While looking at applicants' CVs (mostly front-end) of course it's nice to see some fun thing they did/do on the side.
Still I can't let that be a yes/no criterium.
I don't see if they did it themselves, how long it took them, how good the code is etc. It doesn't tell me anything about their qualities on the job. You can't practise enterprise-level development at home. There are no stakeholders in your kitchen.
Their employment reference letter from their past companies, the list of their projects at work or uni, and the feeling I get from the interview—those I trust more.
I'm not saying side-projects are bad. The opposite is true. They are invaluable for learning and personal development.
But they should never be required or used as employment-criterium.
You know, like at any other job.
A (lack of) side project is not a yes/no criterium. They are a good talking point during an interview because people tend to speak confidently about what they are passionate about, giving them an opportunity to shine. If they have/had one that they want to talk about, great; if they don’t, let’s move to the next question.
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