Dominance: The degree of independence and influence in groups
The dominance trait measures the extent to which individuals enjoy being autonomous, competitive and influential or accommodating and agreeable. The trait has two opposite poles namely Cooperative and Assertive. Let’s look into both poles to better understand how we assess the dominance trait.
Cooperative: An individual with a low amount of dominance drive is collaborative, cooperative, and harmony-seeking. This person is humble, agreeable, accommodating, avoids conflicts, is accepting of company policies and is generally happy to go along with others’ ideas. Low dominance people prefer to be recognized as part of a team, and they tend to shy away from individual competition.
Common Descriptors: deferential, avoids conflict, submissive, humble, obedient, easily led, docile, accommodating
Assertive: Someone with a high amount of dominance drive is independent and self-confident. This person enjoys being challenged, is comfortable with conflict, and likes autonomy in problem-solving. Assertive people tend to be persuasive, outspoken, influential, courageous and tenacious in challenging or discouraging situations. High dominance people prefer individual recognition, and they can sometimes come across as authoritarian. They will stand up for their own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being aggressive.
Common Descriptors: dominant, forceful, aggressive, competitive, stubborn, bossy
Dominance Interview Guide
The interview questions listed below can draw revealing answers and get you on your way to finding whether employees tend to want to “call the shots” or are more agreeable and accommodating to others and assess the degree of how dominant or cooperative a candidate is.
Note: There is no right or wrong answer, the answer you are seeking is based on what best fits the role and your company culture.
Top 2 questions and expected answers
1. Give an example of when you have had to manage a difficult relationship at work. Did you solve the problem alone or with the support of others?
Assertive: Individuals who score closer towards the assertive end of the scale are most likely to answer that they generally prefer to deal with such conflicts on their own. They are self-assured individuals who can confidently assert their views and stand up for what they believe in their workplace environment. Considering that assertive individuals are comfortable dealing with conflict they will probably suggest that this instance was something that they could successfully resolve now and in the future.
Cooperative: Individuals who score closer towards the cooperative end of the scale are most likely to answer that they generally prefer to avoid getting involved into a conflict. In case they experience such an instance they are more likely to yield with the other party's wishes instead of expressing their own needs. For the resolution of a conflict they are likely to ask for the support of others in order to avoid making others feel offended by them.
2. Please provide an example of when you persuaded a colleague to use a particular approach to complete a task provided by your manager.
Assertive: Individuals who score closer towards the assertive end of the scale, are most likely to propose to their colleague, that given their manager has requested a specific approach to follow for the task, it is of their best interest to do as they have been told.
Cooperative: Individuals who score closer towards the cooperative end of the scale are most likely to answer that they would probably spend some time to hear their colleagues point of view to understand where their hesitance stems from and would likely urge them to do what they feel is for their best interest without necessarily expressing their own opinion on the matter.
3. Do you prefer working independently of others or as a team member?
4. Describe a time where you exceeded expectations in the workplace.
5. Have you been in a situation during your career where you have supported a colleague struggling in bringing in their KPI/sales quota?
6. Give a recent example of when you've had to make a quick decision in response to a work problem. Did you have to consult a colleague or manager? Could you have made this decision yourself?