Use this example as a guide when composing your next COO job description.
A detailed job description is crucial for attracting the right caliber of candidate. According to Indeed, job postings with descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters get up to 30% more applicants than other job postings. When you find yourself in need of a key leadership hire, such as the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the components that make up the job description become even more critical. To ensure you cover these details, we have created a sample for the COO job description to be used as a guide.
This example was created based on our experience in recruiting Chief Operating Officers. However, please note that no two COO job descriptions are alike which is why you will want to review each section of this job description carefully.
The 6 sections of a COO job description are:
As you may imagine, it is important that the title of the position is clearly defined at the top of your job description. Additionally, in this space you should include the title of your company. See the example below:
Chief Operating Officer (COO) Job Description - ABC Company
When sourcing for COO’s we found that listing the reporting structure gives candidates a better understanding of your organizational layout. We recommend listing who will report to the position, as well as who the position reports to. See an example below:
Direct reports: List the functions that will report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) here. I.e., Director of Operations, Director of Sales, etc.
Report to: List the CEO and/or Founders name here. I.e., CEO and Founder, Tom Brown
Use this area to detail what unique qualifications and characteristics you are seeking in the candidate for the position. A few short sentences used to describe in detail what you are looking for will help attract the right talent. See the example from the template below:
We are looking for a results-driven, and detail-oriented Chief Operating Officer (COO) to join [company name], insert a brief statement describing the company here.
The right candidate will have an instinctive ability to recognize, retain, and respect the talent within the organization, and help guide employees to reach their full potential through support and mentorship.
This dedicated leader will develop and maintain control of all business operations and will be an experienced and efficient leader with excellent people skills, business acumen, and an exemplary work ethic. The ideal individual will also be a strategic planner with the essential ability to specify, strategize, and define opportunities.
Break down the major responsibilities of the role and list them in bullet point form here. We recommend listing the responsibilities in order of importance - with the areas of highest importance noted at the top of the list, and the least important functions listed towards the bottom. You may see some of the following items listed as responsibilities for a Chief Operating Officer (COO):
- Oversee daily operations and makes adjustments as necessary
- Executes the business plan, achieving or exceeding established P&L objectives
- Partner with the CEO to develop and execute business strategies, plans, and procedures
- Develops comprehensive goals for performance and growth strategies
- Establish and define key performance metrics (KPIs) to monitor and assess customer satisfaction and quality ratings, and then hold the team accountable for these measures
- Identify areas of opportunities for capital improvements across the organization, including opportunities to improve revenue, increase margin, reduce cost, and increase profitability throughout the organization all while improving efficiency
- Attract, retain, and develop a high-performing team
- Lead, manage and hold direct reports accountable for achieving agreed-upon commitments
- Cultivate and manage healthy relationships with strategic partners and vendors
- Ensure existing, as well as new programs and initiatives, are in line with [company name]’s core values
In this section of the job description, list the “must-haves” the job holder must possess in order to perform the job successfully. Note that these requirements are representative, but not all-inclusive, of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
Similarly, in this section we advise listing out the requirements in order of importance, as well as in order of requirement. See an example of how we list the COO requirements here:
- Proven results as a Chief Operating Officer, Vice President, or a similarly relevant role
- Experience building high performing teams, including the ability to recognize and cultivate rising talent required
- Adept at transitioning seamlessly from a strategic level vision to day-to-day tactical operations required
- Working knowledge of data analysis and performance/operation metrics required
- A demonstrated execution mindset and a record of success holding people accountable required
- Understanding of and ability to create healthy organizational culture required
- Excellent interpersonal communication skills required
- Advanced organizational leadership skills required
- Varied experiences and responsibilities in Operations, Finance, and Human Resources strongly preferred
- Experience leading high-performance teams within the [insert relevant industry] strongly preferred
- Bachelor’s degree strongly preferred
- Advanced degree, MBA or similar, preferred
Most viable candidates will want to understand the company they are seeking career interest in. Including a few sentences on your company, as well as linking to your company’s website should be done in this section.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) you are seeking will want to know what makes your company unique. You should use this space in your job description to tell prospective job holders of your story, mission, and company culture.
The job description of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of the job. When done correctly, this job description should address the general nature, as well as the level of work to be performed by the COO within your specific organization.
Please keep in mind that a job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of qualifications, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities or working conditions associated with the position. The information detailed in this article is to be used as a guide, source of ideas, and assistance.
Kaplan Executive Search is a retained search firm specializing in recruiting Chief Operating Officers for companies in the cannabis industry, those running on EOS®, as well as emerging growth and lower middle-market organizations. Learn more about how Kaplan Executive Search can help you find your COO talent.
Check out our Abridged Guide to Hiring a Chief Operating Officer, containing top considerations for CEOs and Business Owners when hiring a COO.