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I agree with your comments, but let me share my 2c on "trendy framework bs".

Most of interviews I've done to candidates ended up in discussing technology trends and googling around for cool open source projects, libraries and so. This, to me, is a good indicator - as long as you bring them up when discussing relevant problems, this means you thought about a problem and researched prior art to avoid re-inventing the wheel.

Also we tend to end up discussing pro and cons of any given technology and so on. This at the end is a key indicator you're talking to a passionate developer. And passion usually makes someone good at programming.

When it comes to soft skills, usually having such a kind of discussion you can figure out also someones behaviour in most work scenarios (to me, having a good "discussion" mode means you're likely to be fit for team work).

Reinventing the wheel is a cliche I have grown to detest. I have found that cliche is abused 9 times out of 10 to avoid the deep dive into a problem. On the other hand, approaching the problem again allows the developer to consider the precision of current solutions or consider a simpler solution. Good seniors aren’t afraid of making decisions.

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