Technology | 6Min Read

Boolean Recruitment: An Ultimate Guide to Source Candidate!

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What Have We Covered?

Boolean recruitment is the art of candidate sourcing that all recruiters need to master. Did you know? On average recruiters spend 13 hours a week to source candidates for a single job role.

Imagine not needing to sift through resumes for this long yet having the perfect match. In Boolean recruitment, a few simple tactics hasten the process of candidate quest. Did you know? Qualified candidates are available for just 10 days before their next hiring.

candidate search

Without even realizing you perform a Boolean search every day. How? You do that by searching for quotes or exact phrases from an article.

Likewise, google search has so much more to offer only if we learn about its complete utilization. Incorporating the Boolean search commands and operators in the search engines surfaces the right resumes from the myriads. Just type the keywords, and operators and click enter. Boom! You got the candidate you were looking for.

Boolean recruitment is necessary when the need to get the right fit intensifies. And when does it not? Come on, we all know how crucial it is to find qualified candidates to be market competitive but still, 74% of employers fail to do so.

find qualified candidates

Let's discuss what Boolean recruitment is and how is it the ultimate candidate sourcing technique.

What is Boolean Sourcing and Recruitment?

Boolean sourcing is the candidate searching, identification, and contacting process. On the other hand, Boolean recruitment is the step that follows candidate sourcing. This is the initial screening, interviewing, and candidate evaluation process. The two work hand in hand and fall under the roof of HR functions. To simplify, sourcing is the Boolean search in recruitment.

Boolean search helps in locating the qualified candidates that you prefer to have but are unable to find. Candidate searching is a big challenge because of lacking technical skills.

Candidate searching

How do Recruiters Find Potential Candidates through Boolean Recruitment?

Boolean recruitment is more like an advanced search option. The use of specific symbols and words makes up the Boolean search operators.

Using these operators means you can include and tag specific terms and keywords while excluding those which are useless. You narrow down your search results by being specific in Boolean recruitment. Did you know? 70% of the workforce is made up of passive talents worldwide.

It requires a resume update in the last 30 days to remain an active job seeker for ATS tracking. So, Boolean search picks passive job seekers through its algorithms.

passive talents worldwide

The Basic Operators of Boolean Recruitment

Now that you know what Boolean recruitment is, we are sure you want to know how Boolean search is used. The Boolean search consists of operators and modifiers defined by mathematical algorithms that help in an advanced search.

These operators are the Boolean search strings for recruiters that limit or broaden the results from the databases of Google, ATS, LinkedIn, etc.

Boolean search modifiers

 Let's begin with modifiers and learn in detail about the boolean search modifiers.

#1. Parentheses ()

Do you remember the BODMAS rule in math? Where bracketed problems were solved on a priority basis from the whole equation? Parentheses have the same role in Boolean search. They wrap up the search for the mentioned keywords.

#2. Quotation marks (" ")

Quotation marks are used to figure out the exact phrases in your search results. It is similar to how you quote dialogues, exactly and accurately. Likewise, the Boolean search surfs the same that you request in the quotation marks.

#3. Asterisk (*) or Wild card

The words that you want matching results for should be ended by an Asterisk. This is also called a wild card with truncated words through which you get all the variations of any word. 

candidates for a single job role

Boolean search moderators

Furthermore, here is how you can use Boolean search moderators. You need to capitalize them otherwise they will get acknowledged as a part of your keywords. We do not want that.

#1. AND

You use this to narrow down the search results to the specified keywords. By using AND you include all the keywords in your results.

#2. OR

You add OR between your keywords when you are looking for more than one option in your Boolean recruitment search results. The OR operator broadens your results and shows either this or that.

#3. NOT (-)

The NOT operator or the subtraction sign (–) in the Boolean search engine represents the exclusion of your second keyword and so on. When you do not seek a particular result you use the - sign or NOT.

Advanced boolean recruitment search operators

#1. Inurl/ Insite

As resume files are commonly used for candidates' portfolios, it is wise for you to find pages that include the word 'resume' in their URL. When URL possesses the keyword, it helps you stick to a particular website for your search results. These websites may be the hub for your target hires including sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. To narrow down your results, simply type without spaces in between.

