What you need to know about hiring a great COO.
Post on 22-Jan-2018
1. What you need to know about hiring a great COO. Image courtesy of Shawn Clover at flickr.com Batman has Alfred. Luke had R2-D2. Frodo had Samwise Gamgee. What do all these duos have in common? One of them is the headliner, the one that grabs all the attention. The other is there to make sure the main character doesnt falter and keeps things running smoothly. The same can be said about the relationship between a Chief Executive Officer and his Chief Operations Officer. CEO are the face of an organization. They run the press conferences and are the ones that ultimately make and have to respond for decisions. 2. The COO oversees the day to day activities of a company to ensure that it is running smoothly and toward the goals the CEO and the board of directors have established. Other than hiring a CEO, the COO is possibly the hardest position to fill. He or she will basically be given the task of fulfilling and surpassing expectations as well as making sure everyone is on board. Knowing what to look for and what questions to ask the candidates is the key to making the right choice. A Chief Operations Officers job profile really depends on the business he or she will be working in and what the company wants and needs from the position. The personality profile, however, is pretty much a constant in all companies with a powerful and successful COO. CEOs and Board members should be on the lookout for three qualities. A people person: Great COO are always on the lookout for those who will make his or her job easier. They have an eye for spotting talent within and outside the company. Team players. Driven and proactive individuals. These are the kinds of people COO want on their team and the will try to give every chance to make sure collaborators with potential receive all the training they can get. 3. Keeps a low profile: An Operations Officer doesnt want the credit. Thats what the CEO is for. COO strive to make sure the company runs like a well oil machine. They have zero ego and always have a companys and its employees best interest in mind. Listen to the brain and not the heart: An effective COO keeps his feet on the ground. CEOs and the board of directors often make decisions based on feeling and emotion. Hunches are not in a COOs vocabulary. He or she will sit down and gather all relevant data before making a call or green lighting a board decision. After all, the decisions taken will directly affect a companys day-to-day operations and therefore the COOs job and responsibilities. He or she must have all the information that will allow him or her to make an educated assessment on the viability of CEO and Board members proposals. Once the list of candidates has been narrowed down to only those who fit the profile its time to consider what should be asked during the interview process. The right questions could make or break a candidates hiring process. 4. Image courtesy of Colin Kinner at flickr.com 1. What is our business? Simple and to the point. Incredibly effective. This question will help you find out who has done their homework and who just read the companys website a couple of days ago. A COO must be informed of what the company is all about so that he or she can develop strategies to make it grow. 2. Based on what you know about the company, how do you fit in with the culture around here? Candidates who answer the first question correctly will usually have an understanding of what a companys culture and values are. This question will help see if the candidate will fit right in or whether he or she will create a disturbance in the force. 5. 3. How important is giving and taking feedback and how do you go about it? The answer to this question will demonstrate how a COO candidate handles what his superiors suggest to him or her and at the same time interviewers will get an idea of how the candidate treats his or her collaborators. 4. How do you take failure? A Chief Operations Officers decisions or strategies might tank every once in a while. Hopefully, not often. Gauging the persons reaction to this question gives insight into how a person deals with setbacks. Does he or she beat himself up for a business decision gone sour or does the candidate take a deep breath, analyze the weaknesses from his or her strategy, and then develop a new and improved one? 5. How would you communicate with people at different levels in the company? Even though a COO normally flies under the radar, he or she must communicate with others. The answer a candidate gives to this inquiry will provide details into how he or she treats others and how effective he or she is at giving information, reports, or commands based on who the person has in front of him or her. 6. Chief Operations Officers are the CEO's right hand man or woman. Finding the right one can be a grueling process. Knowing who you need and how they answer interview questions is essential in making the best educated guess that will help a company grow and maximize the potential of its employees.
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