Magazine article Security Management

Screening for Drugs In-House

Magazine article Security Management

Screening for Drugs In-House

Article excerpt

Rather than placing a "Help Wanted" ad in their local newspaper, many American corporations are turning to personnel service companies to recruit, screen, and hire new employees. In addition to identifying potential job candidates, these services conduct extensive background investigations that include everything from criminal records checks to drug tests. As the industry has become more competitive, many of these employee recruitment agencies have begun looking for more cost-effective ways to do business. One company, Will Staff, Inc., found that it could save $25,000 a year by changing the way it screened applicants for illegal substances.

Based in Monroe, Louisiana, the company has been in business since 1968 and currently operates its employee recruitment company out of 42 offices in 11 southeastern states. Operating under the name Snelling Personnel Services, the company has a diverse client base that ranges from small mom-and-pop operations to large multinational corporations.

When a client signs on, Will Staff employees place advertisements, then interview candidates and conduct a background check based on instructions from the corporate customer (some want a drug test, for example, while others do not). Based on the results of the interviews and tests, the company recommends the best candidate for the job.

For years, the company screened job applicants for marijuana, cocaine, and other narcotics by taking urine samples and sending them to regional laboratories, where test results were usually available within a few days. Corby Reeves, the risk manager of Will Staff, says the company was spending between $30 and $40 for each drug test, which translated into roughly $87,500 a year (the company does about 2,500 tests annually).

In 1998, management began looking for alternative ways to conduct drug testing, which had become too expensive. The company wanted a way to do in-house screening so that only those samples that tested positive for drugs would be sent to a lab.

Three or four drug test kits were sampled, Reeves says. Company personnel also talked with sales representatives and reviewed accuracy reports submitted by each vendor. The Rapid Drug Screen system from American Bio Medica Corporation of Kinderhook, New York, was selected. …

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