College Seniors: Don’t Get Weeded Out of the Job You Want!

For over 50% of companies surveyed, passing a drug test is a required for hiring.

Last year I was working with a college senior client of mine, lets call her Lindsey.  She called to share that she was getting a job offer for a position she very much wanted. Lindsey was going to join a well-known financial institution and had worked hard to secure the offer.  She was home when she got the email making the offer and was reading it to me. But when she scrolled down, she realized that the offer was contingent on her passing a drug test that they wanted to set up in the next couple of days.  Lindsey was in a panic and, through a lot of tears, told me that she smoked a fair amount of pot – and OMG I don’t think I can pass the test!!!

I felt very guilty that I had not talked with Lindsey, or, my other clients, about drug testing. Lindsey was right – she couldn’t pass the test.  She tried postponing the test, but the company wasn’t having it, and eventually she decided to tell them that she got another offer. That was a miserable outcome.

The Facts About Drug Testing 

Here are the facts.  Over 50% of companies that were surveyed by SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) indicated that they made passing a drug test a condition of being hired.  The amount of time that marijuana stays in your system varies a lot depending on dosage and frequency. It can be a couple of days if you just smoke once, and up to a month and a half if you are a daily smoker.  

For those of you planning on working in a state where recreational marijuana is legal please understand that it doesn’t change anything.  Companies in those states still have the right to screen and refuse to hire a candidate who doesn’t pass a drug test.

Don’t lose a job this way.  Most of you are actively engaged in a job search – don’t pull a Lindsey. It is tough enough getting your first job so let’s avoid this potential problem.    

Back to Linsey, she did get another job, and a good one, but it took her 3 months and a lot more work.