I collect companions who wants to join me. My restriction is that my character must "get to know" someone before they can be recruited - so no story-less mercenaries. I even give each companion a mini-story as a reason to why they want to join my charismatic paladin. Lydia is sworn to me, so ICly I'm stuck with her. Faendal is depressed after Camilla seems to prefer Sven, so he didn't want to stay in Riverwood anymore, and thus joined me. He also is great at hunting, so whenever we camp for the night, I send him to hunt for meat and collect firewood.
Last night I met this random person called Golldir while exploring the land (no fast travel either). Helped him out against the necromancer, and he joined me after he buried his aunt. Even in his dialog he says he has nowhere else to go. But here's the twist - Golldir is not a fighter. I set his aggression to passive and confidence to cowardly. He runs away when there is a fight. In exchange for letting him follow me, he carries all our camping equipment and supplies (those stuffs are pretty heavy). Whenever we go dungeon-delving, he stays outside at our camp to mind the fort. I took away his default heavy armor and shield, and gave him leather armor and a dagger instead. I also set him to non-essential, which means I really have to look out for him - the others are protected just because my game is hard enough, and I don't upgrade their armors as part of my roleplay.
Finishing up the Companions now, not sure who to take. Thinking of Aela, just because I have too many warriors. Vilkas will be the new Harbinger, and Farkas is likely to stay with him.
---------- Post added 2013-01-21 at 06:41 PM ----------
And because we need more videos:
+1 if you can name each weapon's origins.