25 Chief Operating Officer (COO) Interview Questions & Answers

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Here’s the FULL LIST of CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO) INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Q1. Tell me about yourself?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

“I am a strategically driven, commercially focused and progressive Chief Operating Officer who has experienced many challenging situations that I feel will be of benefit to your organization. Being somebody who is proud of what I have achieved in my career so far, I want to work for an organization where I can make an immediate and long-lasting impact through driving forward change, encouraging innovation and expecting nothing but the best from the teams and departments I am ultimately responsible for. I fully appreciate the level of responsibility that comes with the position of COO and I genuinely thrive whilst being a part of a Senior Management Team that is all pushing forward in the same direction. If you hire me as your Chief Operating Officer, you will be getting somebody who is totally committed to your strategic goals, somebody who focuses on profitability as well as outstanding operations, and somebody who never sits still in their pursuit of excellence.”

Q2. What can you bring to the role of COO?

SUGGESTED ANSWER

“I can bring extensive experience in a variety of different situations including ensuring company operations are effective, efficient and in line with the long-term strategic aims of the business. I can bring strong leadership qualities, business acumen, commercial awareness and a passion for ensuring all operational work is conducted to exacting standards that help serve to protect the company brand by providing outstanding service to your customers. Although I am very much the type of Chief Operating Officer who wants to be directly involved with all areas under my remit, I am an effective delegator, a good negotiator and somebody who will work in harmony with the other members of the Senior Management Team. Being a visionary and someone who is always looking to improve an organization so that it stays ahead of its competitors, by hiring me, you will get a forward-thinking and committed COO who will immerse himself/herself into the role with passion, enthusiasm and dedication.”

Q3. Why do you want to work for our organization as the Chief Operating Officer?
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Q4. How would you deal with disagreements with the company CEO?
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Q5. What are you looking for in your next role?
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Q6. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? How did you handle it?
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Q7. How do you plan to succeed as our COO when others have perhaps failed to live up to expectations?
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Q8. Whilst working as a Chief Operating Officer, what’s your approach to change?
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Q9. How will you delegate in your role as Chief Operating Officer?
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Q10. How do you plan to implement the change needed as the Chief Operating Officer so that our organization maintains market position?
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Q11. What are your hobbies and interests?
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Q12. What competencies do you possess that will ensure you are effective as our company Chief Operating Officer?
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Q13. If a senior member of the operational management team makes a significant mistake that impacts our organization negatively, how would you deal with it?
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Q14. What are your values?
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Q15. As our Chief Operating Officer, how will maintain a positive company culture within your department?
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Q16. What steps would you follow when implementing change as the COO?
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Q17. What motivates you?
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Q18. If you are successful, what’s the first thing you will concentrate on as the new Chief Operating Officer?
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Q19. What’s the biggest challenge our company is facing and how can we overcome it?
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Q20. Why do you want to leave your current job?
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Q21. Who’s your favourite leader and why?
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Q22. Describe the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your career so far?
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Q23. What’s your biggest weakness?
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Q24. What are your salary expectations in the role of Chief Operating Officer?
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Q25. That’s the end of your Chief Operating Officer interview. Do you have any questions for the panel?
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Chief Operating Officer (COO) Job Description and Responsibilities


The Chief Operations Officer, or COO as he/she is more commonly referred to, is responsible for the daily business operations of an organization. The COO reports directly to the company Chief Executive Officer and they have ultimate responsibility for the delivery of services, logistics and customer service. To be effective as a the company Chief Operating Officer you will need strategic vision, the ability to work at pace whilst solving complex organizational-wide problems, and the ability to motivate and develop your team so the business can stay ahead of the competition and maintain its market share.

COO main duties and responsibilities

  • Liaise with the CEO, CMO and CFO to establish the organizational budget and allocation of strategic duties;
  • Assist in the creation of the company business plan, including short, medium and long-term business objectives;
  • Ensure and maintain operational efficiency and exceptional levels of customer service;
  • Motivate all managers and team leaders to ensure they successfully deliver the commercial and financial aims of the organization;
  • Be responsible for the management of the operational budget and maintain impressive levels of profitability at all times;
  • Seek operational opportunities that enable the company to improve service to its customers;
  • Be responsive to and embracive of organizational change and contribute positively to senior management team meetings and discussions;
  • Work with stakeholders and contractors to ensure organizational value for money is maintained.
  • Delegate responsibility of important tasks and projects to senior managers and team leaders;
  • Develop company Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure the business moves forward consistently in a positive manner and report performance to company shareholders;
  • Report directly to the company Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

COO INTERVIEW TIPS – HOW TO PASS A CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER INTERVIEW

The following important tips will help you to prepare for your Chief Operating Officer interview. We strongly advise you to read the tips carefully and utilize them during your preparation for this important strategic management position.

COO INTERVIEW TIP NUMBER 1

One of the most common COO interview questions asked is, what are you looking for in your next role? This question assesses where you are right now in terms of energy, ambition and your appetite for a challenge. The COO role comes with a huge amount of responsibility and, as you aware, you will need to dedicate a significant amount of time in the role. Provide an answer that is aligned to the strategic ambitions of the company you are applying to join.

COO INTERVIEW TIP NUMBER 2

A large portion of the Chief Operating Officer interview questions will be behavioural in nature. In the build-up to your interview, think of previous situations you have been in where you have achieved significant organizational success; where you had to dealt with difficult situations and where you have utilized your skills and experience to meet difficult targets or KPIs.

COO INTERVIEW TIP NUMBER 3

The interview panel will be looking to see how you can add significant value to their organization in the position of COO. Research the industry in detail prior to your interview and think about the different opportunities present that you can capitalize on in the role.

COO INTERVIEW TIP NUMBER 4

It’s all well and good having the skills, qualities and experience to be an effective Chief Operating Officer, but if you don’t gel with the CEO or the other Senior Management Team members then you will not get hired. During the interview, be personable, show respect, be prepared to answer questions relating to conflict, and above all, always remember to put the needs and the commercial goals of the organization above everything else. 

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