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I recently interviewed for a position at a company that drug tests and it went really well. I am expecting an offer this week. When my recruiter asked if I could pass a drug test, I responded "yes", without remembering that I visited a country where marijuana was legal not too long ago and did smoke. I am at the point where I would pass a urine test but I do not think I would pass a hair test.

Obviously, I don't want to fail a drug test. Should I ask the recruiting company about the type of test that will be used?

  • Can you delay your start date sufficiently for this to not be a problem? Have you tried to research the company to see whether you can find out what type of testing they do? – Dukeling Jul 18 '17 at 15:08
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Let's assume you are right and that you will pass a urine test but not a hair test. Now consider all four possible options:

1. They have a hair test and you don't ask

Result: You fail the test and don't get the job

2. They have a hair test and you do ask

Result: You fail the test and don't get the job

3. They don't have a hair test and you don't ask

Result: You pass the test and get the job, with no-one being any the wiser

4. They don't have a hair test and you do ask

Result: You pass the test but potentially raise suspicion with your question

So in the case that it is a hair test, it doesn't matter whether you ask or not. You will fail and not get the job. So we only need to consider the case where they don't have a hair test. There is clearly nothing to be gained by asking when you're going to pass the test anyway.

Conclusion: Don't ask. There's little to be gained.

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    (2) is assuming the worst-case scenario. How do you know for sure that "I recently used drugs legally" wouldn't be considered acceptable and something they can work around? Anyone who says "no, sorry, that's completely unacceptable, I don't care under which circumstances it happened" is probably not someone one would want to work for anyway. – Dukeling Jul 18 '17 at 10:00
  • @Dukeling "I used drugs legally" is already a very bad red flag. If you went to a country where Marijuana is legal and used it there, there is a very good indicator that you are more inclined to use it again on your country (despite it being illegal) than someone who never touched the thing. "It was not a crime when I did it" will not save your skin if someone considers that a crime now. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Jul 18 '17 at 14:05
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    @Dukeling There is also another problem - you have no way to prove that you only used drugs there and don't intend to use it ever again. "I used it legally" seems like a really lame excuse, nothing more. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Jul 18 '17 at 14:08
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    @T.Sar Just because you consider using drugs legally to be a severe red flag and consider that an indicator that you'd use it again doesn't mean all employers think the same. – Dukeling Jul 18 '17 at 14:57
  • @T.Sar why would you be more inclined to do it again if you used it in a country where it's legal? Marijuana is not addictive. And it seems fairly easy to obtain anywhere, so people who are willing to do it illegally don't need to book an expensive trip to a place where it's legal. – Erik Jul 18 '17 at 14:57
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Do not ask what type of drug test will be used, provide the recruiter the same information you just provided us.

Hey Janice, When you asked about a drug test I automatically responded that I would pass it because I do not do any illegal drugs. However, I had forgotten about my trip to The Shire that I took from Jan 1 to Jan 10. In The Shire marijuana is legal and I did partake. I want to assure you that I do not do drugs when against the local law/customs but I felt that it was important to share this information with you since the aforementioned substance is illegal where I reside.

Failing a drug test without an explanation after you told the recruiter you would pass would damage your credibility with the recruiter and the company involved. Being honest and sharing that you did it legally should quell most concerns.

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