Boolean Search Fundamentals For Recruiters - Guide
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BOOLEAN FUNDAMENTALS FOR RECRUITERS
Boolean Logic is named after the UK mathematician George Boole (1815-64) who in 1847 introduced mathematical (symbolic) logic, the foundation on which electronic computing is based.
USING BOOLEAN FOR RECRUITMENT
Boolean Logic is fundamental to internet search engines (Google, Bing etc), resume databases (Monster, Dice, Seek etc), applicant tracking systems / internal databases and social media.
As a recruiter, correctly being able to utilise the three key Boolean Operators and associated Modifiers empowers you to better search large candidate (or client) data repositories to find the specific information that is closest to what you are looking for.
The more AND operators used the more specific the results
OR operators generally produce broader results
Nearly all systems have an implied AND function, making Project Manager the same as Project AND Manager
Although some programs support operators without capitalisation it is highly recommended to always use capitalised letters
A few systems only support Boolean symbols, so in if your search string doesn’t work as expected try the symbol
Project AND Manager AND Sydney
Results that contain all three of these words. It is more practical to take advantage of the implied AND operators and instead write this as Project Manager Sydney
Project OR Manager OR Sydney
Results that contain any one or more of these words (the OR operator works as an and / or function, showing results that have only one of the search terms or both together)
Project Manager NOT Sydney
Results that contain both the words Project and Manager but not the word Sydney
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Quotation Marks “” Asterisk * Parenthesis ()
Some applications don’t support the Asterisk modifier, instead construct OR statements to search for all variations that someone could mention each term you’re searching for. For example: Manager OR Management instead of Manage*
“Project Manager” Sydney
Results that contain the words Project and Manager together as a phrase plus the word Sydney
Project Manage* Sydney
Results that contain the words Project Sydney and any word that begins with Manage, for example Management, Managed and Manages
(Project OR Manager) Sydney
Results that contain either the word Project or Manager plus the word Sydney
STRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Operators and Modifiers can be used together to form search strings. For recruiters it can be tempting to put every job requirement in a search string, this will inevitably reduce the amount of results.
It is recommended to experiment with multiple search strings, until you find the string that works best for your specific candidate search. Good recruiters will always use multiple strings to ensure all possible search variables have been covered.
“Project Manager” “Information Technology” (Sydney OR Melbourne)
This will search for a profile with the specific phrase Project Manager, the phrase Information Technology and the word Sydney and / or the word Melbourne
“Project Manage*” -Construction -(Brisbane OR Canberra)
This search will include profiles that have phrases beginning with Project Manage (Project Manager, Project Management, Project Managers), don’t mention Construction and Brisbane or Canberra. Even though this search is very different from the first it is likely it will produce similar results.