Start with the basics then add operators accordingly to specify your need. This is the best technique to skim the niche websites for your potential employees. But, this doesn't work like magic rather needs proper homework. You need to know the candidates, which website they prefer for uploading resumes, the terms they commonly use, their KSAOs, etc.

Remember! The more operators you add the more filtered results you get in Boolean recruitment search.

#2. NEAR

You use this operator when you want a full coverage topic. It will search for results that include words/ phrases that are 1-10 words apart from your keyword. Briefly, by using NEAR you can reach the phrases or words that are close to each other in the resumes, websites, or any other place for your search query.


With so many documents on the internet, it gets time-consuming to filter the files. You just cannot be a pro at reviewing all the information in different file types. For your ATS to track candidate data properly, the FILETYPE operator is used in the Boolean search. By using this operator, you can get your desired file type which could either be a CV, resume, PDF or DOCS, etc.

#4. Tilde ~

This is used to search for any synonyms of the keyword attached to the tilde that will help filter multiple related results. The NOT operator can also be used in the  Tilde string to reduce unwanted results.

How to Use Boolean Search Techniques in Recruiting?

The process is as easy as ABC. You just need to know the technique of using the symbols and operators. These are added between your keywords. The operators and modifiers discussed previously just need a direction. The correct use of these in your Boolean search engine is the key. You can get the most out of your ATS by performing Boolean recruitment. Guess what? The strings do not require any specialized software or tools. You can conduct Boolean recruitment in the Google search engine alone as the first step.

Here are a few Boolean search examples that reveal the techniques recruiters use for reaching the best talent pool.

For a little background, let us assume we are looking for HR managers' resumes in Dubai.

  • AND: To specify the search for a human resource manager you will write "human resource AND manager". Here, AND connects the two keywords you are looking for. Accordingly, the results will include only those documents that consist of these two keywords.

  • OR: To include synonyms in your Boolean results, you will use the OR operator like this: "human resource manager OR Human resource administrator".

  • NOT: Use NOT to exclude irrelevant terms. For example: "manager NOT administrator"

  • Parenthesis: Use parenthesis to highlight your search focus. For example Human resource AND (Manager OR Administrator).

  • Quotation Marks: use quotation marks to search for exact phrases for Boolean recruitment. For example: "human resource manager in Dubai".

  • Asterisk: you can miss out on potential candidates because of word variations. So, use Asterisk to cover everything under the umbrella. For example, manage* will lead you to a manager, managing, management, and the like.

  • Inurl: type and then add your specific keywords and operators to reach the documents in a particular site. For example, ~resume human resource manager AND HRIS

  • Near: if you want to look for a manager that possesses broader qualities like six sigma you can write ~resume "HR manager" AND (six NEAR sigma)

  • Tilde ~: to find a resume for example you can use tilde before resume so you find all the synonyms related to the resume for example ~resume "HR manager"

Now, we will use the advanced Boolean recruitment operators in a string. The example below is one of the Boolean searches in recruitment examples that will land you a prospective HR manager.

The boolean recruitment example for HR manager

Human resource AND (manager OR administrator) AND ~resume -job -jobs -hire -hiring AND manag* AND ("Human resource information system" OR HRIS) AND (six NEAR sigma)

Benefits of Boolean Recruitment

To sum up, if you have no idea about the way to reach prospective employees and you have just started off, Boolean recruitment is all that you need. Why? You can recruit talented candidates just by using these simple techniques and learning their applicability. Moreover, this technique is cost-effective. All you need to do is practice the formulas and type the strings in the Google search engines. The results will exactly and accurately match your requirements.

Furthermore, Boolean recruitment can be carried out even if you have no prior technical knowledge. Through some simple tutorials, you can easily learn its use and for that, you do not need any expensive training. It is also a time-saving technique if you urgently want to fill up any vacancy for the desired position.

If you still have not integrated Boolean recruitment into your employment procedures, you are missing out on these benefits. Learn Boolean recruitment now!

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