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Expert tips to take your Boolean Search results to the next level!

  • 22-07-2021 10:16 AM
Written by
Kyara Jorritsma - Recruit Robin

Learning Boolean Search is for everyone and is not exactly rocket science. However, if you want to get the most out of it, you will have to spend a little more time and attention on this. Good searches are after all good because a lot of time has been invested. For example, regular operators such as AND, OR or NOT are known to almost every recruiter. Below we have several tips that will take your Boolean game to the next level. So if you want to earn a Masters in Boolean Arts to beat your competition, read on!


The basics of boolean search
Boolean search is a search technique that allows you to combine your 'keywords' with 'operators' to get more relevant results. This makes it easier for you to search for relevant candidates and you’ll have the opportunity to find candidates that would be a lot more difficult to find without this technique. Basically you’re giving the search engine more information about what you are and are not looking for.

The different operators all have a different effect on the search results. For example, 'AND' indicates that you are looking for both keywords, while 'OR' indicates that you want to see results where one or the other keyword comes back.

1. Prepare your Boolean search strings in Word or Excel
This is a pretty important one. Your search strings can become very long and if you forget a " or a ", you will never find it again. The result? The wrong results. Create a table in Word or Excel (preferably Excel) and build your boolean string in it. With the right formulas in Excel, you can be sure that you don't forget parentheses or commas, because these are added automatically.

Looking for the right Excel formula? Download the Excel template from John Turnberg here to easily create long 'OR' strings in Excel.

2. Use as many synonyms as possible
Point one is the use of a lot of synonyms. We're not just talking about job titles, we're going beyond that. When you are looking for someone who has completed a Bachelor’s education, also search for 'vocational university'. It also applies to skills: the more synonyms the better. This way you get multiple results and you don't run the chance of missing that one perfect candidate.

3. Abbreviations and Non-Language Fanatics
Unfortunately, not everyone is very good at describing job titles in the (grammatically) correct way. This forces you to take into account that in some languages 'project manager' can also be written as one single word, or as a proj. man., or simply as PM. Some candidates even do this on purpose, to avoid being constantly bombarded by recruiters. Holy grail! Now you just have to make sure that you are not classified among the group of 'nasty' recruiters.

4. Use your first searches as inspiration
You can also start with a boolean string to search for synonyms that you hadn't thought of yourself. Take a look at the first results and look for new keywords that you are not using yourself yet. Add them to your Boolean and complete it. Again, the more synonyms the better.

5. Not everyone has a complete profile
We got the message, you are looking for the perfect candidate. Even the perfect candidate can forget to fill in his or her profile accurately and completely. In fact, the best candidates may not be working on LinkedIn at all and hardly post anything on it. A bad/empty profile does not equal a bad candidate, so if you want to outperform your competition, you should also consider the unpolished profiles. So let’s get started!
6. Look beyond 'the' 1000 candidates
As you may already know, with a LinkedIn search you can only see a thousand candidates. However, we have found a trick to gain insight into more candidates. Use multiple searches that are mutually exclusive. To give an example: if you have to filter by location, start in the South and move further and further to the North of the country using search terms.

This way you do the same search over and over, but you always get new results. So more than a thousand. The most important thing is that you are prepared to take into account the thousand results one by one. Something along the lines of 'persistence wins'. Check them all out if you want to be better than all your competitors!

7. Don't just search on LinkedIn
Most recruiters only use Boolean search strings on LinkedIn. Very useful, but Boolean also works very well on other search engines/platforms. For example, try continuing your search on Google. The point we discuss below has a huge impact on your search across all platforms, so keep reading!

8. Secret Operators
We are now familiar with the regular operators. In addition to the relevant 'normal' operators, you also have more digital organizers that facilitate and broaden your search. Inurl: you can enter in your search query if you want to find certain search terms in a URL. You will therefore only find the words that you type after Inurl: as a search result. We also have Intext:, which allows you to find search results that have your search term in the page content.

You can also use Intitle: when you want to see certain keywords or terms in the title. Site: allows you to limit results to certain websites. Finally, we have filetype: on offer. When you include these in your search, you will only find certain documents. This is useful, for example, when looking for a CV, which are often saved in PDF or DOCX file. This way you can filter on some files.
With these tips you have enough tools to start with Boolean search and in this way stay one step ahead of your competitors. If you don't have time for Boolean search or you just need help, Recruit Robin is the tool for you. With Recruit Robin you can easily create a search query, assign a job profile and add other hard requirements. Recruit Robin will then look for suitable candidates for you. For more information about Recruit Robin, visit their website. If you would like to request the Recruit Robin tool, you can do so easily via the form on this page.

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