While recruitment technology like MightyRecruiter is making it easier and easier to automate candidate sourcing and candidate management, Boolean search remains an essential recruiting fundamental. At the simplest level, Boolean search is a type of search allowing recruiters to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT and OR to produce more relevant results.
As this can be a rather complicated concept for those new to the game, we talked to some seasoned search experts about their favorite Boolean strings and what kind of results they generate.
- Taylor Dumouchel, an executive recruiter at Peak Sales, uses Boolean strings to recruit salespeople for their clients.
Sales AND (BI OR intelligence OR business intelligence OR consulting services OR consulting) AND (enterprise OR Fortune 500 OR F500) NOT (SAAS OR software as a service OR software OR hardware)
Dumouchel breaks down the nuts and bolts of this search:
“It includes AND, OR, and NOT statements, which generate more tailored and specific results. It includes both the target market as well as type of product offering we are looking for, which helps to narrow down the results even further. This search would be great for finding individuals who sell intangible solutions outside of software. For example, our client in this search sold business intelligence and consulting services.”
- Michael A. Reddy, the CEO of HireSphere.net, a Chicago-based company that describes itself as “bringing humanity back to recruiting”, uses Boolean to hone in on real candidate profiles and eliminate mere resumes samples, templates, etc.
(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume OR intitle:bio OR inurl:bio) (“account executive” OR “outside sales” OR “inbound sales” OR bdm OR “business development manager” OR “b2b sales”) -job -jobs -samples -sample -template -“resume service” -“resume writer” -“resume writing”
“This boolean string will help you find any indexed page where the URL or H1 Title of the page has “resume” or “bio,” and then you can add specific requirements for the role you are looking for and the types of people you are not looking for (in this example it’s a sales role, i.e. “account executive” OR “outside sales” OR “inbound sales” etc.). Also notice what terms I recommend filtering out. This will increase the quality of your results, i.e. more real people and less business services offered. Start adding and replacing the for the job you’re searching for – and let me know how it works for you!”
- Kate Koha is the Client Services Manager for Alexander Mann Solutions out of our Cleveland Global Client Service Center. For the role of Network Engineer in Houston, Texas, this is her Boolean search string:
(network engineer OR network administrator OR network support OR netwerk engineer OR network consultant OR network architect OR security engineer OR system engineer OR netwerk beheerder OR network engineering OR systems engineer OR network eng OR network analyst OR network support engineer) AND (hadoop OR mongodb OR cassandra OR big data) AND (houston)
Koha’s an expert in Boolean with a 6-year career in talent acquisition. She explained the value of this search in great detail:
This is an extremely effective string to find Network Engineers who have experience in Hadoop, a popular “big data” technology in IT. Often times if individuals don’t have that skill, they have some experience with other similar technologies in their backgrounds. So, maybe the candidate doesn’t have specific experience in Hadoop but has worked in Cassandra, which is a similar type of system (Apache).
What’s best about this is it not only pulls all jobs open in this space and location (and, potentially, profiles), but also similar opportunities and companies also seeking this profile. This will then allow us to “dig in” and tailor our searches to mine out the individuals working in this space today from major competitors; all we have to do is find the candidates on LinkedIn and give them a call! So If I run the above and see company XYZ is looking for this in the Houston area,too, I now have a target competitor to look into who likely already employs some people that meet all our criteria.
While Koha owes a lot of her professional success to Boolean expertise, she knows her work is not immune to automation and offers her two cents about how recruiters need to approach automation’s role in Boolean search going forward:
“While I’ve long been a proponent of the effectiveness of Boolean, and it’s hard for me to imagine talent acquisition without it, like so many things, sourcing is about to be getting more and more automated moving forward. This is the future! In fact, there is even a software now that writes engaging emails for you to shoot to these potential jobseekers! Meaning a true job of a sourcer moving forward will still be having phone conversations to engage and “sell” an opportunity to a passive candidate. Finding those individuals through intricate search queries the recruiter comes up with themselves will be a dying art. It’s going to be less about search strings and more about engagement…the hunting will be done for us!”
Boolean search is how recruiters have been getting the most out of search engines since there have been search engines. While automation via systems like MightyRecruiter, which allows you to use simple filters to search through the 21+ million candidates in its resume database, will make sourcing even simpler, learning from these examples will help recruiters get more out of search engines and databases.