Ace the COO Interview: 5 Tips Plus Sample Questions

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Landing a COO job can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can really stand out from the people you are competing with.

00:00 Intro
00:32 The first point
01:11 The second point
01:57 The third point
02:44 The fourth point
03:24 The fifth point
04:08 Summary
05:12 Outro

The Final Interview With The Company President

Getting a COO job can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can really stand out from the people you’re competing with. Today, I’m going to share several tips for acing an interview for a Chief Operating Officer. I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. People hire me for no BS job search advice and career coaching globally, because I make the process of finding work and a few other things much easier for people.

Now the first point I want to raise is to understand the role. Review your research of the company and industry to grasp your future responsibilities. And this includes typical duties and operations, strategy, budgeting, and performance metrics.

Tailor your experience to match their needs. They may not need to hear about every little detail of everything that you’ve ever done in your life. They care about certain things. Be prepared to focus on those. Check the news for any new info that may reflect challenges you may run into, since you could be prepared to discuss them.

Point number two is your resume. Review projects, achievements and skills relevant to the role, prepare explanations and examples for anything that’s on your resume. quantify your accomplishments with numbers when possible, or percentages when that isn’t possible. Particularly if you’re with a public firm, try not to reveal anything that might be proprietary. Identify it as such  and they’ll understand. If they press you on it,  say “Look, you wouldn’t want me to reveal anything inappropriate of you. I’m certainly not going to do that for my organization.” Next, mentally review the rough edges that may have surfaced in previous rounds, and be prepared to address them in this round.

Third point, practice responding to questions. Expect questions about your experience, leadership style, and overcoming challenges. Prepare clear and concise responses with real examples. They may ask you questions such as, “How do you prioritize competing priorities? How would you improve our operations? Tell me about a time when you spearheaded a major strategy. What is your leadership philosophy? What is the biggest challenge you foresee in this role? Where would you like to see our operations in five years? How do you foster collaboration across teams? How do you ensure processes are efficient? And of course, what questions do you have for me?

This leads to my fourth major point– Ask great questions. Be prepared with thoughtful questions about leadership, vision, challenges, demonstrate your interest and understanding of the role. And thus, you could ask questions like “What attracted you know this firm when you became associated with it? What do you think the skills are that are going to be most critical for success in this role? What are going to be my top priorities this year? Tell me about the team I’m inheriting . . .  who are the strong performers? Who will need some support going forward. What will my success look like in your eyes after a year?

A Marketing Approach to Job Search

And the fifth major category comes down to exuding confidence and passion. Maintain a confident, enthusiastic tone throughout. Convey your passion for operations and leadership. Keep eye contact and lean forward if you’re in person to show engagement. And if you’re online, make sure your camera’s aligned in such a way is that you look like you’re looking at someone.  If you’re not sure, do a Zoom session on your own or record yourself talking to someone on camera so that this way you can see what you look like. Eye contact is important in person and on video. Lastly, thank them for their time and reiterate your interest.

So this all takes time. But if you follow these simple steps,  it’ll help you to demonstrate your operational leadership skills. And I’m going to remind you, the role has been described in previous rounds. So knowing your resume, and reviewing your answers to previous interview questions should remain congruent with your answers. Practicing your response to predictable questions, preparing thoughtful questions of your own, and projecting confidence will help you win the offer.

I’ll just remind you, that skills competence is only one thing firms look for when they hire. They also look for confidence. Chemistry, charisma if self can’t take that from the top . . . Self-confidence, character, chemistry, charisma, that you care and that they can connect with you because they want to trust you. So, good luck with this. I’m sure you can perform better.

 And I hope you have a terrific day. I’m Jeff Altman. My website is Go to the blog, there’s a ton there to help you. And if you’d like me to coach you going into this round, you can schedule time with me through the site. I’d be happy to help you. You can also find out about my video courses, books and guides. Again, there’s a lot there that will help. Finally, connect with me on Linkedin at Have a terrific day and be great!


People hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS Career Advice globally because he makes many things in peoples’ careers easier. Those things canJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter involve job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading better, career transition, as well as advice about resolving workplace issues. 

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2700 episodes. 

Seven Steps To Branding Yourself As An Expert

You will find great info to help with your job search at my new site, ⁠⁠JobSearch.Community⁠⁠ Besides the video courses, books and guides, I answer questions from members daily about their job search. Leave job search questions and I will respond daily. Become an Insider+ member and you get everything you’d get as an Insider PLUS you can get me on Zoom calls to get questions answered. Become an Insider Premium member and we do individual and group coaching.

Also, subscribe to ⁠⁠ on YouTube and No BS Job Search Advice Radio, the #1 podcast for job search with more than 2700 episodes over 12+ Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music and almost anywhere you listen or watch podcasts.

You can also have your #jobsearchquestions answered Tuesdays at noon Eastern. Search for Career Coach Office Hours on LinkedIn and mark that you’re attending. You’ll have access to the recording if you miss it live. 


Schedule a discovery call at my website, ⁠⁠ to discuss one-on-one or group coaching with me

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