Both employers and job seekers tend to have this misconception. Most recruiters think that by virtue of having a criminal record, an applicant shouldn’t be hired. Most job seekers also think that a criminal record means they won’t get hired.

The reality is seldom black and white. For starters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) places certain restrictions on when criminal records can be used to deny employment. One EEOC requirement is that the nature of conviction must directly affect the nature of the job. For instance, a DUI may disqualify someone applying to be school driver, but it cannot be grounds for disqualifying a would-be accountant.

Also, as most employers and staffing companies have realized, employment background checks sometimes return false results. Therefore, rushing to make decisions can lead to lawsuits. As such, most employers now offer applicants an opportunity to clarify their criminal records. In some cases, such a clarification can tilt the tide in the applicant’s favor. The bottom line is that a criminal record doesn’t automatically mean No Hire.