Karl A L Smith

human knowledge belongs to the world

#Recruiters requesting #UX #portfolio #breach #IPR

Recruiters requesting a UX portfolio can cause a breach of Intellectual Property Rights

So I posted this as an update on LinkedIn I got some great responses from people who read their contracts and got a whole load of really negative responses from people who did not understand the statement so I will try again here. I make no legal determination as part of this post, I am simply reporting an actual event.

The Background

First off this is from several actual experiences, years ago in one instance where a recruiter was found to be in Breach of Contract as the Contractor they supplied held on to client work (not in the public domain) and digitally published it as a portfolio breaching the Intellectual Property Rights of the Recruiters end Client. My involvement was discovering the content, explaining the context to legal teams and later hearing about the results.

The recruiter settled out of court, they were sued for $610,000,000, they paid $9,000,000 on the Government Contract, I don’t know what happened to the contractor, their portfolio was shut down in 10 minutes by the server company (a very well known one) after they were contacted, they also supplied a list of every IP that had visited the site.

This is About UX not UI

Second this is about UX not UI if you don’t know the difference here is post explaining it The User Interface (UI) is not the User Experience (UX).

So what is in a UX portfolio?

Method Statements
Research Raw Data
Research Analysis and First Findings
Market Research
UX Research
Business Research
UX Requirements Specification
Key Interaction Models (also known as Eco-systems)
User Logic Models
Demographics and Personas
UX Innovations based upon Insights from the Data, for Interaction Behaviour, Market Targeting/Capture, New Products or Services
Proposed Human Centered Business Models
UX Recruiting Protocol
UX Concept Testing Methods
UX Concept Testing Analysis
Project Concepts
Interaction Design
Interaction Design Testing

If you understand what UX is then the statement below seems quite reasonable.

The customer experience becomes the intellectual copyright of the client company, showing how it works to anyone opens up an unlimited financial risk to anyone who sees it. Hiding the client name is less important than exposing details of the customer experience that has been created.

One caveat to the above statement, clients cannot own the moral rights unless stipulated in the B2B recruiter contract and the contractor sub-contract, they remain as a veto for the contractor. Also the methods and IP of the contractor don’t become property of the client or the recruiter unless the contractor agrees and is paid for them (a separate contract, from their service contract, with another and more substantial fee).

If a recruiter requires the viewing of confidential information in their role adverts, they are liable as a participant in the contract breach.

Jophy covers it really well here in his update, in the corporate area information security is critical in UX projects disks are required to be wiped after projects and are subject to random checks by security. Having a copy of a project that has been completed for a client or that you leave is considered to be a form of theft.

Jophy Joy UX Information Security
Jophy Joy UX Information Security

When recruiters ask for portfolio’s it would be better that they stipulated personal projects only. Or that they change their contracts to allow contractors to show the work they produce as part of their portfolio.

In turn the contract between the clients and the recruiters will need to be changed as that is the point at which a breach is determined to have taken place from a client perspective.

Todd Zaki Warfel said portfolios aren’t the problem.

I recently interviewed a few MA grad candidates. One of the best portfolio reviews came from someone who’s showed 2-3 personal projects. We use the review sessions to dig into process and the candidates thinking and doing. Having them use examples they are intimately familiar with is a good way to gain insight.

And that kind of exposes the problem, the recruitment industry has built up with a reliance portfolio’s when experienced recruiters prefer to understand the candidates skill, than look at a portfolio of things the candidate may or may not have created.

I’m only providing this information to help people, if you don’t want to know, then fine. Please don’t respond with self righteous explanations of why your practices are safe, just enjoy your view of the sand.

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