I worked in a big company, and was laid off during the company restructure, along with 2000 other employees. This was well covered in the news.
It was definitely not because of my poor performance; on the contrary, I believe I did such a good job on my project that the company considered it didn't need further improvement and my position was eliminated.
The second reason I may have been chosen to be laid off is that when the time came to make cuts, the manager kept his favourites and let the others go. I didn't have a bad relationship with my boss, just a normal working relationship, but I wasn't one of the favoured ones.
I am in a popular field, and hold a doctorate degree, so a lot of employers have expressed interest in me. I have answered both technical and soft questions well in every interview.
However, in the final stages, when I get asked my reasons for leaving my last job and I tell them I was laid off, their faces suddenly change. No matter how I explain it to them, they always believe I must have performed badly or been unable to get along with other people. They ask me for a reference letter from my former manager (which I can get), suddenly doubt my technical skills, and want to dig very deeply into my personal information.
It's clearly not appropriate to say to my potential new manager that I was let go due to favouritism. I have told them that 2000 employees were let go at the same time as me, but the potential employers always seem to wonder, "if you are so technically strong, why did you get laid off?"
I fully understand the importance of being honest, but I am running out of options here. I am strongly considering lying in the next interview I get, and saying that I am still employed. Is this wise? If not, how else can I stop them from doubting my abilities when they hear I got laid off?