I took redundancy from the civil service at the end of 2011. Due to MIL and my mum being ill, I had to delay job hunting and lived off my pay off. I am now back into looking for work and it's soooo demoralising.
I've just had another phone call telling me I was unsuccessful. The feedback is simply that someone else had more relevant experience to the job, but that I scored very highly and was rated as 2nd place.
I did ask a few subtle questions and I can tell from the tone of voice and answers that it really was down to the experience in the end.
I think my main problem is that the civil service, until recently, liked managers to be jack of all trades, so I have finance, training administration and even some HR experience but I am not an expert in any of these (I am not an accountant nor do I have the CIPD qualification, for example).
So I have experience that you'd expect from someone with a degree, without the degree!
If anyone has any tips to get around this issue, I'd be grateful, meanwhile I am applying for jobs slightly below the level I used to work, in the hope of at least getting in and working up again. Otherwise, I'm letting off some steam here, as I do have 2 interviews later this week.
I know books aren't for everyone but i can really recommend a book by John Lees called The Interview Expert. It's a small book which covers all the aspects of preparing for interview. It's incredibly thorough & really gets beneath the surface. He also points out that if you are getting interviews you are nearly there! (I know though, so near yet so far). Good luck - I have had loads of interviews lately, am hoping to get an offer shortly. It has taken for ever.