Companies Dropping Drug Testing or Lowering Hiring Requirements

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In today's job market, openings outnumber applicants by a large margin.  Out of necessity, therefore, employers are re-examining their application process and entrance requirements, and eliminating those that are not absolutely necessary, to encourage more new hires.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the labor participation rate in the U.S. is at an all time low.  It is unknown whether the U.S. labor force will ever return to its pre-pandemic levels.  Some blame COVID fears,  additional retirements, government welfare programs paying people not to work, etc.  

A few employers have gone so far as to only ask candidates if they are legally authorized to work in the U.S., whether they can lift the requisite amount of pounds required for the job, and work an eight hour shift.  Some have expedited the job hiring process, and as an example, United Parcel Services is making some job offers in as little as 10 minutes.  UPS previously had a two-week hiring process for seasonal workers, which now takes less than 30 minutes.  For some jobs, there is no interview at all, and applicants answer online questions and can get a conditional job offer in as little as 10 minutes.  Darden Restaurants has a procedure to allow employees to apply for a job and schedule an interview at its restaurants within five minutes.  Waste Management revised its job application so that now it only takes three minutes to fill out instead of as long as an hour.  Others are doing away with background checks.

One employer set up a hiring facility next door to a large retailer, with some success.  Another held a job fair, got a good turnout and utilized speedy hiring.  Some employers are reaching out to former employees, asking them to re-apply. 

Other employers have eliminated drug testing, particularly for cannabis.  Currently, 36 states allow for medical use of cannabis, and 18 states have enacted legislation to regulate cannabis for recreational use.  Some still test for safety-sensitive jobs, when the company is a federal contractor, and in post-accident situations.  

Even after hiring, retention is the next step.  As with so many industries, keeping employees for even 90 days is difficult, which is one reason that some companies offer bonuses for workers who stay on the job that long.

This is part of our December 2021 Newsletter.

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