Sep 24, 2019

3 Interview Questions to Assess the Emotional Intelligence of a COO

When speaking with COO candidates you will want to understand how their past experiences and skill set would be a fit for your organization. However, understanding the emotion intelligence (EQ) of a candidate is often an afterthought. 

A strong performance indicator of a COO will be their ability to lead and manage people and situations. Make sure your COO candidates have a strong sense of emotional intelligence by asking the following three questions during the initial interview.

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Three Interview Questions to Assess a COO's Emotional Intelligence

1. Describe the most difficult CEO you have ever worked with?

What you're looking for there is someone to be humble, to say that all their relationships weren't rosy and that there were challenges in them. Some questions to follow up on are how did you and that CEO find common ground? What did you learn from that person? How has that knowledge furthered your career?

2. What was the worst day you've ever had as a business person?

Again, you're looking for someone who is able to speak about bad things happening. Bad things will happen in your business and you need someone who's not going to push that under the rug, but who's going to be ready to face those challenges and conquer them.

3. Tell me about three leaders who you have mentored?

People are the critical thing in your business and any COO will need to have demonstrated that they've made other people better. The best thing would be if they've mentored someone who actually took over a job for them. That shows that they're low ego and they're ready to make people better.

If you ask these three interview questions of your candidates for your COO position, you'll better assess their emotional intelligence, or EQ, hire the right person and take your company to new heights.


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.

Three Interview Questions to Assess Emotional Intelligence of COO Candidates


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