Do they drug test?
May 15, 2007 2:13 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out if a company does drug testing?

I'm applying for a job, and one website I found indicates that the company I'm applying with does hair testing. How can I find out if this is true without asking the company?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total)
call anonymously and ask!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 2:21 PM on May 15, 2007

You could always try calling from a pay phone and just ask. Hopefully it's a larger company that is hiring for more than one position, so that they wouldn't be suspicious of you in particular. Otherwise, you've got nothing to lose doing this. Or have a friend call if you feel they might recognize your voice.
posted by nitsuj at 2:21 PM on May 15, 2007

You call up HR and ask if they do hair testing, from a number that is not traceable to you. Most HR people I know are not Nazis and will gladly give such information.

If you are really paranoid, have an opposite gender friend call up and ask. You can be elaborate and make up a story about doing research for a paper, but I would think this is unnecessary and anything that would have the HR people remember the call would be a bad thing.

You should have included the company, someone here could have told you for sure. There is no way to know for sure without contacting the company.
posted by geoff. at 2:22 PM on May 15, 2007

If the company is Anheuser-Busch or any of the casinos in the greater St. Louis metro area, the answer is yes.

Psychemedics is the only company that does hair analysis. You can probably call them at the number on this page and ask if x business is one of their clients.

Also, there is no beating a hair test. If you shave your head, they will take your pubes. If you shave your pubes, they will cut your nails. Some employers will fail you on the spot if you make it impossible for them to take a sample. Some will send you home and tell you to come back in 6 weeks with enough growth to test. Soaking your head in gasoline, lye, bleach, vinegar, etc will not help. The magic 50.00 root clean shampoo is useless. They can test up to 90 days back for coke, amphetamines, narcotics, weed, and dust(!). Seriously, dust.

Grr. Just writing about this pisses me off. I turned down a 5 year contract offer with A-B over this issue 4 years ago. I still have the form for the testing somewhere.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:03 PM on May 15, 2007

Re, the shampoos. Friends of mine have used these successfully. However, that's after a few weeks of relative inactivity, and the shampoos are allegedly quite unpleasant and harsh.
posted by treepour at 3:52 PM on May 15, 2007

Bear in mind that the company has no real reason to lie about this. In particular, if they do test, it'll be in their best interest to let you know so that they don't waste the time and effort it takes to do an interview — and the expense of the test itself — on someone who is guaranteed to fail.

So yeah, it's a good idea to hide your identity when you ask, but odds are you can trust what they tell you.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:19 PM on May 15, 2007

just to contradict pieoverdone, a hair test can be beaten under the right circumstances. if one has lighter colored, fine hair, one can, though a lot of washing, get most of what they are looking for out. takes a week or two, and it involves washing your hair ... a lot.
posted by lester at 5:27 PM on May 15, 2007

Why does it matter?

Continue the application process. If they want to test you, tell them you're not comfortable with that. If they say the test is required, you don't want to work there anyway, and you've hopefully gotten some good interviewing experience for your next job.
posted by charlesv at 6:33 PM on May 15, 2007

Also, there is no beating a hair test.

No help other than anecdotal: I have a friend who just applied with a Very Well-Known IT Consultancy in Dallas, and they did a hair test. She had smoked marijuana three weeks prior and wasn't terribly worried about a UA, then found out it was to be a hair test instead and freaked out -- but somehow passed it.

So, while every body processes chemicals differently, IANAD, etc etc, some people beat hair tests who clearly should not.

I like geoff.'s idea of having a friend of the opposite gender call up and ask HR, and I agree with nebula that a company isn't going to hide the fact that they hair test -- filtering a problem before they have to pay money for it is preferable.
posted by pineapple at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2007


Your assuming that because she passed, the test did not show the pot in her system.

Thats not logical thinking. There could be other reasons she passed. Maybe they only searched for "harder" drugs or maybe she got lucky and someone messed up done the line.

Unless you have more info that she knows pot WAS tested its not accurate to say she "beat" the test.

I dunno if you can get over on these things or not, nor am I trying to argue, I just thought I'd point out the other possibilities
posted by crewshell at 7:51 PM on May 15, 2007

I don't understand the level of paranoia exhibited in this thread.

really? he's worried about the perception and rightfully so. that's the problem with these tests, they turn the assumption of innocence on its head.
posted by krautland at 10:34 PM on May 15, 2007

Your assuming that because she passed, the test did not show the pot in her system. ...Thats not logical thinking. ...its not accurate to say she "beat" the test.

I didn't assume anything; I merely said that "some people beat the hair test who clearly should not." I disagree that the more logical answer here is that this huge prominent consulting firm would hire someone for an entry-level position even after she failed their drug test, or that they instruct the testing facility to disregard marijuana positives.

Mistake on behalf of the testing facility is a possibility, I'm sure, but it still would contribute to the idea that it's possible to beat the test. Maybe the loophole isn't physical... but my point is merely that someone I know got hired though she had recently smoked pot, so the hair test isn't 100% foolproof.

And yeah, I'd say that "getting hired three weeks after smoking out" constitutes "beating the test." Your opinion on the semantics may vary.
posted by pineapple at 7:04 AM on May 16, 2007

The thing about the Psychemedics form is that all 5 drugs I mentioned are not tested for in every case. On the form there is a checkbox for 30, 60, and 90 days for the length of time to test for as well as checkboxes next to cocaine, amphetamines, marijuania, opiates, and PCP. Marijuana could be disregarded before the test is even taken. The prospective employee has to take the test form to the facility so it is not a surprise what they are being tested for and for how long since use.
posted by pieoverdone at 7:48 AM on May 16, 2007

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