So, how do recruiters search for their candidates?


Firstly, who was the brilliant person who came up with this search technique?

Mr George Boole, a well renowned British Mathematician, whose work on logic helped lay the foundation for the digital revolution we all live within today, left us with the amazing Boolean logic, a theory in which all variables are either ‘true’ or ‘false’, or ‘on’ or ‘off’.

Most of you may not know, but this logic is apparent in all digital devices, and exists in almost every line of computer code. It has also become the main logic that all recruiters use to find the perfect candidate.


Boolean search uses three main operators:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT

And by using a combination of these three, you can produce more relative and accurate results when searching for your perfect candidate.

There are 5 elements of syntax to remember when using Boolean search:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT
  • ()
  • “”


AND is used to ‘narrow’ results down. Only profiles that have both of the keywords in them will be shown in the search results. AND is usually used between the required skills in a job spec. The things a candidate MUST have.

E.g.: Sales AND Manager (this search will only provide results that have both those words in it).


OR is used to expand the results of a search. It does not mean either/or, but rather ‘any one of’.

OR is usually used for synonyms, or for less important skills (not required, but an advantage or preferential).

E.g.: Sales OR Manager (produce all profiles that contain the word ‘sales’, the word ‘manager’ or both).

Only profiles that contain one or more of the keywords will appear in the results.


NOT is used to exclude words from your search.

E.g.: You want to search for company directors, but you keep getting Artistic Directors, then you can search for Directors NOT Artistic.

The only danger with this, and why you need to be careful when using NOT, is that if there is the word artistic anywhere in a candidates profile, their profile will not show up in your results, and they may be the perfect candidate.

Here is an example of what a Boolean search string looks like: 

((“marketing strategy” OR “marketing” ) AND (“sales process” OR “sales operations” OR “sales management” OR “sales” OR “new business development” OR “negotiation” OR “direct sales” OR “account management” ) AND (“sales manager” OR “customer service” OR “business development” OR “solution selling” OR “presales consultant” OR “salesman” OR “presales manager” OR “area vice president” OR “commercial director” OR “solutions consultant” ) )

This is a basic overview on Boolean Search Logic, and there are more operators that you can use, including quotation marks and parenthesis. We will cover that in the next instalment. Stay tuned!

Looking for a job?

Please visit our jobseeker page, and upload your C.V  to our nationwide database! Should a potential job offer open, and you are considered, we will contact you!

Looking for staff?

Let our dedicated and hard working team of consultants find you the perfect candidate. Please visit our employer page and tell us what you are looking for!