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April 10, 2024

How to perform a Boolean Search

John Kim
Co-founder @ Paraform

With millions of profiles and an abundance of data, finding the right candidates can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

However, you can narrow this down to a tee using the right Boolean search—a refined technique that uses keywords and operators to find exactly what you’re looking for on the web.

Let’s get into how it works.

A Boolean search is a method of combining keywords with operators such as AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses to narrow down search results and find specific information more efficiently. Think of it as a secret language for fine-tuning your LinkedIn searches.

By combining or excluding those keywords, recruiters can create search queries that are tailored to their exact requirements.

Crafting your Boolean Search query

Step 1: Know what you're looking for

Before diving into the search query, understand exactly what type of candidate that you want. Consider factors such as:

  • Skills
  • Job titles
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Education level
  • Experience level

Step 2: Choose your keywords

Identify relevant keywords that align with your criteria. Be specific and use synonyms or related terms to broaden your search. For example:

  • (Software Engineer OR Programmer)
  • (Marketing Manager OR Marketing Director)
  • (Data Scientist OR Data Analyst)

Step 3: Use operators

Utilize Boolean operators to refine your search and specify the relationship between keywords. Common operators include:

  • AND: Narrows down results by requiring both terms to appear in the profile.
  • OR: Broadens the search by including either of the terms.
  • NOT: Excludes specific terms from the search results.

Step 4: Incorporate parentheses

Parentheses are used to group related terms and control the order of operations in your search query. This is particularly useful when combining multiple operators. For example:

  • (Software Engineer OR Programmer) AND (Python OR Java)

Step 5: Refine Your Search

Experiment with different combinations of keywords and operators to fine-tune your search results. Consider adding additional criteria or excluding certain terms to further narrow down the results.

Examples of Boolean Search Queries

  • 1. Software Engineers with Python Skills in San Francisco: (Software Engineer OR Programmer) AND (Python) AND (San Francisco)
  • 2. Marketing Managers or Directors in the Healthcare Industry: (Marketing Manager OR Marketing Director) AND (Healthcare)
  • 3. Experienced Data Scientists not in the Financial Sector: (Data Scientist) AND NOT (Financial)

    Mastering the art of Boolean search on LinkedIn can significantly enhance your recruitment efforts, enabling you to identify and connect with the right talent or prospects with ease.

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