Do Temp Agencies Drug Test?

Do Temp Agencies Drug Test?


Temp agencies may choose to perform a drug test if the contracting company or client is required by law to test employees depending on the safety and sensitivity of the position being filled.  

Temp agencies act as a valuable mediator between the employee and employer and aid in the screening process. Learn more about the various drug testing procedures used by temp agencies and the criteria for conducting a drug test.

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What is a Temp Agency?

Temp agencies are staffing agencies that help companies source temporary employees. Vice versa, they help prospective employees find a temporary job. 

Companies require temp agencies to find quality candidates in no time. Temp agencies update their candidate database regularly and have a pre-existing candidate database.

If not for temp agencies, companies would have to market their job posting, conduct and shortlist candidates themselves. It can take about 40 days to find candidates without the help of a temp agency. Temp agencies, therefore, save the company time and reduce the cost involved in recruiting and hiring. 

How Is A Temp Agency Different From A Staffing Agency?

Temp agencies function very differently from traditional staffing agencies. Staffing agencies target companies and individuals searching for a specific type of employee whereas temp agencies primarily focus on businesses that have immediate need for workers. 

Staffing agencies may take short-term assignments, but their ultimate goal is to find long-term employment for the referred worker. A temp agency will provide workers to a company and does not remain in contact with the worker after their assignment. 

Another difference between staffing agencies and temp agencies is that staffing agencies cover the cost of worker benefits, and a temp agency will only cover their salaries. In addition to the different fees associated with each agency, temp agencies are not responsible for worker insurance or taxes.

What Jobs Are There In Temporary Employment Agencies?

Temp jobs are available in all industries, from health to construction and retail, and any other industry. 

Here are some of the fields that temp agencies provide temporary workers for:

  • Accountants and Auditors 
  • Data Entry Workers 
  • Computer Systems Analysts 
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Management Consultants 
  • Medical And Health Care Workers 
  • Truck And Delivery Drivers
  • Secretaries And Administrative Assistants 
  • Technicians
  • Sales Representatives 

How do Temp Agencies Work?

  1. Companies require the services of a temp agency when they have a vacant post to fill. 
  2. Based on the job requirements, the agencies look at their databases to determine a good fit. If your skills and experience levels match the company requirements, you shall be assigned the role of a temporary employee.
  3. The temp agency will schedule your interview with the company. Once assigned to the post, you shall be given a work schedule, pay scale, and a timeframe for the job. 
  4. Although you work for the company as an employee, you represent the temp agency. This means that your paychecks go to the agency. 
  5. Once the time frame of your post expires, you work with the agency to find a different job. 
  6. The agency assigns another job for you with some downtime between jobs. The downtime between jobs is dependent on the agency, your skills, and your location, among other factors. 

What Type of Drug Testing do Temp Agencies Use?

Temp agencies typically use various types of drug testing to ensure a safe and productive work environment. The specific type of drug testing can vary among agencies, but common methods include:

  • Urine Drug TestThis is one of the most common methods. It detects the presence of drugs or their metabolites in the urine and is generally cost-effective and non-invasive.
  • Pre-Employment Drug Screen: Many temp agencies conduct pre-employment drug screenings as part of the hiring process to ensure that candidates meet the required standards.
  • 5-Panel or 10-Panel Drug Test: These tests check for the presence of a specific number of commonly abused substances. A 5-panel test, for example, typically screens for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and PCP.
  • Hair Follicle Test: Hair follicle testing provides a longer detection window compared to urine tests. It can detect drug use over a period of several months.
  • Saliva Drug Test: Saliva testing is less common but is gaining popularity due to its non-invasiveness. It can detect recent drug use.

The choice of drug testing method may depend on the industry, regulations, and the nature of the job. It's essential for temp agencies to comply with local laws and regulations while implementing drug testing policies.

Do Temp Agencies Drug Test on Their First Interview?

No. Temp agencies do not usually test for drugs in the first interview. They require you to get a job offer from the company first. Following the job offer, you need to undergo a pre-employment screening in addition to an experience verification and background check for criminal records. 

Some temp agencies may include drug testing as part of the initial screening process, while others may wait until a later stage, such as after a conditional job offer has been extended.

The decision to conduct drug testing during the first interview or at a later stage often depends on several factors, including the agency's policies, the nature of the job, and local regulations. 

In safety-sensitive industries or positions, drug testing may be a standard part of the hiring process, and it could be administered early on.

