I’m looking for some different things in an interview. I’m looking to assess a client’s skill for the job (which is always going to be difficult to do reliably and consistently) and I’m looking for what motivates them. What makes them want to get up in the morning? What do they care about, what excites them and what lengths have they gone to before to chase a passion? How do they talk about things that really interest them and how do they learn more about those things?
Side projects are only one way that manifests (regardless of what field that project is in) and we, as an industry, put far, far, far too much emphasis on them. If someone’s time is limited or their non-work commitments are heavy, they might simply not get a chance to do more than listen to podcasts about a subject or read magazines/news snippets about it. And for me that’s fine.
If they can convey their interest in something, indicate their willingness and ability to learn, they’re giving me far more about themselves than someone who shows you a solid dark green GitHub activity chart and says “Look at me!”
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