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Hair Drug Screening | Why some companies choose to drug test you as part of their interview process and which tests they may take | Elle Blonde Luxury Lifestyle Destination Blog

Why Employers Opt for Important Pre-Employment Hair Drug Screening?

Companies must take care of their affairs, as well as the reputation they have in the business world. The top-notch, professional, and highly skilled workforce is the main driving force of every business. As well as its best representatives in public. That’s why every employer wants to hire only the best candidates. Who fit into their vision of being a productive and representative worker. That’s why drug screening at work can often occur.

In addition to standard checks on business knowledge and skills. Every employer has the right to ask a job candidate to do testing on illicit substances. Most often, these are tests where sampling is easy and does not require any particular procedure. Such as a urine or hair follicle test.

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It is precisely what drug users are afraid of. Failing a pre-employment drug test can significantly determine their future. Fortunately, people came up with many methods for how to pass any form of drug test. Testing details are easy to find out, and job applicants need to know this information, to prepare for the screening. Hair drug testing, as seen in this article excerpt, is not a standard method. But some employers rely solely on this form of testing for illicit substances.

Accuracy of Drug Screening Analyses

We must emphasise there is no absolutely accurate way to determine the presence of illicit substances. Although the error rates for some methods are extremely low, they still exist. Also, there is always the possibility of incorrect sampling or the appearance of a false positive/negative test. All this leaves room for doubt about the validity of these tests.

But many employers will not go the extra mile for further examination. They just want to know if candidates are currently using opiates or not. And whether they are capable of doing the job they are applying for. In specific cases, when workplace accidents or some criminal act happens, and there’s reasonable doubt in the use of drugs. Companies have all the rights to insist on more detailed examinations, like a blood drug test.

Hair Follicle as a Sample

Lab technicians consider hair a reasonably relevant sample. Since they examine the specimen in two steps, the results of this screening are generally accurate. Drug metabolites found in hair cannot be easily eliminated, washed, or diluted in a short notice. 

Another reason why companies prefer to test hair follicle in the hiring process is that it can show continuity of use. Specifically, harmful particles can stay in the head hair follicle for longer than three months. Longer than in any other sample. That is why most employers rely on this type of analysis as an appropriate way of testing in the application process. For how long toxic particles can be detected in body fluids, check on this page.

Sampling Process

In terms of sampling, a hair follicle screening is considered hard to fool. Especially, if the sample is taken by a lab technician or one of the medical staff. You can’t use someone else’s hair instead of yours, as this cheat is easy to spot.

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In some situations, employees may take the sample all by themselves and send it for analysis. At home, it is essential to ensure that a sufficient number of hairs are of adequate length for the sample to be valid. Those in charge of the regular drug screening will guide job applicants through the whole process. It is up to them to find a strand of appropriate thickness. Cut it from close to the scalp, pack the sample into an envelope, and send it to the lab.

Process of Follicle Analysis

This type of illegal substance testing is relatively easy to perform if employers decide to apply it during the hiring process. Due to the two-step analysis. Many results can already be obtained during the first step, so there is no need for further testing. If the sample shows a negative result during an enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay test (known as ELISA). Lab technicians generally do not conduct further examination unless the employer insists.

In a situation where a positive result occurs after the first step. The next thing to do is gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). After the initial rapid check, the second method is more detailed. Lab staff apply it to avoid the possibility of a false-positive result. Which still can occur in a negligible number of cases. 

If the GC-MS analysis confirms a positive outcome. There is almost no doubt that the examinee took some of the illicit substances. But hair follicle analysis confirms only use, not the quantity or number of illicit substances. 

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People have the right to refuse drug screening. So here are the methods employers use to convince them to undergo testing: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/deal-employee-refuses-drug-screen-32265.html

The examination will be interrupted if the lab technicians, at some point, suspect incorrectness of the sample. The hairs can be contaminated, or of inappropriate lengths, or something went wrong during the analyses. Such things can happen, and in these situations, employers usually ask for repeating a drug test and providing a new sample.

Privacy of Results

If there is the slightest chance that job applicants will not pass the hair drug screening, one thing will ‘encourage’ them. These results will not be visible in any public file, nor will be part of any future background check. The outcome of the drug examination, both positive and negative will be recorded only in a separate medical file and only shown to need-to-know instances.

Confidentiality of pre-employment drug test is guaranteed, and job seekers are free to apply for any subsequent job without problems. The exception of this rule happens only when applying for jobs within the Department of Transportation. Since these are highly responsible positions, the employer should have an insight into the history of all candidates about (not) using illicit substances.

Employers often don’t care if someone is a recreational or heavy user. They want a completely clean worker, although some companies allow a specific limit of drug metabolites in the samples. People came up with various tricks to pass a hair drug screening. Just to be sure their weakness to this illegal pleasure won’t destroy their career.


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Laura is an award-winning entrepreneur with a passion for all things luxury. With a penchant for travel, her favourite destinations are Vegas and Ibiza. Catch her at the latest bar opening with a cocktail in hand followed by mornings in the gym. She dotes on her little Jack Russell, Ziggy and has an unhealthy Instagram obsession. Home interiors continue to grow as a passion and she absolutely loves shopping for all things fashion and beauty too.