Boolean Search Basics For Recruiters - Tutorial One

This article is going to focus on how the basic Boolean Search operators/commands help recruiters to get meaningful results. 

What is Boolean Search?

Boolean Search is a mathematical logic which we use to put on Google, LinkedIn, and job boards etc. to get accurate and relevant results while expanding and narrowing the strings with key operators, like AND, OR, NOT etc.

Boolean Search
Image source: LinkedIn

The following are the six types of popular Boolean Search operators used in forming a search string.

  • AND
  • OR
  • - (or NOT)
  • () (or BRACKETS)
  • * (or ASTERISK)

If you appropriately apply these Boolean operators along with the keywords required on a job description, they can create a number of search string operations as there is no limit of it, but to save your large amount of time on filtering the results, you should create a specific one.

Now, let’s go to the details of these operators, one by one. 


AND operator is used if you wish to get two or more words in your search criteria.

For example, Java AND developer

This string will give results that include both words Java and developer. 


OR operator works as optional. Use of this operator allows you to create a list of possibilities on which only one match is important.

For example, Java OR J2EE OR JavaScript

This string will result in one or more words matching with Java, J2EE or JavaScript. 

NOT is another key operator and it works as exclusion. It excludes the words which you don’t want to retrieve in a search result.

For example, Developer NOT Java

You can use sign in place of NOT as well.

For example: Developer – Java

This string will result in a search result where developer as Java was excluded. 


Bracket operator is used for grouping the words with many possibilities. Suppose you have a list of companies from where you need to find your talent and they may have worked on any of these listed companies. The string will look like below using () BRACKETS,

(Microsoft or Amazon or Apple or Oracle)

Another example - We need a developer or designer who has Java knowledge. The following will be the search string,

Java AND (developer OR designer) that results Java with Developer or Java with designer. 

Note - If you create a string like below taking the above example,

Developer AND (Java OR designer)

String will give the possible results like Developer with Java or Developer with Designer. And it will be irrelevant as here we need developer with Java only, not a developer with designer. 

The double quotation mark operator is used to get the exact phrase. You should put the phrase in double quotation marks to get an exact result. Suppose, we want a resource in Technical Support who has experience on Avaya and Nice. We will put technical support leaving a blank space under double quotation marks. Since we want Avaya and Nice also in our search results, will use AND operators for two or more words. Search string will look like below using “”.

“Technical Support” AND Avaya AND Nice 

ASTERISK operator is used to get more results in terms of what you are looking for. Putting Asterisk on admin will provide you the possible results of administrator, administration, administer, administered etc. Suppose, we have a role of UNIX admin; it will form the below string.

  • “Unix admin*”

In the above string, we used 2 key operators (*, “”) to create a Boolean search to fetch the maximum number of results because, in their resume, admins like to put their title as Unix Admin together with Unix Administrator or Unix Administration.

Hope you liked the article. I look forward to your comments/suggestions. 


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