Mandatory drug tests aren't usually the highlight of any job application process, but they are necessary in professions in which lucidity, problem-solving, technical or mechanical skills are required. As an employer, you might choose to outsource drug testing so you don't have to hire full- or part-time employees to perform the tests. Off-campus testing might also put potential or current employees at ease, so they don't feel like everyone in the office knows about their drug tests.
Drug tests require medical lab work to determine the presence of legal drugs, illegal drugs and toxicity levels. Outsourcing drug testing procedures often makes it easier on employers since they don't have to preserve and ship samples to laboratories. Unless the company is large enough to sustain its own nurses, technicians or lab facilities, having employees test at drug testing centers better ensures that samples will be accurate and won't be compromised. Some job applicants and employees might even try to cheat the system by altering their samples. Small- to medium-sized companies aren't likely to set up in-house departments complete with drug testing coordinators, and larger companies might discover that working with a third party is a better use of company time and funds, according to the "American Drug Testing" newsletter.
Outsourcing is often a better financial option, and employers don't want to miss out on the savings. According to the "American Drug Testing" newsletter, "Outsourcing a drug testing program can save money because the employer doesn't need to increase her overhead." Even if your company pays the fees associated with drug tests, it can use one source to take the tests, perform the lab work and process the results. In addition, administrative responsibilities, such as creating reports and issuing findings, are done by the outsourcing agency.
Even though employers can establish procedures for protecting the confidentiality of job candidates and employees, it's fairly obvious what a worker is doing when she heads to the testing room. She might be sitting in the drug-testing waiting room with co-workers or have to enter and exit the bathroom, carrying her sample, with everyone watching. Some of those situations still apply at outsourcing facilities, but most don't have to interact with people they already know. Off-campus testing is often less intimidating, especially for those who find testing procedures embarrassing.
Employers who outsource drug testing don't have to worry about false accusations, integrity issues or objectivity concerns. According to the Drug Free Sport website, professional collectors and testers are neutral parties who don’t know the workers or candidates personally. As a result, they have no biases and don't have to risk the appearance of impropriety. As an employer, you never want job applicants or employees to feel that you are playing favorites or are requiring drug tests for some, and not for others. Outsourcing drug tests allows you to keep everyone on the same playing field.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.