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5 Tricks to Use Boolean Search Effectively in Recruitment

5 min read

Sourcing A Candidate Who Exhibits All The Needed Skills For A Particular Job Is A Dream Of Every Recruiter.

Recruiters spend hours scouting through numerous job portals and social media platforms to find the right candidate. While artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies have come to the rescue of many recruiters, there is another tried and tested way to source your ideal candidates –  the Boolean search on search engines like Google.

Using the right Boolean operators, you can narrow down or widen your search responses. This means your search results will present you with a curated list of potential candidates who match all your search criteria. You might be using it every day unknowingly. Let’s understand which are the basic Boolean operators and some tips and tricks on how to use them to get better recruitment search results.

The basic Boolean operators


When you need to include two search criteria, use this operator. For example, if you are looking for someone who works in sales and at the managerial level then use the search string: Sales AND Manager.


If you are looking for multiple entries for your search, use this operator. For example, if you want to modify the above search for a Salesperson who could be a manager or a team lead, use the search string: Sales AND Manager OR Leader.


Sometimes more useful than the others, this operator helps to exclude a criterion. Suppose you want to hire someone at the mid-management level then you will want to eliminate the freshers from your search. The search string would be Sales AND Manager OR Leader NOT Fresher.

Tips And Tricks To Use In Your Boolean Search


If you have to set a preference, use brackets. Brackets help you to emphasize or exclude or compare your search criteria. For example, if you are looking for a Salesperson who is either a manager or a leader but not a fresher, use the following search string: Sales AND (manager OR Leader) NOT Fresher

Quotation Marks 

When you put a search term within the quotation marks, it is considered as a single term by the search engine. For example, if you search “marketing manager” within quotes the returned result documents will have the marketing manager as a single search term.


In Boolean search, there is a wildcard too! The asterisks* which allows the search to contain the stem of a word. For example, if you search market* it will return results all the words containing the word market. So, your search results would be market, marketing, marketer, etc.


Don’t ignore to use abbreviations in your search string. It helps you to discover all the potential candidates who might have used an abbreviation in their resume. For example, if you have used QA in your search string, it will help you to find a candidate who might not have included the full form i.e. quality assurance in his/her resume.

Simpler Terms

Try using shorter industry terms if you want to gather a larger talent pool. For example, if you use an engineer, your search results will have everyone with the word engineer. So, these could be engineers, engineering, engineered, etc.

Bonus Tip

Who doesn’t love something extra?! Apart from the 5 tips that are most commonly used, here is a bonus tip.

Site search on Google

This is also known as an X-ray search where you can search on a specific site for your desired skill sets. For example, if you are a recruiter, the right place to look for candidates would be LinkedIn. Or, for more specific results look for niche websites. For example, if you are looking for developers, you would like to do a niche search on GitHub.

Here is an example: 

Site:github.com (Hyderabad AND Java and developer AND Manager) – Executive.

Search results may vary to a great extent depending on the search criteria and search methods used. Developing strong search skills and search techniques will help a recruiter to unearth potential candidates from easily available sources. Using Boolean search techniques will help to get a competitive advantage.

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    Meet the author

    Keka Editorial Team

    A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.


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