boolean search in recruitment

The Ultimate Guide for Boolean Search In Recruitment

Kelly Barcelos on July 26, 2022 in Glossary

Recruitment is a tough job often, yet HRs and recruiting officers have to work hard to find the right candidate for the job. In fact, in most organizations, it is one of the most time-consuming steps. To make this process easier, many people take the help of Boolean search in recruitment. Boolean search is something that every recruiter or employer should be acquainted with.

It is a technique used to find candidates for a job with skills you need and skills you don’t need. It uses both criteria given, OR and AND, with a Boolean operator, in such a way as to filter out unnecessary candidates and present only those who are appropriate for the job.

If you don’t know how to get started with Boolean Search, this guide will help you understand this type of search and the basics of Boolean search in recruiting.

What is Boolean search?

Boolean search is a search method for words or phrases that may be Boolean operators or functions.

Boolean search is used to find all records that contain the same terms or at least one term. A Boolean search is performed by using Boolean operators and functions such as AND, OR, NOT, and IS NULL.

For example:

Searching for all employees who have worked in the last two years AND have been promoted and are not currently working in the same role.

What is Boolean Search in Recruitment?

Boolean search is a type of search used by recruiters and hiring managers to find candidates that match the criteria they are looking for. Boolean searches allow you to narrow down the number of candidates you will be interviewing based on specific keywords, skills, experience, and education.

The most common example of a Boolean search would be an experienced candidate with a bachelor’s degree in business management who is looking for work as a senior manager.

By using Boolean searches, recruiters can eliminate candidates with certain keywords or experience levels who don’t fit their needs. This makes it easier for recruiters to focus on the best talent available instead of wasting time interviewing candidates that aren’t right for the job.

The Basic Operators of Boolean Recruitment

The boolean search uses keywords or phrases to identify the desired information and returns the top matches.

The basic operators of Boolean recruitment are AND, OR, NOT, Quotation marks, and Parentheses (). They are used in combination with each other to refine your search for relevant results.

AND – The AND operator is used when you want to find out if two conditions have been met. For example: If someone has worked for a company for two years and they were promoted within that time period, then they will be considered as having worked there for two years (and therefore eligible).

OR – This operator works similarly to the AND operator, but it allows you to choose between two different options within your query string (such as ‘has worked’ versus ‘was promoted’). When using this operator, it should be used with caution because it can make it challenging to narrow down your results when there are multiple options available – so use it sparingly!

NOT – The NOT operator is helpful in cases where multiple options are available within your query string. When people usually don’t want to see any result in their search results, they typically use this operator.

Quotation Marks “” – When people want to search for an exact phrase, they use question marks around that phrase so they can get better search results.

Parentheses () – Using parentheses allows you to separate the terms so preference can be given to the ones you have specified.

How to Use Boolean Search Techniques in Recruiting?

In Boolean search, the recruitment team uses a search technique that can find names, email addresses, and phone numbers. They use Boolean searches to find people who fit certain criteria. For example, if you want to see all employees with the title of “director” or “manager” in your database, you would use a Boolean search.

Recruiters can use Boolean searches to look for candidates who meet specific criteria such as location and job type. They can also use Boolean searches to identify people who might have similar skills or experience as those currently on staff.

For example, 

  • If you are looking for an accountant with 10 years of experience, you might create a Boolean search using the name “accountant” and “10 years” as your criteria.
  • You could then narrow down the results by location(e.g., Atlanta) or job type (e.g., accounts payable).

What are the Benefits of Boolean Recruitment?

Boolean searches are a great way to find the right candidate for your open position. The main benefit of using Boolean recruitment is that it allows you to find candidates more quickly and with less effort than other methods. With standard recruitments, you need to search through thousands of candidates before finding someone who matches what you’re looking for. A simple boolean search will help reduce this workload significantly, making it easier for you to get started on your next project. Other benefits of utilizing a Boolean search include:


The Boolean Search settings are hidden away in the advanced search settings. And that’s most probably because of the fear recruiters have of using them. Most recruiters feel Boolean Search just can’t match the power and simplicity of the standard search tool. But the fact is Boolean Search can and should be used by every recruiter out there. Because if you don’t use it, someone else will, and they will be left with your candidate. I hope our ultimate guide helped you to learn how you can make the most of Boolean Searches!

Kelly Barcelos

Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.