Today, a shocking 73% of candidates are passive job seekers. While they may be open to learning about new opportunities, they aren’t actively seeking connections with recruiters. Unless you are using a proactive approach to connect with these professionals, finding your ideal fit for an open position is going to be a lengthy and frustrating process.

Luckily there is an effective solution for sourcing top-notch matches efficiently. When you need to find high-quality candidates quickly, a Boolean search can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. You can narrow down your talent pool with ease, locating professionals who are exact skill, experience and education matches based on the role you need to fill.

If you are a recruiter and want to make the most of the Boolean search, here’s what you need to know.

What a Boolean Search Is

A Boolean search is an advanced approach to conducting searches, typically online or in certain tech solutions, that allows you to use criteria to filter candidates. It can be used on search engines, social media platforms, resume databases, professional directories and applicant tracking systems (ATSs).

With a Boolean search, you use a combination of operators (keywords) and modifiers (symbols) to narrow down search results. Only those who fit the criteria remain, ensuring every candidate you see matches the parameters.

How a Boolean Search Outperforms Basic Searches

With a Boolean search, you can increase the relevancy of your search results. For example, if you are looking for a graphic designer for a position in Seattle and put “graphic designer resume Seattle” into Google, you’ll get a bunch of results that don’t meet your needs. You might see vacancy announcements, recruitment agency websites, resume templates, job search tips and more options that have nothing to do with your goal.

However, with a Boolean search string, you can get better results from Google. For example, adding “-template” to your search criteria, it will eliminate pages that feature the word “template.” The “-“ means you want to exclude the word that follows – in this case, “template” – from the results.

Basic Boolean Search Operators

By using operators, you can create a search string that includes or eliminates various words or phrases. First, by placing “AND” between two words, you’ll limit the results to those that only include both of the words you listed.

Next, writing “NOT” between two words means you want results that include the first word, but not the second one. For example, searching “resume NOT template” will give you listings that have the word “resume” but don’t say “template” in the content.

Finally, if you use “OR” between two words, you are saying that your results can contain either of those phrases to qualify. For instance, you might use “programming OR coding” to look for developers with certain skills.

Just make sure you write the operators in uppercase. Otherwise, the search engine won’t recognize them as operators.

Common Boolean Search Modifiers

Modifiers are symbols that allow you to refine a search. This can include the “-“ mentioned above, which eliminates a word from the results, as well as a variety of others.

One of the handiest options is to put a phrase in quotes. When you do, it tells the search engine that you want results that contain that exact phrase. For example, putting java developer in quotes (“java developer”) you will see listings that have those words in that precise order.

Another helpful modifier is the asterisk. By adding it to the end of a word, you are allowing variations to become part of your results. For example, searching for “admin*” could yield results with terms like “administrator” and “administrate” included.

Parentheses are usually used to wrap OR searches. For instance, you could look for “java (developer OR programmer)” to get results for both options in one list.

In many cases, you can combine Boolean search operators and modifiers in a single string, allowing you to refine your results with ease. If you’d like to learn more about effective search techniques, the staff at Cloutera can help. Contact us to speak with one of our recruitment specialists today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

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