TecHRseries Interview with Tim Dowd, President and COO at Accurate Background

Balanced leadership tactics are what will get the global workforce through these trying time of crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Catch this complete interview with Tim Dowd, President and COO at Accurate Background to uncover some interesting leadership and Human Resource Management insights and tips.


Tell us a little about yourself Tim, and a little about your typical day at work and role at Accurate Background – what has that looked like until the recent past (before the Covid-19 pandemic) and what does a typical day at work look like for you now?

As President and COO of Accurate Background, I manage and oversee day-to-day business operations to support the development and delivery of our workforce screening products and services. Although we are headquartered in Southern California, Accurate has a geographically dispersed employee base. We have developed an operating rhythm that involves weekly one-on-ones with executives, critical virtual and in-person meetings, as well as a set of daily and weekly metrics depicting business performance. This operating rhythm is supplemented with key client and prospect engagements. I spend a significant portion of my day in meetings, both team and individual one-on-ones to ensure that I am fully engaged with my direct reports and our teams.

Our senior leadership team is constantly evaluating new ways to better serve our customers, which include businesses of all sizes who use our comprehensive set of background check services to support a positive candidate onboarding experience. To support these efforts, we signed a definitive agreement to acquire CareerBuilder Employment Screening in early February, in the early days of the pandemic appearing on a global scale, and we closed the deal toward the end of March as stay-at-home orders spread across the US. In short order we moved our entire operation to a work from home posture without any impact on continuity of service or productivity impact. The acquisition and the integration of CBES products and people have been a defining achievement for the executive team, and well positions our business with expanded scale.

Read More: Is Remote Work Here To Stay?

In terms of a typical day right now, my focus on serving our customers through the pandemic and  integrating CBES with our company remains a top priority from a strategic perspective. A particular focus is how we approach the dynamics of teams and encouraging cross-team engagement when the majority are working remotely, which definitely requires more attention on engagement. Whether my interactions with employees throughout the day are social or more formal, I am intentional about building trusting relationships. At Accurate Background, one of our work philosophies we strive for is a One Team mentality, and ensuring that we remain connected and really listen and acknowledge one another is vital to continuing to operate as a unified team.

What are some of the top factors/parameters you’d advise small to mid–sized companies/hiring teams to consider when doing a background check, especially for tech roles?

Small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) should view the background check process as an essential component to vetting potential new employees. A few considerations I’d offer to SMBs include:

  • Keep it simple. SMBs should adopt a process that they can easily repeat for any new hire, and ensure it is not overburdened with complexity. One piece of advice during this pandemic is to deal with the information you have available and follow up when more information becomes available.
  • Understand a background check’s value. While background checks may not indicate whether a candidate will be successful in the role they’re applying to fill, they are vital indicators of whether an individual is a risk for hire.
  • Be consistent. It’s important to implement a standard protocol for doing a background check for all new hires and stick with it. Too often, I’ve seen SMBs enact inconsistent or selective background checks in their
  • Background checks often reveal a candidate’s character. As we anticipate more companies embracing work from home policies for the long-term, identifying past actions that demonstrate a candidate’s veracity, independence, trustworthiness and good judgment will be even more important. 

Could you share a little insight on how you see the typical role of an HR leader in the tech marketplace evolve, given the current dynamics in the industry?

First and foremost, it’s important to know your audience, meaning if you are recruiting tech savvy individuals for a role, the way you use technology to communicate and collaborate with them is important in early interactions. I would encourage technology companies to make sure their background check process, and any disclosures or paperwork that needs to be signed, is easily accessible and available via mobile and desktop. First impressions matter, and you want to demonstrate that HR is there to make things easier for new employees, and also using the latest tools that are familiar to your candidates to make onboarding a seamless experience. 

What are some of the most common differences and common overlaps you see when it comes to background screening for different industries?

Background check needs often vary between industries, and are also dependent upon the role that you are hiring. For example, in the recruiting and staffing industry, you may want a more comprehensive set of screening services if you’re hiring for a corporate role. In addition to common screening services that may include a criminal background check, drug testing, employment verification and education verification, you may also wish to conduct a professional reference check, social media search and credit check.

  • Hiring a tech support role at a retailer might vary slightly, where we generally see a criminal background check, Form I-9 and E-Verify, drug testing, employment verification and education verification, social media search and credit check.
  • In the healthcare industry, you are likely to see compliance and regulatory policies dictate a more rigorous process, which might include a criminal background check, I-9 and E-Verify, drug testing, sex offender registry, health and medical services, education verification, employment verification, professional license verification, sanction check & abuse registry, and social media search.

