Madchatthew you've certainly for the right mindset and approach here. Clearly the only thing missing is that bit of polish to make the finished product.
You're right about developers using their previous projects as ways of getting into organisations. To me, this signals actual working knowledge and merit. A computer science degree doesn't make you a brilliant developer - that's a skill that is acquired along with experience.
That same mantra applies to the technology industry as a whole. What we typically witness is that hiring managers have no real concept of what a particular department requires in terms of a candidate - they are actually looking for keyword matches in most cases, and this is where a significant chunk of the talent pool is effectively overlooked - or worse still, totally ignored.
Those looking to hire should not rely on others to perform the vetting. Not should they simply decline someone based on what's in their CV or resume because they consider it "irrelevant". Just because it's not a direct match doesn't mean that person is unsuitable for the role. All this simply confirms is that hiring managers are dismissing those people with spark and ambition just because the quaint they have used doesn't match their somewhat insane algorithm.
As with any industry, there are always those candidates who are exceptional. My personal preference is to ask a question, and then use the response to that same question as an indicator of suitability. For example, I once asked a candidate what he would do if a printer wasn't working.
Rather than recommending the initial troubleshooting steps like checking network cables, ensuring the machine had a valid IP address, or if the printers are connected to a central printing server, that the spooler for example is running....... This guy confidently informed me that he'd reinstall Active Directory 😲
It was pretty clear that this guy want going to be a good fit based on the response. That would have been like using a bulldozer to pick up a china cup - not to mention the fallout and complete disintegration of the directory services !
My point here is that I'd have preferred a not structured approach. When I interview candidates, I'm much more interested in their thought process and methodology rather than a simple "right" answer they found during a Google search. To me, is you understand the underlying participles of how printers work, it's much easier to find the root problem and much quicker than coming up with a Draconian approach like reinstalling Windows AD.