GitHub can be really useful to get a sense of what someone is learning, what tech they have used, to see their code-style, etc. It can be a good talking point, E.g: What made you choose this framework? Why did you architect things this way?
Having a good GitHub profile is just one aspect of a candidate's ability, but it can be an important one.
I am usually involved in front-end/cross-functional candidate interviews. It depends what role you're hiring for, but as an example: if an engineer has been working in the front-end for 10+ years and can't walk me through a single code example from their GitHub profile, then that same information has to be teased out in other ways.
If you are going to interview for a job as a software engineer, it's reasonable for your prospective employer to want to see an example of your work. Candidates that can show lines of code they have written and demonstrate a good understanding of what they did, will obviously do better than candidates that show nothing.
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