Read More: Five Issues to Consider before Returning Employees to the Workplace

What are some of your top leadership tactics that help enable better team building and alignment?

The biggest asset for any leader is trust. Relationships that are built on trust allow for more open lines of communication and employee empowerment, which are critical for high-growth companies. I am also a firm believer in candid communication. I don’t believe that ambiguity is productive, and my aim is always to clearly vocalize expectations, goals and feedback through consistent engagement in both formal and informal discussions. I also believe that transparency is vital to a well-functioning team and helps with consensus building.

It’s important to establish a level of trust and transparency that allows teams to have conversations that bring to light differing opinions, as long as the team knows and understands that the decision at the end of the discussion is one we all need to embrace and move forward with.

Tag (mention) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!

 Robert Thompson, CEO of Clinical Reference Laboratory

Can you talk about some of the most innovative HR/ Workplace Culture trends that you see taking over the tech and B2B industry, given the current world situation? How according to you is the Future of Work (and life!) going to evolve given the current pandemic?

The world will likely be forever changed through the pandemic, but where some might see that as a scary proposition, it can also be an opportunity. The WFH experience is resulting in a better understanding of the WFH dynamics. If we at Accurate Background look at the way companies are adapting and adjusting to the majority of their employees working from home, it’s hard to believe we’ll go back to the status quo;  workforce geographic flexibility will likely be more prevalent. The open question is how companies replicate the social interaction, off-the-cuff hallway conversations and consensus building that comes from being able to stop by someone’s office and ask for quick feedback. We’re already seeing technology tools provide support for more personal interactions with video conferencing and impromptu feedback through various collaboration tools and one-to-one conversations. But I have a feeling there is much more innovation to come.

A workforce that doesn’t necessarily have to reside in a common location may also change the way HR and recruiters approach hiring. As I mentioned earlier, if a remote workforce becomes more prevalent, character traits like independence, trustworthiness and good judgment will be as important as ever to identify through hiring, and background checks can be key indicators of these behavioral traits.

Read More: TecHRseries Interview with Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, CMO at SkillSoft

What are the top 5 points of advice you’d give SaaS teams and SaaS leaders struggling to cope in times of global uncertainty?

My top five points of advice are:

  1. Act Early. It’s important that even amidst all the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic that companies continue to be decisive and take action as soon as an issue is identified. Hope is not a strategy, it’s dangerous and can often lull teams into delaying action.
  2. Be Bold. It’s important that you are still embracing the big, bold ideas that will take your business to the next level. Risk taking is still valuable and albeit scarier during this time, it’s rarely a regretted action.
  3. Listen to Lots of Sources. Obtaining input from a variety of sources, from your team, your past and present peers, your friends and family is vital. We may be in an era of information overload, but examining the perspectives and inputs of many before making an important decision is critical.
  4. Over Communicate. During a time when remote working is the norm, encouraging intra- and cross-team communication is important. Employees also have a rightful expectation to hear more regularly from their leaders, as government and economic factors may drive change to business policies and practices.
  5. Constantly Engage. The idea of being available and engaging with staff hasn’t abated since the pandemic; in fact it’s more important than ever before.


Accurate Background is a trusted provider of automated workforce screening. U.S. and international clients across all industries, from emerging businesses to Fortune 500 companies, rely on their compliant solutions. Accurate Background is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association and has been recognized by Inc. 5000, Deloitte Technology Fast 500, and the Workforce Hotlist.

Tim Dowd who is currently President and COO, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer on June 1, 2020 and will continue to serve on the Accurate Board of Directors. Dave Dickerson, current Founder and CEO, will assume the role of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors on the same date.

Tim is a GE-trained executive with over 30 years of experience leading global information and technology-enabled service organizations. He has a proven ability to build and lead teams to deliver superior results at leading public and private corporations. He has been serving as President and COO of Accurate and was a member of Accurate’s Board prior to joining the Company. Prior to this role, he served as CEO of Current Analysis and INPUT, President of USIS and in executive leadership roles at both Choicepoint and GE. He has also served on the Boards of Escreen, Lubricating Specialties Corp and Accurate. He holds an MBA from Emory University, a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a B.A. in Economics from Assumption College.

Looking for more tips on riding through your business challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic? Catch some insights from the latest episode of the SalesStar Podcast!