Menu Join now Search

Pre-Employment Drug Test Tips

The tips that I am sharing below are ones that I learned the hard way when I went for a pre-employment drug test because what should have taken no more than fifteen minutes ended up being an over two-hour ordeal where I was stuck in the lobby with actual sick people and caught whatever bug going around. The last thing you need when starting a new job is to go in sick the first day and infect all of your new co-workers.

  • Call the place you are going to be tested. Confirm what paperwork and identification is needed, if you don’t have paperwork confirm that you are on the list and confirm the hours of operations.  In this case the testing facility misplaced the request and I waited in the lobby for a half hour for authorization for testing, could not”hold it in” any longer and relieved myself and when I informed them I would come back later they advised the employer was calling them back now and confirmed testing was needed. When I tried to give a “sample” I was not able to produce enough and had to drink 40 ounce of water and wait in the lobby for 1 hour and told I could not leave (they also had my drivers license and held it until the test was finished) before I could try again. Also, on a prior test that I took five years ago for a different job, the lab closed from 12–1 p.m. and I had to wait thirty minutes for them to open. 
  • Have the necessary ID and as little else as possible. The test prohibited having anything in my pockets or taking any items in the restroom.  It was bad enough that I had to fork over my drivers license for them to hold until the test was complete, but it was even more painful being forced to leave my keys and my purse full of my life on the counter with the nurse conducting the test. I would not recommend locking a purse or wallet in a car as it can easily be stolen (I and several co-workers had that happen at a company Christmas party)—if you know ahead of time, take only what you need and leave the rest at home.
  • Drink plenty of fluids forty-five to thirty minutes before the test. That way you should have enough to give enough for the required sample, but still not be too uncomfortable if you have to wait a few minutes in the waiting room.

Other tips I have been told in the past:

  • Indicate any prescription and over the counter medications taken recently. Indicate the name, the strength if prescription, and when taken recently as some can produce a false positive reading, but if they know what you have taken they can run further test to check and rule out anything elicit.
  • Don’t eat anything with poppy seeds in it or drink tonic water up twenty-four hours before a test. I was told that these items could result in a false positive. If you have consumed either within the prior twenty-four hours, you may want to ask the test administrator if this could cause any problems with the test.