Secrets of the Job Hunt


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Employment Drug Screening

Let's say you are an employment-brand-aware hirer. You maintain a career website that includes information about the online recruitment and selection processes, with a view to increase transparency that – in turn – is aimed at positively impacting a candidate’s job seeking experience with your organization.

Let's assume also that in addition to the employment drug screening of skills, qualifications and attributes to determine a suitable match; candidates have to have a successful (pass) drug test as a pre-requisite to receiving an employment offer.

At this stage, you as employer are fully committed to a comprehensive disclosure of the details of your policy. This does not stem from a necessity to defend your practice, but rather to showcase the consistency of your hiring policies with the values and behaviors espoused by your organization.

In practical terms, the nitty-gritty about the employment drug screening does not have to feature on the career site itself; this might go in detriment of other important aspects of the selection process that need to be highlighted. Rather, the information online can point to contacts within the organization who can provide it on an as-requested basis (anonymously over the phone, etc). In this scenario, a request for further information should be construed as a positive outcome in terms of the company’s candidate engagement.

Ideally, the employer's recruiting policies would cover the motivation, reasoning and logistics of the drug screening process. This data assists hiring managers on a day-to-day basis, but is also the foundation for the interaction with potential applicants who show interest in the specifics of this aspect of online recruitment.

Broadly speaking, the information that can be covered on the site should aim to answer the following potential applicant questions:

* What are the reasons for the employment drug screening? What objective is being fulfilled? OR
* Why is employment drug screening important given the organization’s commercial context, legal and controls posture, its social responsibility stand, HR philosophy?
* At which stage of the process does employment drug screening happen?
* What are the logistics of the pre-screening process?
* What are the measures taken to ensure the individual’s privacy in respect to the screening results?

Similarly, the organization should be prepared to clearly respond to follow-on questions such as:

* What are the drugs that you test for?
* What happens if the test is not successful?
* Can I reapply for another job in the future if you were unsuccessful due to a non-pass drug test in the past?
* How can I reassure myself that information about my results remains private?

Things that you may not want to broadcast but prepared to act on given specific applicant situations are

* Practices concerning applicants contesting their results
* Re-testing
* The company’s policy on post-employment testing as a means to “double-lock” the original results that enabled an employment offer

By definition, none of the lists are exhaustive. They aim to address the need for preparedness, which arises from disclosure

And why do you as an employer want to be bothered with all this:

* Because employment drug screening is a touchy issue as it impacts on personal privacy and freedom

* Because there is a lot of fear and ignorance out there, which leads to prejudice and misjudgment of both individuals and companies

* Because you might want to answer if a candidate knocks on your door


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