Boolean Search in Recruitment

What is Boolean Search in Recruitment?

Boolean Search is a method of navigating search engines that uses Boolean mathematical logic and words such as “and,” “or,” and “not” to achieve powerful and focused results. Boolean Search can be used by recruiters to search various hiring platforms (LinkedIn, Google, candidate portals, etc) for the best potential candidate matches.


By searching for “Web AND Developer OR Designer NOT Programmer” we were able to harness the power of Boolean Search in Recruitment to find candidates focused on designing and refining website usability while filtering out people who only write raw code.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Boolean Search?Boolean Search is a method of refining search engine results using mathematical operators and modifiers. These linguistic tools allow for powerful search functions like combining synonymous or similar phrases, excluding similar-but-unrelated phrases, finding exact matches, and more, allowing searches to target exactly what a user is looking for rather than requiring the user to wade through less-useful results.
  • What are the most useful Boolean Search phrases?Boolean Search functions on 3 primary operators, inserted between two (or more)  keywords:
    • AND will ensure that all search results include both keywords
    • OR will ensure all search results include at least one of the keywords.
    • NOT (or the - symbol) will ensure that the following keyword is excluded from all search results.

    Boolean Search also offers a variety of modifiers to further refine search results:

    • Parentheses () allow for the use of Boolean Search operators within another Boolean Search. EG: “Data Entry AND (Journalism OR Media)” to find candidates with Data Entry experience in either the Journalism or Media fields.
    • Quotation Marks (“”) will give you only results that contain an exact match to the words or phrase inside the quotes. 
    • Asterisk (*) at the end of a root word gives “wild card” results that include any suffix variation of that root word. EG: “Pediatr*” allows for search results such as “Pediatrics,” “Pediatric medicine, “Pediatrician,” etc.
  • Why is Boolean Search useful for recruiting?Boolean Search is incredibly useful for recruiting professionals as it allows them to use Boolean operators to make their searches more inclusive (for example, searching “manager OR team leader” in resumes to find candidates that may use either of these synonyms), or easily narrow down a search to just a specific role in a specific field (for example, searching “Systems Analyist AND (finance OR banking)” to find only Systems Analystic candidates who work in the financial field).
  • What recruiting platforms use Boolean Search?While Boolean Search is most commonly used on large, general-interest search engines like Google, Boolean Search tools and techniques are often applicable to recruiting-based searches, whether on those same platforms or more specific recruiting platforms like job boards (Indeed, LinkedIn, etc) and Applicant Tracking Systems.


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From strategic talent management to the best onboarding technology, Rival offers secure platforms that enable people to thrive in a changing workplace. Contact Rival today to talk to an expert to see how we can help you attract the best talent and keep them on board and performing up to your expectations.


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