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COO Job Description (+ Template and Three Examples)

October 11, 2018

Between hiring new rockstars, balancing budgets, establishing processes, and much more, the day-to-day operations of any business are seemingly endless.

In fact, that’s not entirely untrue. They kinda are.

Luckily for us, the world of business has chief operating officers.

The chief operating officer (COO) will work as your organization's second-in-command. He or she collaborates closely with the CEO to build and employ strategy, ensure best business practices are met, and optimize business operations. They’re likely the ones behind-the-scenes establishing processes and automating repetitive tasks, while maintaining communication with key stakeholders like board members and their fellow executives.

Chief operating officers are essential as your organization continues to grow and scale. As the company number two, chief operating officers are a critical hire – and not one to take lightly.

This individual should have a successful track record of implementing innovative long-term business strategies while simultaneously managing and optimizing day-to-day operations. As second-in-command, it’s vital they work well with both your CEO as well as the other departments under the operations umbrella – this includes corporate, HR, finance, and more.  

This all means one thing: that writing your chief operating officer job description is nothing to take lightly. Luckily, we’re here to help with our COO job description template. But, before we get there, let’s take a moment to cover the typical responsibilities of your chief operating officer.

Due to the fact that this is a high-stakes hire, writing the job description itself is nothing to take lightly. Hiring any executive is a massive commitment – however, this is especially true when it comes to your COO. This will be the organization’s number two, so it’s essential to get this hire right the first time. 

That’s why ensuring your job description clearly communicates expectations is critical. Missing out on key points or failing to be explicit in your requirements may lead to incomplete expectations from both your hiring team and the candidate.

That’s why we’ve compiled this basic COO job description for you. When it comes time to seek out this essential new employee, the following description and three industry examples can be a helpful starting point.

Keep in mind that due to the seniority and responsibilities of an executive position, you’ll likely beef it up with company-specific responsibilities and desired requirements.

Hiring more executives than just a COO? Be sure to check out our full list of executive job descriptions. Not looking to grow your C-suite just yet? We’ve still got you covered! Check out our comprehensive guide to job descriptions and full list of marketing job descriptions.

And keep in mind that if you're planning on significantly growing your team, it may be time to invest in recruiting automation software

See the Easiest-to-Use Recruiting Automation Software →

Now, let's talk about your next COO. 

Chief Operating Officer (COO) Job Description

Title: Chief Operating Officer

Location: Chicago

With more than 400 percent growth since 2015, ACME Corporations is North America’s leading energy provider, with the single largest retail customer base nationwide. Since its founding in 2007, ACME Corporations has strived to meet the highest standards of energy delivery, customer service, and cost efficiency. Our mission is to be the top-tier energy provider while fostering a collaborative, diverse, and inclusive workplace.

ACME Corporation is looking to hire an experienced Chief Operating Officer to work closely with the CEO and assist in managing ACME’s day-to-day operations. This individual should have a successful track record of implementing innovative business strategies and optimizing business operations. The ideal candidate has significant expertise in financial policies and procedures and safeguarding assets, and is personable and an industry thought-leader.

  • Design and employ business operations and strategies
  • Control company budget and costs; implement practices that work to prevent theft and other financial losses
  • Collaborate with CEO and other executives to set and drive company vision, operational strategy, hiring needs, and financial reports
  • Act as the second-in-command regarding high-level initiatives and decision-making
  • Prepare accurate organizational performance reports on a quarterly and annual basis
  • Help to establish policies that reinforce company culture
  • Secure business strategy to drive sustainable growth
  • Assist chief people officer in maintaining effective recruiting, onboarding, and retention of employees
  • Assess and implement new tools and practices to improve employee and organizational efficiency
  • Oversee all company operations and employee productivity, ensuring employees are successful in professional development
  • Build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, including but not limited to customers, partners, clients, and board members
  • Bachelor’s or Master degree in relevant discipline; MBA preferred
  • 8-10 plus years experience in senior management or executive positions in various businesses and industries
  • Profound knowledge in business functions such as HR, finance, marketing, accounting, and more
  • Proven track-record in optimizing business strategy
  • Deep understanding of financial policies and procedures, including but not limited to auditing, budgeting
  • Works well under pressure, can handle and delegate workload effectively
  • Ability to build and foster relationships with fellow executive team members, board members, and ACME’s key stakeholders
  • Outstanding communicator, both written and orally
  • Knowledge of data analysis and performance/operation metrics; ability to report on metrics
  • Excellent interpersonal and public speaking skills
  • Ability to lead by example and inspire confidence

COO Job Description Examples

To see how real employers are writing their COO job descriptions, check out the examples below!

