Starting on the Right Foot Understanding Pre-Employment Physical Exams


The job search process can be both exciting and overwhelming. Once you find a job you are interested in, there are a number of steps you will need to take before you can start working. One of those steps is usually a pre-employment physical exam. While this may seem like just another hurdle to jump over, understanding the purpose and process of these exams can help you approach them with confidence.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at pre-employment physical exams, including what they are, what they involve, and why they are important. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of what to expect during a pre-employment physical exam and how to prepare for one.

What is a pre-employment physical exam?

A pre-employment physical exam is a medical evaluation that is conducted before a candidate begins working for a new employer. The purpose of this exam is to assess the candidate’s overall health and fitness for the job they will be performing. Pre-employment physical exams can vary in scope depending on the nature of the job and the employer’s requirements.

Some employers require only a basic physical exam, while others may request additional tests or screenings, such as drug tests or blood work. In some cases, employers may also require specific vaccinations or immunizations as a condition of employment.

What does a pre-employment physical exam involve?

The specific components of a pre-employment physical exam will depend on the employer’s requirements and the nature of the job. However, there are some common elements that are often included in these exams:

  1. Medical history: During a pre-employment physical exam, you will be asked about your medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, allergies, and medications you are currently taking.
  2. Physical exam: A physical exam will be performed by a healthcare professional, which may include measuring your height and weight, taking your blood pressure and pulse, listening to your heart and lungs, and examining your eyes, ears, nose, and throat.
  3. Urine and blood tests: Depending on the employer’s requirements, you may be asked to provide a urine or blood sample for testing. This can be used to check for drugs, alcohol, or other medical conditions.
  4. Vision and hearing tests: If the job requires good vision or hearing, you may be asked to undergo a vision or hearing test.
  5. Immunizations and vaccinations: Some employers require specific immunizations or vaccinations, such as the flu shot or hepatitis B vaccine, as a condition of employment.

Why are pre-employment physical exams important?

There are several reasons why employers conduct pre-employment physical exams:

  1. Ensure safety: Pre-employment physical exams can help employers identify any medical conditions or physical limitations that may impact an employee’s ability to perform their job safely.
  2. Prevent liability: By ensuring that all employees are physically capable of performing their job duties, employers can help prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. This can help reduce the employer’s liability in the event of an injury.
  3. Promote productivity: Employees who are physically fit and healthy are generally more productive and have fewer absences due to illness.
  4. Compliance with regulations: Some industries, such as healthcare and transportation, are required by law to conduct pre-employment physical exams as part of their compliance with safety regulations.

How to prepare for a pre-employment physical exam

If you have been scheduled for a pre-employment physical exam, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

  1. Review the employer’s requirements: Make sure you understand what is expected of you in terms of the exam, including any specific tests or screenings that are required.
  2. Bring any necessary documentation: If you have any medical conditions or take any medications, bring documentation that outlines your condition and treatment plan.
  1. Get a good night’s sleep: It’s important to get plenty of rest the night before your exam. Being well-rested can help ensure that you are alert and focused during the exam.
  2. Avoid caffeine and nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine can both increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can affect the results of your exam. Try to avoid these substances for at least a few hours before your exam.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing: Make sure you wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely. You may need to perform certain physical tasks during the exam, so it’s important to be dressed appropriately.
  4. Be honest: During the exam, be honest with the healthcare professional conducting the exam about your medical history and any current medical conditions or medications you are taking. This information can help ensure that you are properly evaluated and that any necessary accommodations can be made.


Pre-employment physical exams are an important part of the hiring process for many employers. By assessing a candidate’s overall health and fitness for the job, employers can help ensure a safe and productive work environment. If you are scheduled for a pre-employment physical exam, it’s important to understand what to expect and how to prepare. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can approach your exam with confidence and increase your chances of success.