Waiting for interview results can be tedious, but waiting for the results of a drug test can be even more nerve wracking. However, it is a precaution that most employers now take before hiring new employees, so many candidates will face undergoing a pre-employment drug test before landing a job. When a job offer depends on a candidate’s drug test, the wait for results may seem like forever. How long do results really take?
Factors that Effect the Return Time of Results
Several factors determine the duration an employer will wait for drug test results. This includes the type of drugs an individual will be tested for and whether the candidate in question is taking any prescription drugs that could end up causing positive results from the test. Before taking a drug test, inquire which substances will be tested for, and which prescription drugs could return in a positive result. If they take the time to understand the requirements and expectations, candidates will usually not have any problems with testing.
Results Affect Turn-Around Time
The turn-around time involved in receiving drug testing results will mostly depend on the results of the test. Supposing the drug screening turns out to be negative, the candidate will not go through additional testing. The results for such candidates are often sent to the employer within three days of testing. On the other hand, a positive result will trigger additional tests to clear the possibilities of having a false positive.
Legal Prescriptions Can Influence Results
It is vital for candidates being tested to disclose any prescription medications they have taken in the months prior to the test that might cause a false positive. In such cases, a candidate may be asked to provide medical forms as proof of legal prescription drug use. Following the initial drug test in such cases, the laboratory will run a second drug test to establish the use of legal prescription drugs. The second test is often performed via a gas chromatography as well as mass spectrometry. These methods leave less room for error, but do take more time to conduct. This test also examines results more closely, and ensures that the right amount of substance is in the candidate’s blood. Usually, this type of testing will take about four to five days.
Type of Test Impacts Return Period
The wait for drug test screening is often dependent on the type of drugs that are being screened for. Many employers will order a five panel drug test, which tests for THC, opiates, PCP, cocaine, and amphetamines. However, some companies may require up to a seven, or even twelve panel pre-employment drug test. A twelve panel test may take longer to return results than a five panel test, and, as previously mentioned, a negative result will most often be returned sooner than a positive one due to the needs for additional testing. Employers can also order a rapid return for testing, though doing so usually isn’t necessary.
Another factor influencing the return time for drug test results is the type of sample provided for the test. Tests conducted using blood or urine samples may have results available in as little as 48 hours, while results from tests using hair samples could take up to ten days. Again, regardless of the type of test, negative results will commonly be returned faster than positive ones.
If you would like more information about pre-employment drug testing, contact The Sedona Group Austin, located in Austin, TX.