No enthusiasm need not apply.

I recently sat on an interview panel for a creative agency, who was interviewing for a Project Manager position. They had a candidate who didn't have any formal PM experience, and was coming back into the workforce later in life, now that her kids are grown. This is not an uncommon situation. And she was actually a pretty strong candidate on paper, regardless of the no direct experience. It wasn't her lack of experience that didn't get her the job. It wasn't that she was coming in later in life, to an industry that typically is a younger crowd. (As a matter of fact, I have a soft spot for people changing careers or re-entering the workforce later in life).

What made my mind up almost immediately was her opening statement when asked, "Tell us what you are looking for, and why you want to work with us." The response began with "Well, I need a job." Red flag, warning lights, brakes screeching to a halt! From there, the entire rest of the interview lacked any enthusiasm in her responses towards being a project manager, the industry, the company she was interviewing with, and it seemed like towards working in general.

Job seekers, regardless of where you are in your career, never, ever use the phrase "I need a job" when interviewing. (If that is your only criteria for your work by the way, then you should probably do a little soul-searching). If you are looking for a career, employers want candidates who are excited, who are passionate about the job, about the company, about improving their skills. They want candidates who are considering being with that company for a long-term commitment. Think of interviewing like dating. If you go on a date with someone, and ask what are they looking for in a relationship, and their response is "I'm just looking for a partner, I don't really care who or why", would you go on a second date with them?

I'm not suggesting to fake enthusiasm in interviews in order to get the job. I'm saying, be enthusiastic about where you are applying and what you are applying for. Go in to the interview curious about the position and the company. After all, this is where you will spend more than a third of your day. Be honest with yourself about if this is a place you really want to work. All of this will come through in your interview if it isn't. You can get by on little to no experience if you are open to learning. You can't "fake it till you make it" with your enthusiasm however. And if you aren't excited about this job or company, why are you looking there in the first place?