Sphere Inc.

Chief Operating Officer/COO

Chicago, IL

We are a global digital Innovation and technology company. We partner all the way to continuously improve our clients’ businesses. Our Delivery network brings the optimal combination of skill, scale, and cost for each stage of the product development lifecycle. And to do this we need great transformational people that want to impact the projects and organizations that they work with.

We are looking for an experienced Chief Operating to oversee our organization's ongoing operations and procedures. The COO role is a key member of the senior management team, reporting to the CEO.

Job Summary:

As a member of the Executive Team, the Chief Operations Officer provides leadership, management and vision to the company and ensures that appropriate operation controls, administrative and reporting procedures, people and systems are in place for the effective performance of the company.

  • Works to define key KPIs that measure company performance and health
  • For each KPI, identifies
  • Minimum threshold
  • Target growth threshold
  • Healthy threshold
  • Implements a budgeting process to support the above
  • Facilitates and Refines KPIs and goals quarterly
  • Oversee company's innovation initiatives and productization of prior experiences into value added, scalable solutions
  • Learns Sphere positioning and story; able to present the company
  • Manage performance and delivery of company's local and remote employees
  • Work with delivery team on identifying and launching new practices and solutions
  • Work on finding, identifying and hiring A players for various company functions such as technology, delivery, marketing, sales, business development
  • Drives alignment and communication across organizational leads including: Financial, HR, Engineering, Sphere Labs, Chief of Staff, Sales, Marketing, Practice leads, Annual planning and budget, Revenue, Recruiting, Average rate, Utilization
  • Provide clear metrics on how we measure each organizational lead
  • These metrics should be part of a balanced scorecard approach to org kpi
  • Define Weekly Goals for the organization
  • Weekly Goals are meant to make progress towards KPIs, but most importantly
  • Weekly Goals address how to move blockers or keep the org rhythm moving
  • Identify what must be different by end of week
Monthly processes including:
  • Reviews financials via financial scorecard monthly (done a minimum once a month)
  • Understands any variances and their causes (both good and bad)
  • Creates any plans necessary to handle adjustments
  • Reviews receivables and addresses any aging issues
  • Makes sure that we are reviewing SoWs needing to be extended and reviews if rates need to be adjusted
  • Once a quarter, reviews the next quarter goals, and if we reach them
  • What changes need to be addressed next quarter for this
  • Conduct company all-hands-on meetings quarterly
  • Will travel to remote offices several times per year
Qualifications and Competencies:
  • Has held a leadership position in a software services organization that is either global or has distributed team
  • Target driven and results oriented; Has a track record of managing to financials
  • A Leader that naturally motivates their employees
  • Experience scaling companies organically and through partnerships
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in a senior management role
  • Proven track record of success facilitating progressive organizational change and development
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem solving skills including negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Strong mentoring, executive coaching to a team with diverse levels of expertise
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative approach
  • Superior management and influencing skills; ability to engage with direct and indirect reports and peers
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical operations initiatives
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interact as a member of executive management and all levels of staff
  • Ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as strategic thinker

The Equity Project Charter School

Chief Operating Officer

New York, New York

Why this job:

Join the leadership of a successful and expanding school that has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and on 60 Minutes for its radical investment in teachers and its outstanding results. TEP requires a visionary leader to maximize the organization's operational performance at all levels and support its growth, as TEP expands from a 480-seat middle school at one campus to a 1200-seat Pre-K through 8th grade school, spread across three campuses (Early Childhood, Elementary School, and Middle School).

Position Overview:

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a new leadership role at TEP. This individual will provide the leadership, management, and analytical capability to ensure TEP's full operational efficiency. The COO will be responsible for leading all of TEP's non-instructional operations and staff members, as the school's Principal and 3 School Directors focus on the students, teachers, and families, by allocating their energy exclusively to teaching and learning.

Position Responsibilities:
  • Develop TEP's current and long-term operational capability to support the school's growth, by assessing and refining the school's operational systems and teams
  • Ensure TEP has the proper controls, data procedures, and people systems to function and grow, while integrating the highest level of efficiency and service
  • Align operational procedures and best practices across the three campuses, considering demographic differences and the individual needs of each campus
  • Establish key performance indicators that align with TEP's core values, mission, and organizational objectives
  • Manage a senior operational team, consisting of:
  • 3 Operations Directors, one at each campus; each Operations Director manages critical school operations and supervises a small operations team at their respective campus
  • 1 Director of Facilities, who manages the facilities and related personnel at all three campuses
  • 1 Director of Talent Acquisition, who is responsible for the hiring of talent at all levels of the organization
  • Support operational leaders through regular professional development, training, coaching, and evaluation
  • Manage contracts and serve as the management liaison with all operational partnerships (i.e. external vendors and consultants)
  • Provide direction in the execution of operational projects, and deliver guidance for complex operational issues
  • Influence operational excellence and professional collaboration across all levels of the organization by exemplifying TEP's mission and culture
  • Minimum of 10+ years of demonstrated experience as a COO or relevant leadership role
  • Visionary management skills; ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports
  • Superior organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Exceptional writing ability and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated competency analyzing data and leading strategic operations
  • Proficient in all Microsoft Office applications

The COO will report directly to TEP's Founder and Board of Trustees.


