Your comment "If this work is not interesting enough for you to read about or experiment with on your own time, why would I think that you will be engaged or even interested in the job we would hire you for?" speaks volumes....and not good ones.
Personally, I would much rather have someone who has a life outside of programming. I personally find it refreshing and enjoyable to know that my senior programmers spend their evening and weekend time (a) with their wife/husband and/or children just interacting with them, (b) reading books on subjects that will enrich them in other areas of life (there ARE other areas you know), (c) or playing sports / exercising.
How incredibly boring to know that my developers code all day on work-related issues, then go home and code all evening and weekend (abandoning their families to "entertain themselves"). Three words pop immediately to mind..."Get a Life".
You would think that the person would engaged with and interested in the job for which you hired them because when they are at work, they focus on work, and when they are not at work, they exercise other areas of their lives and interact with [gasp]...people.
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