Understanding Boolean Search in Recruitment – Complete Guide
Table of Contents

Keywords are essential when you are searching for something specific online. You would type in the necessary words in the search engine and expect results. The results may or may not be what you are looking for. 

If you find what you are looking for, you hit the jackpot. If you did not, maybe it is time to change the strategy. This is where Boolean search can come in. Boolean search has been a staple for online search for many years. Interestingly enough, more and more recruiters are also using this search tool as they look for candidates to fill open positions within their organizations. 

The advent of Boolean Search in recruitment has opened up a new frontier of possibilities for finding potential candidates. Yet not many know how to use this feature on Google and LinkedIn. 

What is Boolean Search in Recruitment?

Boolean search is based on Boolean algebra, which George Boole invented in 1854. It is a system of logic that allows you to express concepts and ideas with the use of words or symbols.

In a traditional search, you would have to enter every keyword and filter individually. With Boolean Search, you enter one word or phrase and select any additional filters relevant to your query.

Boolean search efficiently finds the right candidates using words or phrases that match their skills, experience, and education. 

For example: “Java developer AND project manager” will only show candidates who have both Java development experience and project management skills.

Using Boolean Search Queries (BSQs), recruiters can make their job much easier by quickly filtering out irrelevant results without having to go through each keyword filter step-by-step.

Read – What is Data-Driven Recruitment

4 Basic Boolean Search Operators

Basic Boolean operators are used to create more complex searches. They use the logical principles of ANDs and ORs to help you find what you want faster and are easy to use once you understand how they work.

#1 AND

The AND operator requires that two or more terms be included in your search query. In other words, it is a way to narrow down your results by ensuring all the terms are present in each result before displaying any results from that query.

The best ways to use AND statements are:

  • Limit your search results to those that contain both terms (e.g., time AND The Hulk)
  • To find synonyms of a term that have the same meaning as another word or phrase (e.g., time AND watch)

#2 OR

The OR operator allows for flexibility in your search by including multiple phrases without having them all appear together in one document at once. This means that a document might have either “green” or “blue” but not both at once. 

However, since neither term is excluded from showing up on its own, we can still get back anything with one or both terms!

The best ways to use OR statements are:

  • To find all the different ways a word or phrase can be used in one document.
  • To narrow down results that may have multiple words but not all of them in every result.
  • For example, if you searched for “blue car,” you would probably want to include both blue and car.

#3 NOT

The NOT operator ensures that its associated word is not in your documents. It should only be used when multiple words are being searched and when an exact match needs to be made.

The best ways to use NOT statements are:

  • To exclude negative words.
  • To exclude specific words, such as the names of companies or people.
  • For example, if you are searching for “car insurance rates,” and you want to make sure that no results come up with your competitor’s name in them.

#4 XOR

The XOR operator is the same as an OR operator, except that it will only show results if both terms exist in the document. XOR can be essential to creating a more accurate search, as it helps to differentiate between words that are synonyms.

For example, if you wanted to find all of the documents about “cheese” and “curds,” then using the OR operator would result in many irrelevant results from other websites because most of them will use both terms.

However, XOR will only show results for sites containing both terms.

3 Basic Boolean Search Query Modifiers

There are three basic Boolean search modifiers: ASTERISK, PARENTHESES, and QUOTATION MARKS:

#1 ASTERISK (*)

The asterisk is the most common search query modifier. It means “any,” and it can be used in conjunction with any word. Putting an asterisk after a word or phrase means “any word from this group of words will work.”

For example, if you are searching for apartments for rent and want to make sure that your results include all types of apartments: apartment, condominium, townhouse, duplex, etc., you would type: apartments for rent*

This will return all results that include any word from the list.

#2 PARENTHESES ()

Parentheses are used for more specific searches. For example, putting parentheses around a word or phrase means “only this word or phrase will work.”

For example, if you want to search for apartments that have parking but don’t care whether they are furnished or unfurnished: apartments with parking (unfurnished).

#3 QUOTATION MARKS (“”)

To search for exact phrases, quotation marks are used.

For example, if you want to search for “apartments with parking:” or “apartments with parking.”

This will return all results, including the phrase “apartments with parking,” exactly as written.

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How to do a Boolean Search for Recruitment on Google?

You can use this search operator to perform a Boolean search on Google. This advanced technique helps you find information on a particular keyword, such as “program coordinator,” by combining multiple keywords and operators.

#1 inurl

You can use this search operator to find websites that contain the phrase “program coordinator.”

For example, inurl:program coordinator

This will return results from Google’s index that contain the phrase “program coordinator” anywhere on a site.

#2 intitle

You can use this search operator to find websites that contain the phrase “program coordinator” in the title of a page.

For example: intitle:program coordinator

This will return results from Google’s index that contain the phrase “program coordinator” anywhere on a site, but only if it is in the title of a webpage.

