As most of the world embarks on a digital transformation journey, businesses everywhere struggle to find the people they need to grow steadily in the future.
The unemployment rates are lower than ever, so recruiters have to use all available resources to find qualified candidates. That usually involves an omnichannel strategy that includes a solid social media recruitment marketing strategy, local advertising, and boolean search.
Boolean sourcing has become popular in the past few years because it allows recruiters to customize search results on all platforms and databases.
That way, recruiters have more control over the results, which helps increase efficiency, especially when looking for candidates with specific backgrounds, unique skills, and locations.
What is Boolean Sourcing and Recruitment?
Boolean sourcing is a method that helps find job candidates using mathematical operators. It’s becoming popular among recruiters of all kinds because it simultaneously provides access to many different platforms and databases.
Recruiters can use the method to identify and contact candidates on all job portals, large search engines such as Google, LinkedIn, and even applicant tracking systems and candidate relationship management solutions.
The approach turns out to be much more accurate than any other available method. Recruiters set a unique set of instructions for a specific job offer. The search displays only the candidates that fit the requirements perfectly.
The method uses Google’s Boolean logic, put into place by a famous mathematician called George Boole. The method is not the easiest one to master, but once you do, it will give you a significant advantage when looking for job candidates.
How Does Boolean Search Work?
Let’s see how a boolean search works in more detail. First off, you should know that the boolean search is an advanced online search that uses symbols and phrases to instruct the boolean search operators.
The operators allow recruiters to add specific keywords or terms to narrow the search results. The best recruitment agencies use this method to find candidates, and if they can do it, you can too.
The more specific a search is, the narrower the results.
One of the main reasons this method is so popular is that it scans and includes passive job seekers, not just active ones. That makes it easier for companies to get in touch with experts they wouldn’t be able to find otherwise.
There are three primary boolean operators used to conduct searches. However, recruiters can also use modifiers to specify the skills and experience they need.
Once your recruiters master the basics, you can use these commands to reach sources and identify talent that is impossible to find using any other method. Therefore, your recruiters must understand how every operator works to find the best workers for the job at hand.
Here are the three main boolean operators.
The AND command is used when you need an employee who has experience in two or more unrelated skills.
Type “Programmer” AND java AND python in the search bar, and the results will show only those who fit the description. The search engine will find them as long as they have the exact keywords present on their online profiles.
Generally speaking, the AND command is used to narrow down the search to only those candidates who fit the job requirements perfectly. However, if you don’t get enough search results, you should think about using the following command.
The OR operator is the opposite of AND. It’s used to widen your search if the first operator didn’t show any eligible candidates.
Using the same example as above, if the keyword “programmer” doesn’t show up in any results, you can use OR to add synonyms and widen the search. The search should look like this: “Programmer” OR “Software Engineer” AND Java AND Python.
Even though the two operators have an opposite effect, placing OR first will help you widen the search for the first keyword while narrowing it down for the rest. That’s what makes boolean searches so effective. In addition, you can combine multiple keywords and modifiers with filtering out all candidates who don’t match the requirements, leaving you only with those that do.
If both of the methods above end up with few or no candidates, you can use the next operator to exclude the terms you don’t want in your search.
As mentioned above, the NOT operator is used to exclude the keywords and terms you don’t want to get in the search results.
For example, job titles vary from one company to another, so you want to exclude the searches that shop up but don’t fit the requirements. If you use the same search as in the previous example, add NOT ‘Uber,’ to exclude all matches with that word.
Here is how it should look: “Programmer” OR “Software Engineer” AND Java AND Python, NOT Uber. The NOT operator will block all candidates whose profiles have a specific word. Again, this command can help you narrow down the search further in seconds.
Boolean Search Modifiers
Boolean search modifiers are special tools experienced recruiters use to improve their efforts. The three critical boolean search modifiers are:
- Quotation marks
Let’s see how each of them works in more detail.
- Parentheses ()
Parentheses assign priority to the text written between them, the same way they work in math.
Let’s say that you need a software developer who has experience working in Biotech. The search query should look like this:
Software AND (developer or engineer) AND (biotech OR Biotech) – programmer – freelancer.
Therefore, the search prioritizes developer and engineer as roles and Biotech as the industry they work in.
AND is used to include the terms you want in the search. OR gives you a list of alternatives to widen the search, while the hyphen excludes results with the words programmer and freelancer.
The priority-based search allows you to narrow down your search in one step.
- Quotation Marks “”
If your recruiters want to find an exact phrase match, they should use quotation marks.
Here’s how it works: if you type Software engineer into the search bar, you will get results that show searches with the words software and engineer.
In other words, the search won’t show you only results for software engineers.
However, once you place the quotation mark around the keyword like “software engineer,” the results will show you only those candidates that have the combination of both words on their profiles.
Your recruiters can experiment by combining operators and modifiers inside quotations to improve the narrow-down results further.
- Asterisk *
The asterisk is another modifier that can come in handy when you want to include multiple variations of a keyword in the search.
For example, let’s say that you wish to search for project management and recruiting related terms such as “managed services” OR “sourcing” OR “staff augmentation service” OR “it project management” add an asterisk after the main keyword.
The problem with the asterisk is that LinkedIn does not recognize it, so you won’t be able to get any results from there. It also has a limited effect on Google searches, but it’s always worth trying out.
Recruiters should avoid putting the asterisk between quotation marks.
Advanced Boolean Search Operators
Now that we’ve covered all the basics, we’ll go over a few advanced search modifiers that might help you find better candidates.
- 1. Inurl / Insite
The URL leading to a candidate’s profile can also help you find the best match. Many online portfolios have the world “resume” included in the URL.
The Inurl modifier helps locate those URLs within a single site.
Let’s say that you want to look for candidates on LinkedIn. Simply type site:linkedin.com in the search. Start your search with the basic operators and narrow down your search.
- 2. NEAR
The NEAR modifier allows you to add keywords and phrases up to 10 words apart from the primary keyword.
As long as your candidate’s resumes have those words located up to 10 words apart from the main keyword in their resumes, the search will display their profiles.
- 3. FILETYPE
As you already know, online documents have many different extensions and file types, and the FILETYPE modifier allows you to define which types of files you want to include in the search.
Recruiters can use this modifier to narrow the search to only those file types you want. That includes PDF, CV, resumé, DOCS, etc.
If you’re struggling to find prospective employees you need to grow your company, Boolean recruitment can help you find candidates you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.
The method is straightforward, and most importantly, it’s very cost-efficient.
Once your recruiters learn how to combine operators and modifiers correctly, they will be able to find perfect matches with a single click.
The best thing about this method is that anyone can learn how to do it in minutes. A few simple tutorials should be enough to give your recruiters a better idea of using the technique.
If you’re still not using the Boolean method to find skilled employees, you’re doing things the hard way. Try it today and increase your chances of finding the right talent for the job.