Chief Operating Officer Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do?

The Chief Operating Officer is a senior executive that oversees the day-to-day administration and operations of a business. This role requires strong decision-making and problem-solving skills. 

A chief operating officer is often the second-in-command to the CEO. They are responsible for creating and implementing business operation plans, establishing policies to support the company vision, and overseeing the work of other executives. Chief operating officers should identify areas of improvement for the company to run more smoothly.

This position allows an executive to analyze situations, recognize problems, and find good solutions that will keep the company moving in the right direction. It is the role of the COO to work to improve the company as a whole. Highly successful chief operating officers are frequently promoted to CEO after years of hard work.

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National Average Salary

Chief operating officer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Chief Operating Officer is:


Chief Operating Officer Job Descriptions

Crafting the perfect job description may be the key to finding an exceptional chief operating officer. To help you with your recruiting search, our team has put together some examples from past openings.

Example 1

[Your Company Name] is looking for a strong and responsible person to join our team as COO. As the operating director of our company, you will be responsible for financial strategies, business plans, creating and executing company goals, directing managers, and more. The individual we’re looking for should have a knack for directing, organization, and being a leader. You will be tasked with overseeing all daily aspects of the company and should be committed to creating a safe employee environment that is successful and hardworking.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Design, plan and implement business strategies, plans, and procedures
  • Set broad goals for business growth and success
  • Create policies and procedures that promote company culture and vision
  • Maintain and direct daily operations of the business 
  • Lead employees by example 
  • Support and motivate senior executives and employees
  • Analyze and interpret data and metrics
  • Generate management and operations reports for the CEO
  • Take the lead in expansion activities 
  • Maintain healthy relationships with partners and vendors

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree at minimum; master’s degree preferred
  • Fifteen years of related business experience
  • Extensive experience in management and leadership roles 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong leadership skills
  • Excellent people management skills
  • Strong project management skills
  • Strategy skills
  • Understanding of critical business functions
  • Outstanding organizational skills 
  • Ability to multi-task

Preferred qualifications

  • Prior experience in a chief operating officer role of a relevant position
  • Experience in management
  • Master’s degree in business or related field
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

Example 2

ABC Company is looking for a Chief Operating Officer to join the team and manage operational leaders and drive program functions to ensure cohesive business objectives. Reporting to the CEO, you will collaborate to set and reinforce the organizational vision and operational strategy. You will become a key member of the Company’s Executive team and ensure optimum operational and financial performance throughout the Company’s brands of business by achieving the financial and operational goals established by the President and Chief Executive Officer. You will prove to be an effective leader and motivator who displays professionalism coupled with business acumen to properly lead a growing team.


  • Manage store operations executive leadership as well as corporate departments, including: Corporate Operations, Construction, and Real Estate & Leasing to ensure cohesive business objectives as directed by the President and CEO.
  • Oversee the management of operational processes and practices to ensure that store operations programs and standard operating procedures are aligned with company business goals and objectives.
  • Liaison between the CEO, President, and department heads while maintaining a clear organizational reporting structure detailing the relationships and responsibilities of all departments and positions consistent with the strategic growth of the Company, while holding the team accountable for execution.
  • Continually evaluate business risks to improve and streamline the underlying corporate business processes ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of corporate operations.
  • Evaluate, document, and ensure compliance of the company’s corporate internal policies, procedures and controls consistent with the mission and strategic goals.
  • Strategically partner with department heads to develop and maintain annual budgets, keeping monetary spending within the parameters of the committed budget.
  • Prepare and analyze a variety of operational reports to identify trends in all areas of the business to include market trends, financial reports, employee staffing levels, and organizational growth as required by the President and CEO.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Finance, or related field
  • Progressive operational leadership experience in a fast-growing, multi-unit/state company with a national footprint; retail consumer lending industry highly desired
  • 10+ years of corporate operations experience in the areas of: Organizational development, performance management and analytics, training & development, staffing/recruiting, finance, budget creation and management, technologies, and product management within a large, multi-unit retail company
  • Demonstrated experience in implementing internal controls, policies, and procedures is desired
  • Strong analytical skills in the area of finance, P&L management, and retail operations
  • Motivator and effective leader who displays professionalism coupled with business acumen
  • Effective and consistent communicator across all areas of the company
  • Strong technical skills to include Microsoft Excel
  • Physical demands for this position frequently include: the ability to remain in a stationary position, move about freely inside and occasionally outside of the office, and the operation of mechanical controls, such as a keyboard

Example 3

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) will direct, administer, and coordinate the operational activities of the company, creating a seamless customer experience.

With projected revenue of $70M to $90M+, this critical hire will lead and direct the following functions: Operations (includes Supply Chain, Distribution, and Warehousing), Customer Service, and Logistics. The COO will report to, and assist, the Chief Executive Officer in the development of organizational policies and goals, which will entail operational efficiency, personnel development, and improving the company’s financial performance.

