How do you address the question about "failures of the past" in interviews?

Question

I've been going on a couple of interviews lately for mid-level manager/director level positions and there seems to be a focus on failures or areas of inability.

I've always taken the stance of every failure is a learning opportunity but lately its felt like the focus has been on the why I failed rather than the how I bounced back. I use examples like not enough communication, using a language for the first time, underestimating time needed, and how those events have molded me into a leader because I understand and apply things like organization, skills identification, and time management to combat things from happening again.

This seems to be a sticking point though on interviews, however, and I'm just wondering if there's a better way to address this as a developer/technologist in the current cultures. Does anyone have better examples of failures or how to approach this question when discussing at a lead/managerial/director level?

Answer

With a funny story:

I've certainly made a lot of mistakes and there's always room for better, but my funniest mistake was when as a programmer my algorithm put many products down by 0%. It was a rounding error. It was also at a time when the CEO asked everyone for ideas how to increase revenue. This context made it funny.

If they're still chasing trying to make me feel bad by calling the impostor in me, especially if the atmosphere is tense, it's because they want to get leverage for the pay.

So I ask straight up: “it could be interesting to see by how much my salary would decrease for my past mistakes, and how much value my learnings from those mistakes bring.” then take one example of a failure and seek aloud an estimation for this question.

Bottom line: don't dodge tough questions, face them straight, but be tactical about it.