Second First

Why is it so difficult to hire a COO?

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If you’re the owner of a growing business, you have likely considered the benefits of bringing on a Chief Operating Officer (COO). This is one of the most important decisions any business leader can make because it will significantly impact how well your company performs over time. It is also usually the most difficult position to hire into your company. Hiring a COO is not a decision to be taken lightly. You need to find someone who will be able to lead the company forward and grow it into its next phase of growth. This person needs to have the right experience, knowledge, skills and personality traits for the role.

One reason why it’s difficult to hire a COO is the hiring process is long and complicated. It involves:

      • Researching and identifying candidates. This means combing through resumes, reaching out to references, and setting up interviews with potential COOs.

      • Conducting interviews. You’ll want to make sure that you’re asking the right questions so that you can get a sense of who they are as people and what they bring to the table–and also whether or not they’d be a good fit for your company culture (more on this later).

      • Creating a shortlist of candidates based on their performance during initial interviews and other factors like their experience level or industry background (which might help inform how well they’ll fit in at your company).

    Hiring a COO can be a daunting task, but you don’t need to do it alone. Engaging with an executive recruiter is one way to get help finding and screening candidates, negotiating terms and salary with them, and making sure that your company is hiring the right person. Recruiters have access to their own networks of executives who are looking for new opportunities, and they know what other companies are looking for in an ideal candidate. They can help you identify potential candidates based on their experience level.

    Finding someone who has the right experience is just the beginning. You also need to find a person who is a good cultural fit for your company. This means you’ll need to do some digging into their personality and values, which can be difficult. It’s essential that you hire someone whose values align with yours and those of your team members. The COO must share your vision for where you want the business to go in order for them to succeed in their role.

    Additionally, the difficulty in finding the right COO comes down to the specific needs of you and your business in terms of accountabilities. No two COOs have the same responsibilities, so it’s important to get clarity around what you need this new hire to do. Typically the COO is the second-in-command and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. They’re a strategic partner to the CEO, helping drive growth and innovation. Sometimes they also manage finances, which means they need to have excellent management skills as well as an understanding of how companies operate financially. Other times the COO must be focused more on business development and marketing. Solidifying the role will be crucial in successfully onboarding this new executive. 

    With so many factors to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re still unsure about whether or not now is the right time for hiring someone new into your organization, or how to discern what you specifically need in a COO, we encourage you to reach out for more information on the Second In Command Design process offered by Second First. 


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