Role highlights:

  • Direct internal operations to achieve budgeted results with a direct approach to managing warehousing/fulfillment/customer service functions
  • Manage policy deployment and development in the areas of quality, operational/cost efficiencies, safety, customer satisfaction, and distribution center operations including on-time delivery
  • Direct all quality systems, purchasing, and shipping/receiving activities to include domestic and international partnerships
  • Participate in advanced negotiations and planning with client companies and manufacturing partners to ensure global sourcing capabilities are upheld
  • Develop and prepare short-term and long-range plans and budgets based upon broad organizational goals and objectives
  • Ensure that all activities and operations are performed in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and laws
  • Establish policies to ensure manager development, retention, and succession planning for all reports and indirect staff on team
  • Direct and participate in acquisition and growth activities to support overall business objectives and plans


  • Master’s Degree in Business preferred
  • At least 15 years of operations experience in a similar business, including at least 5 years serving in the role of COO with revenues between $50-$100M+
  • Candidate must have a passion and proven history of leading and developing Supply Chain, Distribution and Warehousing leadership teams to include multi-site operations
  • Those with global sourcing and procurement of wholesale goods are highly desired (Asia ideally)
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, public speaking, and presentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to mentor and develop internal resources
  • Keen business and financial acumen required to include experience with budget planning and forecasting

Example 4

We are looking for a Chief Operations Officer who will report directly to the CEO/Co-Founder of the company.

In this position, you will oversee day-to-day operations of the company.


The COO is responsible for leading all aspects of contract management, legal, compliance and daily operations to ensure achievement of company goals.

  • Participate and contribute to the development, execution and achievement of the Company’s overall growth strategy.
  • Design, implement and maintain a company-wide dashboard of key performance metrics
  • Partner cross functionally with Sales, Legal and Finance teams to improve execution of pre-sales and post-sales processes
  • Own the development and enforcement of company Standard Operating Procedures
  • Supervise and guide the staff through execution of plans on a daily basis by fostering a success-oriented and accountable environment that is metrics driven
  • Interface with customers and suppliers as necessary
  • Design and implement internal processes and communication structures that drive velocity, quality, and accountability leveraging a variety of productivity software fully integrated


  • 20+ years experience in Operations management in Tech Industry, B2B SaaS experience preferred
  • Have led global scaling and integration
  • Experience with mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  • Proven track record of excellent operational leadership and ability to scale an organization

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Project Management Professional (PMP). A PMP demonstrates a solid foundation in project management, demonstrating that candidates have the specific skills, dedication to excellence, and the ability to perform at the highest levels. To qualify for a PMP credential, they need a four-year degree, 36 months of experience leading projects, and 35 hours of project management. If candidates don’t have a 4-year degree, they’ll need 60 months of leading projects. They must also agree to adhere to a code of professional conduct. The rigorous multiple-choice examination assesses and measures their ability to apply project management knowledge in areas such as initiating the project, planning the project, and executing the project. 
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP). The PgMP is the next step after the PMP certification. The PgMP acknowledges a candidate’s ability to lead and coordinate multiple projects at the same time and to ensure the success of the programs. This certification shows that they have the knowledge and experience to make important decisions, to manage complex activities that might involve multiple functions and organizations across different cultures and locations, and to employ strategic objectives to enhance business results. To apply, they’ll need at least a high school diploma or associate’s degree, 48 months of project management experience, and 84 months of program management experience in the last 15 years. If candidates have a 4-year degree, you can apply with 48 months of project management experience and 48 months of program management experience within the last 15 years. 
  • COO-C Chief Operating Officer – Certified. The COO-C is for chief operating officers, executives, and senior managers who want to broaden their skills in operations management. Admission to the course is very selective and is based on a candidate’s professional level, achievements, and organizational responsibility. Although there are no educational requirements, most applicants have a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD. 

Sample Interview Questions

  • Can you explain what our company does in your own words?
  • What are your communication and decision-making styles?
  • What do you consider to be the most effective way of giving and receiving feedback?
  • How would you fit into our company culture? 
  • What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced as a leader?
  • What new policy would you like to implement at our company?
  • What analysis metrics do you use to keep track of a company’s progress?
  • How do you prepare forecasting reports?
  • How do you handle a difficult person? Can you give a real-world example?   
  • How do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work?   
  • Can you tell me of a time you thought outside of the box? How did it help your employer?
  • How do you set expectations and monitor the performance of your employees? Can you give an example?    
  • What are the top things to look for in a great company culture?
  • How do you recognize your top performers?
  • How can you contribute to fundraising ventures?
  • What is your experience with policy and change management?

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