Boolean Search — Introduction
The beginner’s guide to Boolean Search options
Want to learn the basics of how to use Boolean Search?
So you have right in front of you a very concise and brief introduction to the world of this recruiting tool, which will ensure that you gain the knowledge you need to continue developing your recruiting skills. Let’s go!
What is Boolean Search and why is it so important?
In short, with Boolean Search, Recruiters have the ability to more effectively find candidates who will meet the requirements for the positions. This tool also allows them to look for candidates who are not possible to fish out through traditional recruitment methods. So it boils down to the belief that without Boolean Search, the efficiency of recruitment processes decreases significantly.
Boolean Search is based on the work of British mathematician — George Boole, who is the creator of a theory called Boolean logic. Its premise is that all variables are either true or not/on or off. This logic is still the basis of all digital devices (it exists in almost every line of computer code).
Working on Boolean searches allows for satisfactory search results from a wide range of software — including LinkedIn, many job portals and Google.
These operators are words and symbols. Boolean Search involves the proper combination of keywords and the 3 main operators: AND, OR and NOT. The goal of such actions is to quickly filter searches and reach the right candidates through relevant results. Boolean thus allows you to reject unsuitable candidates through appropriate phrases.
The most important thing in understanding how this tool works, is to master the 6 components, such as:
An important note is that there is no limit to the frequency of use of any of the given elements in a search, so you are free to create specifically tailored search strings. Also remember to write operators in all upper case letters!
AND provides search results that contain both or all keywords. It is useful to use this operator when you want results that contain 2 or more keywords.
Important to note — the more criteria you add with this operator, the fewer will appear in searches. So it’s worth narrowing your search using AND.
Example: organic AND vegan AND bio
OR ensures the submission of results that contain at least one of the keywords.
Important to note — this operator works well when looking for people who describe their experience and skills in a different way, such as consultant OR consulting OR consult.
Example: neoliberalism OR social liberalism
NOT ensures the providing of the first of the keywords, to the exclusion of the second. It is worth keeping an eye on the correct order when using this operator.
Important to note — this operator is useful when you care about one keyword and absolutely about another.
Example: recruitment NOT HR
Brackets are necessary to create more complex search chains. They allow you to group keywords and control the order in which they are searched.
Important to note — in practice, it looks like keywords and operators in parentheses are searched first, followed by keywords outside the parentheses.
Additional info — you can use more than one pair of parentheses!— the results will be filtered based on the innermost parenthetical keywords, then the keywords in the outer parentheses, and finally the keyword(s) outside the brackets.
Example: sales (director OR manager)
Example: (talent OR hr) AND recruitment
By default, the system looks for a specific phrase entered in the search field, such as “programmer.” If you want to search for a specific phrase, not just a selected word, you must use quotation marks, such as “programmer.net” or “senior accountant.”
Important to note — quotation marks are useful when considering two or more words in a search that need to stay together, like “Human Resources” or “Junior Assistant.” Such an operator essentially defines several words as one exact term, allowing you to be more precise.
Example: “system manager”
The asterisk comes in handy at the end of a keyword when you want to include all its variations. This is a very useful feature, as it provides a thorough overview without omitting accounts described with variations of the word, but still ones that may interest us.
Important to note — this operator is important when you want to get results with a typed keyword or other words starting with these letters.
Example: recruit* = recruiter, recruitment, recruiting
That’s it! We have reviewed the basic functions of Boolean Search, which is a great base for further exploration of its capabilities. There are also other operators — much less common, but they are also worthy of interest once you have mastered the ones we have described. There are also other rules for using Boolean capabilities on different search engines, but this is a more advanced topic, which we also plan to deal with in some time! Thanks for reading!
Words by Kinga Kuśnierz, Content Writer at Altimetrik Poland