Why are software developers rude
Is it appropriate to ask a software developer for extra hours on side projects and open source (as a hobby)?
Wouldn't ask a question as stated
I don't see it as particularly appropriate or helpful.
Some people see programming as a mark of passion by hobbyists, but some really passionate people put all of their programming effort into their work. It's not a lack of passion, it's a lack of time for external projects.
There are potential privacy concerns. The only way to verify a hobbyist's claims is by granting access to their repository. But now you know his online identity (or at least have the opportunity to narrow it down significantly).
From personal experience
I work closely with a department that has several excellent programmers in its ranks. One of them is your stereotypical open source fanatic and he contributes to several FOSS projects - a huge hobbyist. The other is a strong family man and does not code outside of work.
The bottom line is that hobby programming is not a strong indicator of passion and skill.
If someone has done a first-class job in the context of their hobby, this is worth knowing. Instead of asking if applicants code as a hobby, ask if they've worked on projects they're particularly proud of.
You can tell passion by the way they react, and that passion can be due to either their work or their hobby. Plus, they can do this without worrying about whether their hobby is being scrutinized or if you're pushing for excessive overtime.
This gives you a natural introduction to a follow-up question. If they are proud of something, you can ask for details - and you could try to relate that to the work your company does to sell yourself to the candidate. If they say they are not particularly proud of anything, ask why not or what type of work they would be proud of. Again, if your company has what it's looking for, you have the option to sell yourself.
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