#3 site

You can use this search operator to find websites related to your query.

For example, site:programcoordinator.com intitle:program coordinator

This will return results from Google’s index that contain the phrase “program coordinator” anywhere on a site, but only if it is on pages related to www.programcoordinator.com

Examples of Google Boolean Search Strings for Recruiters

Here are examples of two variations that can be used for Google Boolean Search String for Recruiters:

Resume / Generic Strings:

The following are some examples of strings recruiters can use to find resumes on Google.

1) resume/intitle:” resume”/site:.gov

2) resume/intitle:” resume”/site:edu

3) resume/intext:resume

4) resume inurl:/resume

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Job Title String Examples:

1) (“project manager” OR “project management” OR PMP)

2) (“senior project manager” OR “project lead” OR “senior project lead” OR “project leader”) AND (PMP)

3) (“program coordinator” OR “program management” OR PMP)

4) (“assistant director of development and communications” OR ADDC

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How to do a Boolean Search for Recruitment on LinkedIn?

When you search for a keyword, LinkedIn will automatically find results based on what you have entered. 

Use Boolean operators to narrow your search criteria or ensure that certain words appear in your results.

The search operators are limited to the following on LinkedIn:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Job Title
  • Company Name
  • Job Function
  • Location

This limitation means that you can only search for one attribute at a time. For example, if you want to find candidates who are both in the sales and marketing departments, you will need to enter two separate Boolean search queries.

Check – How to post a job on LinkedIn for free

Examples of LinkedIn Boolean Search Strings

Recruiters can use LinkedIn Boolean strings to search for candidates in specific industries, locations, and job titles.

LinkedIn Boolean search is case-sensitive and requires the use of AND as well as OR statements. 

For example, if you want to find all the people who have applied for a technical position at your company that works in California and has a master’s degree or higher (or “1st level MSc”)—then the following string would work: 

Technical positions AND California AND Master’s OR 1st level MSc.

Other examples:

  • If you want to see all profiles that include either of two keywords (e.g., “Java” OR “C++”), add a plus sign (+).
  • To find profiles with both keywords (e.g., “Java” AND “C++”), add an ampersand (&).
  • If used at the beginning of a Boolean statement (i.e., before any other operator), NOT negates whatever follows it. 
  • For example, NOT Java – will show all profiles that do not list Java as one of their skill sets or roles held in previous roles/jobs (including those with no skill sets listed).
  • You can also use quotes around specific terms if they have spaces within them; e.g., “Data scientist” will show all members without skill sets but who have been described as data scientists on their profile/CV.

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Wrap Up

When used correctly, Boolean Search can help find the right candidate with the required skill sets. However, it is also necessary to know how to use it effectively. It creates a structure for the search and shows you the desired results. 

FAQs on Boolean Search Recruitment

What is Boolean search in Naukri, for example?

Naukri is a job portal that has a very simple search engine. You can use Boolean search strings to find candidates who match your requirements most efficiently.

Here is how it works:

– You can only use one operator at a time in a Boolean expression. So, for example, if you want to find all jobs in Accounting AND Software Development, your Boolean expression would look like “Accounting” OR “Software Development.”

– The operators available are AND (all words must be present), OR (at least one word needs to be present), NOT (exclude this word from results), and NEAR (the words must appear within 10 words of each other).

Is Google a Boolean?

Google is not a Boolean. It is a search engine; any information about how Google works should be approached with that in mind.

Google uses Boolean search to locate pages that match your query. When you type something into Google’s search bar, it will take your keywords (the ones you typed) and look for matches on sites across the Web. Google then ranks these results based on how relevant they are to each other and how likely they satisfy your query—a process known as the PageRank algorithm.

As part of this process, Google also uses link structures from sites around the Web to determine relevance between pages. This means that if two different websites link back and forth, both will be considered more relevant by Google since they are linking back and forth together in what we call “link equity.”

What Are The 3 Search Strategies?

1) Exact Match
This search strategy is the most basic and commonly used. The user searches for a specific word or phrase, and Google will return results based on that exact term, no matter how many times it appears in a page’s content. 

For example, if someone were to type in “pizza” into Google’s search box, they would see results for websites related to pizza. If someone were to type in “best pizza in Chicago,” they would see results only for those pages that mention both “pizza” and “Chicago.”

2) Phrase Match
Phrase match is very similar to exact match, except that it allows for slight variations in the search query. For example, if someone were to type in “best pizza in Chicago,” they would see results for pizza-related websites. If someone were to type in “pizza,” they would see results for any page that mentioned the word “pizza.”

3) Broad Match
Broad match is similar to phrase match, except that it allows for more variations in the search query. For example, if someone were to type “pizza” into Google’s search box, they would see results for websites related to pizza and pages that mention other types of food, such as pasta or sandwiches.

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