The Reframing Technique
The word control is often used with regard to interviewing. Often it is used incorrectly, by giving the interviewee the impression they should attempt to take full control over the questioning in the actual interview. This is, quite simply, a mistake which shows a lack of understanding of interview dynamics. If you attempt to take one-sided control of the interviewer and the interview, you may win the initial battle, but will certainly lose the war. I may let you take control, but I will press the reject button as soon as you leave my office.
The right use of control in the interview is your ability to control both the context and perspective of your answers. You can do this effectively by utilizing the Reframing Technique. To do this, you should always attempt to answer the questions as straightforwardly as possible initially, but then reframe the original question to illustrate an area of your background that can further enhance your overall image. This requires a thorough understanding of your strong points so you have a planned direction and course. By properly using the Reframing Technique, you will find yourself covering the same core topics (which reflect your greatest strengths) in nearly every interview, regardless of the questions used as the launching point.
For example, if you are asked who your favorite professor is, you might give a short answer about a particular professor, then reframe the question by telling why that professor is your favorite and use it as a connection to your internship experience. She has the ability to tie in all of the classroom theory with practical business applications; in fact, it was her inspiration that encouraged me to participate in a two-week internship over winter break, where I combined my classroom knowledge with practical experience in the field of _____.
Reframing can take many forms, but at its best there is always a solid connection between the original question and the reframed emphasis. If the reformatting of the original question goes into a totally unrelated topic area, it will be counted against you. The key is to stay within the same general frame and use the question as a launch pad in a new, yet related direction (the reframed question). When done smoothly, the interviewer will not even be aware of the slight shift in focus. And you will have the opportunity to put forth your strongest points. Know your strong points and all the bridges you can use to reach them so that you can use reframing to your advantage in the interview.