21 Feb 2018
By lauren Posted in Interviews

7 High Level COO Interview Questions to Ask Operations Leaders

By lauren On February 21, 2018

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If you're looking to hire a COO, you likely have a healthy amount of interview experience under your belt. If you're struggling to find a standout candidate, however, you may want to try and switch things up. Candidates vying for a COO position will predominantly be passive applicants, so you'll have to grab their attention quickly. Once you've got an interview scheduled, try and think of some questions that inspire behavioral responses. A strong COO is constantly thinking about how to get the most results out of the fewest resources. 

Below are seven COO interview questions to ask operations leaders:

1. What is an example of a successful implementation you have made towards efficiency?

Everything in operations is about efficiency. This question explores the ways the candidate has positively impacted previous employers.

2. What is your morning routine like and how does it change when you’re in a rush?

This question explores how they utilize their limited resources. The question also dives deep into how the candidate prioritizes tasks - a must for operations leaders.

3. How do you allow your employees to focus on improvement?

In order for your organization to grow, your employees have to grow along with it. A good operations leader knows that time must be allocated to employee improvement, and asking this question explores their self improvement philosophies.

4. What is more important: cost-reduction or time savings?

There needs to be a balance between these two factors. See what the prospective COO considers to be more valuable.

5. Shipping with USPS is 80% the price of FedEx, but only 70% as reliable. For you, would USPS still be a good idea in any circumstances?

A numbers-specific question allows for a correct answer. But thinking even bigger can show a deeper aptitude. For instance, considering other factors such as revenue per customer and speed of delivery could make USPS still a more feasible option.

6. Name a time when you made a decision that wasn’t the most efficient route.

Showing a time where a managerial decision didn’t pay off is a great to see what their thought process is, and how they learned from the mistake.

7. What is the single biggest problem that you see in operations departments, either external or your own?

A more analytical question, this tests how they see operations and the market as a philosophy. The applicant has to show their intelligence and their knowledge of overall trends.

The end goal in these COO interview questions is to get a well-rounded picture into the thought process of the candidates. Asking different types of questions can peek into how they would react to the problems your company faces. If a particular applicant is attractive on the basis of operations knowledge, examine if they are culturally aligned to be sure that they will make a comfortable transition. If they have both the functional expertise and are culturally aligned with your organization mission, then chances are you've found yourself a finalist.

TruPath helps organizations find culturally aligned talent. Contact our team today to learn how we may be able to assist you in hiring a COO.

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