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When Do Employers Drug Test New Hires? (Updated 2020)

When Do Employers Drug Test New Hires?

The hiring process involves several steps put in place by employers to assess whether or not candidates are a good fit for the position. While this process will vary from company to company, it generally includes an application, multiple interviews, a background check, and in some cases, a drug test


Pre-employment drug testing is used to identify the presence of substances that can pose workplace safety issues and cause productivity issues on the job. But when are pre-employment drug tests given? Drug tests are typically one of the last steps in the hiring process before you become an employee.


Want to know more about when do companies drug test new hires? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Who Requires Drug Tests?

Before asking, “when are pre-employment drug tests given?you should take some time to understand what employers require drug testing. 


Private employers are not required to conduct pre-employment drug screenings unless the position is regulated by the federal government. Jobs in aviation, transportation, and defense are among the most common ones subject to these regulations. 


Many employers elect to drug test new hires even if it isn’t mandated to help combat safety and productivity problems at work. Employment drug testing is especially common in education, the medical field, in high-ranking positions that give employees a large amount of responsibility, and in environments such as warehouses and factories where safety is a priority. Government employees are also subject to pre-employment drug testing, particularly in positions that are related to law enforcement and national security. 

Drug Testing Laws and Your Rights

It’s important to note that when and how a pre-employment drug screening occurs can be dictated by state laws. Some states have strict laws that say employees must have advanced notice of a pre-employment drug test and may only be tested after an offer of employment has been made. On the other hand, some states allow employers to test potential employees and current employees with no restrictions.


If you ever have questions about your rights throughout the hiring process or as an employee, you can visit your state’s Department of Labor website to learn exactly what’s allowed and what is required of employers where you work. 

About Pre-Employment Testing for Drugs and Alcohol

Employers usually make it known that they test for drug use prior to employment early on in the application process. They may even reveal this information in the job listing, on the job application, or discuss it in the early stages of the interview process.


To conduct the drug test, you’ll typically need to visit a designated lab and provide a urine test that will screen for substances such as marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, and alcohol. Some employers test for additional substances like nicotine, quaaludes, barbiturates, and steroids as well. 


Once you’ve submitted your sample for testing, you’ll learn the results within a couple of business days. Clean results are usually reported quickly so you’ll be able to continue the onboarding process at your new job. If the results are inconclusive, you’ll be asked to return to the lab to submit a second sample for further testing. And a positive test may cause your new employer to withdraw the job offer. 

What if Marijuana is Legal in My State?

If marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use in your state, you’re probably curious if and when do companies drug test


Employers can and do still conduct pre-employment marijuana drug tests in states that have legalized marijuana. Since it is still illegal under federal law, federally mandated drug tests will still screen for it, and many private companies that follow federal drug testing procedures will screen for it as well. 


Even in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use, there aren’t yet any laws in place protecting applicants and employees for using it in their own time. This means that if you’ve used marijuana and test positive for it on a pre-employment drug test, the employer can withdraw the job offer. States that allow its use for medicinal purposes may have laws protecting patients who possess a medical marijuana card, so check your state regulations if this applies to you.

When Do Employers Drug Test?

So, when do you take a drug test for a job? Employers typically drug test new hires after a conditional offer of employment has been made. This means that you will have submitted an application, gone through the interview process, and received a job offer. But before you’re officially hired, you’ll need to pass the drug test. Failing a pre-employment drug screening will usually cause the employer to withdraw the job offer.

When Do Jobs Drug Test?: Other Instances

In some cases, random drug tests may continue even after you’re hired to ensure compliance with company policy. You may also need to take a drug test before accepting a promotion, changing positions, after a work-place accident, or if someone has reasonable suspicion of drug abuse.

Still Wondering, “When Do Employers Drug Test New Hires?” - Countrywide Testing Can Help!

While you won’t be asked to submit to a drug test until a conditional offer of employment has been made, you may still have questions about the timing of the screening process. At Countrywide Testing, we offer a vast selection of products and services that can help you understand the drug testing process. Contact us today with your questions, and we’ll help you find the answers you need.