Boolean Search: A Comprehensive Guide for Recruiters Looking to Excel at Hiring

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You will find numerous guides on recruiting the best employees, what job boards to post on, and what questions to ask when you first meet them. However, finding a guide in the job market that tells you how to hire the right person for a job is tricky.

Lucky for you, this post has a simple idea at the core, i.e., to take your recruiting process to the next level with the help of Basic Boolean. Many officials at large corporate firms, including recruitment centers and agencies, have started using Boolean search in recruitment.

You’re probably wondering what the benefits of this approach are and how you can implement it seamlessly across your organization. To improve your company’s hiring process as a recruiter, learn about the Basic Boolean operators that help form search strings according to the platform you’re using to find candidates. Examples of such platforms include the Google search engine and some social media platforms.

What Does Basic Boolean for Sourcing Refer to?

Basic Boolean for sourcing involves using a structured hiring process with several mathematical operators at its heart. The most Basic Boolean operators include AND, OR, and NOT. Basic Boolean operators can help you narrow down or broaden your candidate search when searching for suitable candidates to fill a job position in your organization. You may already know that LinkedIn is among the best social media platforms to help businesses connect with suitable job candidates.

Per the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report of 2016, over 87%  of recruiters like to go through potential candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. And considering how the number of social media users keeps growing, it begs the question, “how do you find the perfect candidate out of so many?” Because many people use LinkedIn and most are looking for a job, it’s pretty tricky to filter out candidates who fit your job description. In that case, Basic Boolean can ease the hiring process and take a massive burden off your shoulders.

With Basic Boolean for sourcing, you can transform the hiring process by not sourcing every candidate yourself. You can apply Basic Boolean for sourcing on nearly all platforms where employers connect with potential employees.

These platforms include LinkedIn, Google, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM). The Basic Boolean approach helps you find relevant answers to candidate search queries across search engines and platforms.

It’s even more effective when searching for candidates with specific instructions and qualities. For instance, using the Basic Boolean approach, you can find all possible candidates on LinkedIn who have listed copywriting as a skill. The exact process will prevent your search results from including candidates who don’t have the specific skill you’re looking for. You can think of Basic Boolean as a highly effective tool that helps screen major candidate-finding platforms for the best possible results to fill positions at your company.

While Basic Boolean is widely used as an algorithm to screen candidates on social media and other internet platforms, the concept originated in 1847 . Of course, mastering the approach as a recruiter with no prior experience can take a while. However, consistency can grant better results and help you acquire the most qualified talent for your organization.

Check out the basic Boolean modifiers and operators that help you acquire the most desired results when hunting for candidates on Google Search.

The Boolean Search Operators

You can carry out candidate searches using the four basic operators if you’re a professional recruiter at a high-level position and unaware of Basic Boolean for sourcing. Keep in mind that the first three in the small list below are the main ones:

1. AND

It helps you broaden and extend your search queries by adding several keywords at once. Through the “AND” operator, you can include different tags and keywords into a search query. Let’s say you want a content writer, but you know that some people refer to themselves as content creators, even though they’re experts. So, your search string using the “AND” creator will look like this:

Content writer AND creator

You don’t always have to specify this Boolean search operator on LinkedIn, Google, or other job-posting sites. You can add space between the terms or keywords to represent the “AND” operator.

2. OR

You may use the “OR” operator when looking for specific skills in candidates’ profiles or alternative skills. The OR string search will provide results that carry either one or all specified keywords. The search query using the OR operator looks like this, for example:

Content AND creator OR writer OR developer

You can also use the OR operator to pick candidates out of a search query that lists down their skills using different spellings, such as:

Graphic Design AND Adobe AND Photoshop OR Photoshop AND Light Room OR Lightroom

You can use the “|” pipe character to represent the OR operator on several platforms, including Monster, Bing, Google, and LinkedIn.

3. NOT or – (the hyphen)

To narrow down your search results, you can also use the NOT operator, another primary operator of the Basic Boolean for sourcing candidates. For example, if you’re looking for search results that show candidates with skills such as content creator/writer but not an editor. Your search query to eliminate results with the “editor” keyword as a skill will look like the following using the NOT operator:

Content AND creator OR operator, NOT editor

You can use a hyphen to represent the NOT operator in your advanced Boolean search strings on platforms like LinkedIn and Google. With that said, your search query will look like this:

Content creator OR writer –editor

4. Brackets []

In simple words, brackets are helpful Basic Boolean operators. It helps you attach multiple search strings and prioritize your search results as per your preferences. Since you can group various search strings, you can view candidates with several skills to find the ideal candidate for your organization’s job position. Let’s say you’re looking for an expert who is either a designer or software developer but must know the JAVA computer language. Therefore, your query must allow results with either a developer or designer, but it must have JAVA.