Do Temp Agencies Drug Test On-Site?

Temp agencies that conduct on-site drug testing may follow different procedures, and whether they order drug tests online depends on their specific processes. Here's a breakdown of how on-site drug testing might work:

  • Mobile Testing Services: Some temp agencies partner with mobile testing services. These services bring the necessary equipment and trained professionals to the agency's location. This can include urine drug test kits, breathalyzer tests, or other relevant testing methods.
  • Online Ordering and Coordination: In some cases, temp agencies may utilize online platform to order drug tests. They may coordinate with testing providers through online portals, which can streamline the process of scheduling on-site testing. This online coordination may involve specifying the type of test, the number of panels, and other relevant details.
  • On-Site Collection and Analysis: The on-site drug testing process typically involves collecting samples (such as urine or saliva) from candidates at the agency's location. The collected samples may then be analyzed on-site or sent to a laboratory for testing, depending on the agency's setup.

It's essential for candidates to inquire about the specific on-site drug testing procedures when applying for positions through a temp agency. This information can help candidates prepare for the testing process and understand any specific requirements or instructions provided by the agency.

What Happens if I Fail My Temp Agency Drug Test?

If you fail a drug test conducted by a temp agency, the consequences can vary based on the agency's policies, the nature of the job, and local regulations. Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Job Offer Withdrawal: In many cases, if a candidate fails a drug test, the temp agency may choose to withdraw a job offer. This decision is often based on the agency's commitment to ensuring a safe and drug-free workplace, especially in industries where safety is a critical concern.
  • Placement on Hold: The agency might choose to place your candidacy on hold or suspend further consideration for job placements until you can demonstrate compliance with drug-free policies. This could mean a delay in potential job opportunities through that specific agency.
  • Educational Programs or Re-Testing: Some temp agencies may provide candidates with the opportunity to complete drug education programs or undergo rehabilitation before reconsidering their eligibility. In certain cases, the agency might allow re-testing after a specified period.
  • Permanent Disqualification: Depending on the agency's policies and the severity of the situation, failing a drug test may result in permanent disqualification from employment with that agency.

It's crucial to review the temp agency's drug testing policy, as this can provide insight into the potential outcomes. Additionally, local regulations and laws may impact the agency's actions in response to a failed drug test.

If you find yourself in this situation, it's advisable to communicate openly with the agency to understand their specific policies and explore any potential avenues for resolution or reevaluation.

What Are The Best Temp Agencies In The United States?

Many top temp agencies in the United States cater to various industries. Some of the leading temp agencies in the US include:


The Randstad Group is an international temporary work agency that serves more than 20 million people. Randstad offers temp jobs in various fields, from engineering and finance to sales and marketing. Randstad is considered to be the largest staffing firm in the world. 

Kelly Services:

Kelly Services has been operating since 1946, providing temp work for workers in various fields, including accounting, IT, administration, and healthcare. Kelly Services has over one hundred offices nationwide and has been named one of Fortune magazine's Top 100 Companies to Work for. 


Manpower is a global talent solutions organization that partners with companies of all sizes to find and hire the best talent solutions. Manpower provides temporary staffing services for various industries, including their most extensive client base for retail, hospitality, and healthcare. 


Adecco Group is a global leader in recruitment and HR services that serves more than 64,000 clients and 2.6 million associates through its 4500 offices worldwide. Adecco's staffing services include temporary staffing, permanent placement solutions, project work, contingent workforce development, outsourced HR solutions, and consulting services. 

Robert Half :

Robert Half is one of the leading staffing agencies in the US. The Robert Half Group has been providing temporary workers to companies since 1948 and has more than 46,000 clients worldwide. Robert Half developed from a small business into a multinational staffing agency that services companies located in nearly twenty countries.

There are many temp agencies that hire felons. But they do drug test their employees and have certain policies.


Temp agencies play a considerable role in the American economy. Although there are a few drawbacks to the temp agency recruitment and placement system, it is still preferred over traditional recruiters. One reason why temp agencies receive wide acceptance is their efficiency in running the selection process of candidates. 

Temp agencies may choose to perform a drug test if a client requires it or depending on the safety and sensitivity of the position being filled, such as defense, transportation, and work involving the use of heavy equipment.

With the aid of a temp agency, employers do not have to worry about running expensive and time-consuming background checks and drug tests.

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