The Most Effective Types of Pre-Employment Drug Tests

The Most Effective Types of Pre-Employment Drug Tests

Whether you’re starting a new job and need to complete a drug test, or you’re an employer with a fresh class of new hires, it’s important to know the different types of drug tests available to ensure each team member is responsible and safe on the job. Here’s a list of the most effective types of pre-employment drug tests and what they test for.


Urinalysis tests are one of the most common drug tests used amongst employers. They’re fast, accurate, and economical. As the same suggests, urinalysis screenings test the subjects’ urine for signs of substance use. This can include methamphetamines, opioids, PCP, cocaine, cannabis, and prescription drugs. Unlike the other common drug tests, urinalyses are non-invasive. They can also be completed in an off-site location. Most urinalysis tests show immediate results, but others can take days or weeks depending on the substance and length of use.

Hair Testing

Hair tests are another common drug test. Employers commonly use a 10-panel or 12-panel hair drug test to see substances used within 90 days, or sometimes longer. Hair follicle testing uses a small sample of a person’s head hair, body hair, or facial hair to show the use of various substances, like PCP, amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, prescription drugs, and opiates. Test results show within days. Hair tests prove an effective measure against users who withhold from drug use days before their tests, as it shows results from the past 90 days of use.

Oral Swab

Oral swabs are one of the most effective types of pre-employment drug tests to show signs of immediate use. It’s affordable and easily admissible. Subjects cannot tamper or alter their results due to the limited preparation. Oral swabs show substance use within the past 48 hours. Interestingly, it also shows signs of ecstasy and alcohol use, two substances not easily recognized in other conventional drug tests. Keep in mind that results show within 48 hours of administration with about 98 percent accuracy.

Blood Screening

Lastly, drug screenings use a sample of a subject’s blood to look for signs of substance use. Most employers forgo this option due to its highly invasive procedure. Blood screenings are still effective, though. They show recent substance use for cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cannabis, nicotine, and alcohol. While accurate, many employers opt for oral, hair, and urine screenings in lieu of blood tests for easier, less invasive, and still highly accurate results.

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