Here’s a more elaborate search string with a proper explanation:

[Developer OR designer] AND Java

Notice that both developer and designer are in the bracket, but JAVA is out of it. It specifies that JAVA knowledge is necessary for both candidates, developers, and designers. But if you require a designer but the developer must have JAVA knowledge, the Boolean search string might look something like this:

[Developer AND Java] OR designer

5. Quotation Marks ” “

You can use quotation marks if you’re searching for a complete phrase in your search queries to find the ideal candidates. For instance, if you want to search results to contain profiles that list “customer service” as a skill but not “customer” and “service” separately, you can use quotation marks. The search string will show pages in results with both terms. It’s more helpful when using Basic Boolean for sourcing passive candidates.

Benefits of Using Basic Boolean for sourcing

You can skim basic Boolean for sourcingcandidates through huge databases like LinkedIn, Google, CRMs, or ATS. Search strings composed of Basic Boolean operators leverage massive databases quickly to find the best possible results per the requirements. For one, there’s no question about the time-saving benefit of usingBasic Boolean for sourcing candidates on powerful platforms like LinkedIn and Google.

It’s a powerful tool that all experienced and competitive recruiters use frequently. Per the calculated statistics on Yello, it takes nearly 3-4 weeks  for a single hiring process to complete. Sometimes, finding adequate candidates for an open position can be challenging, especially when looking for the ideal candidate with all the prescribed qualities and skills. However, with search strings using Basic Boolean for sourcing, you can find candidates nearest to the set criteria of an “ideal” candidate.

Here’re some of the main benefits of using Basic Boolean for sourcing:

  • Helps uncover hidden talent on a specific website
  • It saves enormous time that would otherwise be wasted sifting through stacks of profiles on platforms like Google or LinkedIn.
  • Offers targeted and highly relevant search results forming a pool of ideal candidates
  • Optimized and specific Google search strings find only the needed candidates that fit the set criteria.
  • Expands recruiters’ reach on several platforms

Now, let’s talk about applying Basic Boolean for sourcing the best candidates on different platforms, including Google, LinkedIn, CRMs, and ATS.

Recruiters Can Excel at Hiring: Top Tips to Basic Boolean for sourcing.

Through different platforms, you may get different search results. However, using more operators and layers in your search strings will provide more specific results. Here’s a list of tips that can help you get started with the hiring process on an entirely new level compared to the traditional “manual” one:

Use Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word for Storing Boolean Search Strings

Once you’ve completed crafting the entire search string, it will take you forever to find a missing “in your search string. Are you wondering if there are any consequences of missing out on a single quotation mark in your entire search string? Well, you will see nothing but a series of wrong results pop up on your screen!

Plus, recruiters are searching for the right talent here and there in the competitive business world. Also, 60% of recruiters  suggest that they lose candidates even before they’ve scheduled the first interview. MS Word or MS Excel will help you detect errors or missing characters in your search strings.

Try to Use Synonyms Maximally

When creating search strings to deploy on multiple platforms, it’s best to include as many synonyms as possible. Using synonyms of the keywords and terms already present in your existing search strings can increase the chances of finding that “ideal” candidate to fill the position in your organization.

Consider Including Non-Language Fanatics and Abbreviations

You may already know that many people don’t spell the whole word, such as the job title. They don’t state their skills, abilities, and qualities, including job titles with grammatical coherence. For instance, when going through queries for “project manager,” you may notice that someone has highlighted their “project management” skill as “PM” instead. That’s where synonyms, abbreviations, and non-phonetic language comes in. Since it’s easy to use theBasic Boolean for sourcing candidates, you can refer to many abbreviations you think are necessary.

Don’t Ignore the Unpolished Profiles

Not every candidate has the time to keep polishing their profiles frequently. They may get busy or lose confidence in specific platforms but want to keep the hope alive that the right employer coming across their profile. Not all “perfect” candidates use the most popular platforms like LinkedIn. Try to extend your candidate-sourcing search strings to other platforms as well. Don’t forget; that a bad profile doesn’t always equal a lousy candidate.

Skip the Search Result Restrictions on LinkedIn

As per the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016 , nearly 87% of recruiters regularly search for the best candidates on LinkedIn. On the other hand, LinkedIn is so massive that it houses the profiles of 40 million job seekers  looking for vacancies every week. But, LinkedIn lets you see no more than a handful of search results, typically restricted to 1000 results.

However, you can go beyond the search results restrictions if you use search filters when using your crafted search strings to find the “ideal” candidate. For instance, you can start your search with a specific area and then move on to where you think you might find the ideal candidates.

Skip the Search Result Limits on LinkedIn

You may already know that you can only see a thousand candidates through a LinkedIn search. However, we have found a trick to gain insight into more candidates. Use multiple searches that are mutually exclusive. For example, if you have to filter by location, start in the South and move further and further to the north of the country using search terms.

The Takeaway

Basic Boolean search is highly logical. That’s because it saves a lot of time and helps you find the specific results for your queries. The more layers and operators you insert in every search string, the narrower and more direct your search results. As explained earlier, you can search for multiple skillsets and alternatives using Basic Boolean operators.

You can also exclude the type of candidates you don’t wish to view or choose for interviews. However, it might take some time before you’re an expert in making the most out of Basic Boolean for sourcing. As Robert Collier says, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the different sourcing strategies, contact us today !


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