The COO earns a competitive salary in the range of $175K to $200K based on the individual's experience level, with benefits including medical, dental, vision insurance, 403b retirement plan, STD, LTD and Life Insurance.

Atlantic Health

Chief Operating Officer/COO

Summit, New Jersey

Atlantic Health System has an opportunity for a Chief Operating Officer for Overlook Medical Center - the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a key member of the OMC executive team, responsible for the implementation of its day-to-day operations and policies. S/he will help to assure that both the organization's strategic goals and operating plans are achieved while also assuring that the site specific objectives for financial effectiveness are met. Three particular overarching objectives and areas of emphasis for the COO are: identifying more efficient ways to provide care, providing timely patient access, and creating the ideal patient experience.

Direct Reports Include:
Radiology, Interventional Radiology, Union Imaging, Security, Parking, Environmental Services, Patient Transportation, Food Services, PT/OT, Speech Therapy, Exclusive Contracts, IRAD Infusion, Union Campus, MAC I and II Building operations, and Linen. Dual reports are: Human Resources, Lab, and Strategic Sourcing.

While the COO reports to the President, s/he will collaborate closely with the other members of the senior team including the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Director of Business Development and Physician Relations and Service Line Directors on matters of patient care, quality, service, and overall hospital performance. S/he will collaborate with the OMC Chief Financial Officer on matters related to budgeting, financial performance, revenue cycle, and capital resource allocation. Furthermore, this COO will work with leaders of the Atlantic Health System's corporate staff functions, such as facilities management, information systems and services, human resources, and planning and marketing collaborating with them, and other site executives, to assure that mutual objectives are met. The COO will also lead the Space Management and Planning Function, and Strategic Capital Planning. The COO will work in coordination with the AHS VP of Facilities Management on executing the new Master Facilities Plan to ensure we achieve a more effective design and a design which improves the quality of care provided and the patient experience on Overlook's main campus

The selected candidate will be able to demonstrate a considerable record of successful leadership and line management accomplishments for key clinical and ancillary service departments within a tertiary care setting recognized for high standards of quality and innovation. Additionally, s/he will have both a track record in process improvement as well as capabilities in using CQI principles to bring about positive change in a multi-site hospital and multi-specialty group environment.


Furthermore, this individual will have a demonstrated record developing new programs and services including the necessary strong skill set to do so: effective at analysis, design, and the communication skills to obtain approvals and to implement new initiatives. This is someone who can show a track record of developing and maintaining solid collaborative relationships among diverse groups of Board members, site and system senior leadership team, medical staff, and external stakeholders. S/he must be able to articulate and defend operational goals, strategies, and accomplishments in a persuasive manner, yet be adaptable and flexible in the face of changing operations in order to address the greater organizational challenges. 

  • Demonstrate a considerable record of successful leadership and line management accomplishments for key clinical and ancillary service departments within a tertiary care setting recognized for high standards of quality and innovation.
    Track record in process improvement (any success in IHI improvements would be particularly valuable) as well as capabilities in using CQI principles to bring about positive change in a multi-site hospital and multi-specialty group environment .
  • Strong quantitative (business) and analytical skills in a fast paced environment are essential.
    Record of developing new programs and implementing new initiatives.
  • History of developing and maintaining collaborative relationships among diverse groups of Board members, senior executives, medical staff, administrative peers, and external stakeholders.
  • Articulate operational goals, strategies, and accomplishments in a persuasive manner, yet be adaptable and flexible in the face of changing operations in order to address the greater organizational challenges.
Educational Requirements:

Advanced degree required. Clinical credentials a plus.

Atlantic Health System aims to deliver the highest quality and care combined the best experience for our patients and their families. We are confident that you will find success within Atlantic Health System, which has been named for the 10th year in a row to Fortune's "Top 100 Best U.S. Companies to Work For" list. We believe you'll find that our culture of collaboration and care exemplifies the value we place on our patients, their families and our employees.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, religion, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or protected veteran status.

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