair tests have a long detection range and can determine drug usage up to three months in advance of the test date. However, this method can only identify past drug usage and does not detect alcohol consumption.

A lab worker obtains 100 strands of hair from an employee or candidate during a hair test by cutting the sample close to the scalp. The test would be positive if the person consumed drugs during the detection window.

Blood Screens

Certain employers use blood pre-employment drug screening to check candidates and employees for unlawful drug and alcohol use. A professional phlebotomist draws a sample of blood, which is forwarded to a lab for testing

The results will reveal the quantities and types of drugs or alcohol in the blood of the employee or candidate at the time the sample was taken. Most employers, however, do not use this because it is so intrusive.

Saliva Tests

Some businesses use saliva testing as it is considered a transparent method with little to no tampering. The candidates or employees are monitored throughout the collection process, making it more difficult to dilute or adulterate the results. Saliva can also be collected on-site at the workplace, saving both time and money.

Saliva testing can reveal recent use in as little as a few hours and as long as three days. The sample is taken from the inside of the applicant’s or employee’s mouth with a swab.

Breath Alcohol Tests

When an employer suspects that an employee is impaired by alcohol at the workplace, breath alcohol testing may be employed. Also known as breathalysers, a special device is used to display the amount of alcohol in the employee’s system at the time of the test.

Things to Know About Pre-Employment Drug Test

Employers have access to a number of tests and can choose to test for specific substances or a broad range. Make sure you’re familiar with the many forms of drug and alcohol testing accessible, as discussed above.


An employee’s blood alcohol level can be tested using a Breathalyser. This is usually used when an employee or applicant is suspected of being inebriated on the job. A breath alcohol test can only detect current intoxication; it cannot detect previous consumption.


A blood test involves drawing blood to assess the amount of drugs and alcohol in the system of the donor. Blood tests are commonly used for pre-employment drug screens to detect prohibited substances. The following are the most commonly tested drugs in a blood test:

Urine tests are the most popular and widely utilised drug testing method, particularly for pre-employment drug screens. This approach is also utilised for post-employment random drug tests. Drug usage can be identified for varied periods of time using this test. Still, drugs can be identified for up to a month in most cases. The most commonly tested drugs in a urine test are:
Employers are legally permitted to conduct drug and alcohol tests in the workplace as well as as a condition of employment. As an employee or an applicant, you may refuse to submit to a drug and alcohol test but beware of the possible consequences. You can ask to see the company’s drug testing policy, including when and how drug tests are administered.

Conclusion

Pre-employment drug testing can help you avoid making poor hiring decisions that endanger others. If you determine that drug testing is in your company’s best interests, conduct thorough research to assure legal compliance and be open and honest with prospective employees about the process. The advantages of having a safer and more productive workforce outweigh the disadvantages.

Australia Drug Testing can assist you if you are considering pre-employment testing. We will help you determine the best test for your company’s needs, provide industry-standard drug testing kits, and provide information on testing regulations.

FAQs

Pre-employment urine drug tests commonly screen for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, methamphetamines, and opiates, with employers having the option to test for a variety of other substances.

Pre-employment urine drug tests commonly screen for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, methamphetamines, and opiates, with employers having the option to test for a variety of other substances.

  • amphetamines
  • cocaine
  • marijuana
  • methamphetamines
  • benzodiazepines
  • opiates
This will be dependent on the drug and alcohol policy of your prospective employer. Some businesses and industries have a zero-tolerance policy for positive workplace drug testing, with a first offence resulting in job loss. It will be at the discretion of your prospective employer.

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Australia Drug Testing provides quality drug and alcohol test kits that are simple to use, highly sensitive, fast, and reliable. You should always use products that are certified to Australian Standards to avoid device malfunctions which could cause a false positive.Our testing kits are sourced from the best products in the market to match your various workplace needs:

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