The Art of Boolean Search

3 min read

Finding the right candidate for the job is always a challenge.

If in 1995 recruiters were doing this by phone, fax or post, nowadays, thanks to technology, we all have have access to different social media platforms, including Facebook or LinkedIn. The thing is, even if LinkedIn has a great professional database, we have to admit that is not enough to have a premium account or thousands of connections. At some point, you’ll feel that for some complex profiles, the results are not quite as specific as you’d like. You’ll need a differentiator.

Sourcing is probably the most important part of the recruitment process – is the step that can have an important impact on all of our KPI’s: time to fill, quality of hire, recruitment budget and so on. Apart from that, it’s getting more and more difficult to source, as both LinkedIn and other recruitment tools are considering limiting access for unpaid accounts.

This is why we decided that an intro to Boolean Search event will be useful for our community. Gabriela Vasile, Senior Recruiter at Oracle with many years of experience in recruitment and with Boolean Search techniques accepted the invitation to be the event’s speaker. During the workshop, Gabriela presented the main principles of Boolean Search and the tricks she has picked up over the years. The participants had the opportunity to practice in real time what they were learning. Everything became really interesting when they realized the importance of a word or different signs in a string.

What is Boolean Search?

Boolean logic is a system of showing relationships between sets by using the words “AND”, “OR,” and “NOT”. The term Boolean comes from the name of the man who invented this system, George Boole. Boolean logic is recognized by many electronic searching tools as a way of defining a search string.

In the end all you have to do it is to use in a creative way the next elements:

Boolean Search Operators

Boolean Search Modifiers

For example: admin* will return: administrator, administration, administer, administered, etc.


Golden rules:

Even though boolean search can get addictive, you do not need or even want to get very complicated in web searching. Searching the web is free, and several simpler searches take less time than a humongous search. Moreover, with complicated searches, you often don’t know which parts of the search worked and which did not.

It is always better to be smart when sourcing and chose the most effective means and tools to do it, always having in mind the type of profile you’re searching for.

We ended the evening sharing our takeaways and driven by the curiosity to see the results of our new sourcing skills.