Failed Pre Employment Drug Test
So you failed a pre employment drug test or you suspect you might? Curious about what comes next?
What Happens if You Fail a Pre Employment Drug Test?
The obvious part of the answer here is “you don’t get the job”.
If you’re not interested in the details of failing a drug test you can check out our guide on how to pass any drug test – better to be prepared for next time!
In 99% of cases if you fail the test you won’t get the job. I’m sure there’s been cases where the person hiring just hasn’t cared enough about it but that will be situational and I wouldn’t bank on it.
But let’s be honest you knew this part. Normally the question we get is more “will failing a drug test affect future employment?” or the more ballsy “can you still apply for a job after failing a drug test?”.
You’re not instantly black listed against further jobs elsewhere although that company might hold some kind of record on you. Technically (depending on what you’ve agreed to) the lab itself might keep something on file as well but it’s not like a Google search against your name is going to have “FAILED DRUG TEST” right away.
There’s no global failed drug test record or anything like that. It’s not going to show up on a background check in the future (unless it’s that company doing the check on you if they keep decent records).
You might get a chance to appeal. They might ask about prescription medication you’re taking which might give a false positive or something. You might get a chance to take a test again and we’ve talked before about passing a drug test in 3 weeks.
Keep in mind that the pre employment drug test is just the start however. If they drug test to start with they might randomly drug test you later on as well. You can look for jobs that don’t drug test and avoid the whole thing in the first place.
Pre Employment Drug Testing Laws
There is no legal requirement for an employer to drug test you before or after hiring you. I’ve heard of bosses telling people it’s a legal requirement and they either know they’re lying or don’t understand the difference between the law and company policy.
It’s not legally required but a company can still refuse to hire you if you refuse to take the test or fail one.
Maybe if they just don’t care enough or they think you’re worth the job otherwise you might be able to talk yourself out of the test. Bigger companies are going to have a lot less flexibility in this area. Rules are rules they’ll tell you but a smaller place where they can actually decide for themselves might not bother.
Stats have been published in the past about failure rates for pre employment drug tests. Obviously some jobs will see it more than others but if you fail a test you’ll certainly be in the minority and you might stand out. I’m not a fan of awkward conversations so I wouldn’t relish being told I’d failed during a second interview.
Do They Test for Alcohol in Pre Employment Drug Tests?
Technically? When they send the sample to the lab they can test for alcohol as well. Whether or not they actually will and whether or not this actually matters will vary by the job again. They’re not likely to breath test you then and there on the spot but it might be part of the sample test they do.
I’m not advocating you turn up drunk or hungover for an interview but failing an alcohol test is likely to not be seen as such a big deal. Despite all the experts and studies pointing out that alcohol causes a lot more problems it’s more socially acceptable and can usually be explained with a “Oh! I did share a bottle of wine with some friends last night sorry!” with no more being asked.
Failed a Home Drug Test?
If you failed a home drug test then, yes, it’s very likely you’ll probably fail a pre employment drug test. Depending on the company they might be using the same kind of thing. Heck they might even have the same home test pack. Others (usually bigger companies or if they outsource testing) will have a further test where they’ll send samples to the lab.
If you fail a home drug test you’re going to fail a lab test.