Employers must comply with both Federal and State laws that protect applicants from discrimination. Whether or not you can initiate a background check prior to a job offer, will depend on the state you are located in and the types of questions that are asked in the background check. For example, an employer in Hawaii may inquire about convictions only after making a conditional offer of employment. Additionally, when an employer receives a background check report from a company in the business of compiling background information, they must also comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). For more information, the EEOC has a publication on “Background Checks What Employers Need to Know”: To read the publication, click here.