What is Boolean search? The magic formula for finding candidates

Boolean search là gì? Công thức diệu kỳ để bạn tìm kiếm ứng viên

The effectiveness of the candidate sourcing process has a huge impact on the success of recruiting activities. These days, HR experts are often looking to speed up candidate sourcing and improve recruiting efficiency.

So, what is Boolean search? Let’s discover the magic formula for finding candidates through the following article by Ms. Uptalent!

1- What is Boolean search?
2- Advantages provided by Boolean search
3- Instructions for using Boolean search effectively

3.1- Simple syntax to search for candidates in Boolean
3.2- Advanced syntax in Boolean search

4- Expert advice in searching for candidates

Recruitment of senior executives>>> See more: Human resources jobs

1- What is Boolean search?

1.1- What is the Boolean?

Boolean, also known as Bool, is a data type that can only choose one of two values: true or false.

The Boolean data type is often associated with conditional statements. Accordingly, depending on whether the condition is correctly or incorrectly set by the programmer, corresponding actions will be triggered.

The name Boolean is named after George Boole. He was the first to define the algebraic logical system in the mid-19th century.

1.2- What is Boolean search?

Boolean search is a search method according to a certain structure. It allows users to customize search conditions so they can refine and limit the range of results found.

Boolean search is performed based on Boolean logic with specific keywords and algorithms. Today, this logic is present in all digital devices. At the same time, it is also an effective method to help employers find potential candidates.

2- Advantages provided by Boolean search

From the results obtained when applying Boolean search, it can be seen that this method really brings many benefits to recruiting activities and other areas.

Boolean search

Attractive jobs

2.1- In recruitment

The reason why Boolean search has become a favorite tool for many employers is due to its following advantages:

Win time

By using the right keywords and Boolean algorithms, recruiters can quickly build a list of potential candidates. With this, they can save a lot of time spent on expanding or refining the search as well as filtering the results received.

Additionally, if you can reduce the time spent searching for candidates, you will have more time for other tasks and achieve greater work efficiency.

Easily control search results

Boolean search strings give recruiters more control over the results they receive.

In fact, Boolean not only makes it easier to search for candidates, but also makes the results more precise and targeted.

Compared to traditional search methods, Boolean search makes the recruiting process much easier. At the same time, it also helps employers improve their ability to control search results and scope.

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Refine your search for candidates

With Boolean search, you can use the right techniques to easily find candidates with the skills your company needs, even if you are limited in search volume and scope.

The advantage is that you will have more time to approach and discover truly potential candidates.

2.2- Other fields

In other areas, Boolean search is also of great importance where it can help users expand or limit the text that will appear.

Specifically, during the process of searching for information, you will use Boolean words such as “AND”, “OR”, “NOT” to provide appropriate queries to search engines. Thanks to this, you will get the best search results.

Additionally, you can also use quotation marks (“”) to search exactly for information containing keywords. The results returned will be the texts most similar to this keyword, in the correct order, within quotes.

What is Boolean search?

3- Instructions for using Boolean search effectively

To use Boolean search effectively, you need to remember how to use common keywords and functions. Specifically:

– Keywords are a very important factor in Boolean search. This will be the main content you use to find information. In recruitment, the main keyword can be position, title, skills, education level, geographic location, etc. For example, you can choose the main keyword “project manager” to launch the search.

– Boolean search has the following main functions AND, OR, NOT, parentheses (), double quotes ” ” and *. When you combine them with the right keywords, you will create many different commands. At the same time, you are not limited to the number of times you can use these functions in a single command, so you can customize them to get optimal search results.

Next, let’s explore the syntax for using functions in Boolean search:

3.1- Simple syntax to search for candidates in Boolean


The “AND” function allows you to combine two different keywords. When you place the word AND between two keywords, you will get results that include both of those keywords.

For example

If you write “Engineer AND Engineering Manager”, the results returned will only include candidates with experience in both fields. For candidates with only one of the two experiences, their profile will not appear in your search results.


The “OR” function will help you search for candidates with one of two keywords in their resume. Typically, recruiting professionals use this feature when they want to search for all terms that are equivalent to each other. This helps them not miss any potential candidates.

For example

When you issue the command “Engineer OR Engineering Manager”, the results will include candidate profiles matching either or both keywords.


The “NO” function is used to eliminate inappropriate results. Before the word “NO”, you will list the keywords you want to appear in the search results. At the end, list the keywords you want to exclude from the results.

For example

You run the command “Engineer NOT Head of Technical Department”, the search results received will not include candidate profiles with the keyword “Head of Technical Department”.

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Quotes ” “

Quotation marks are very effective in helping you search for keywords accurately. When you don’t use quotation marks, the results you get may not be relevant to your search location.

For example

When you enter the command “Human Resources Manager”, the results returned will likely only include the resumes of candidates whose exact title is “Human Resources Manager” and not “Human Resources Manager” or “Management Management Manager”. staff”.

Parentheses ( )

Parentheses are used when you want to group different keywords into one group to perform complex searches.

With parenthetical statements, the search engine will process the keywords in parentheses first, then the remaining information.

For example

You can use the following command to search for candidates with titles equivalent to the position to be recruited, “HR (Manager OR Director)”.

Asterisk *

When you add an asterisk after a keyword, you get many variations of the word. In Boolean searching, the * sign is used to perform searches that require multiple words.

For example

You enter the command “Manag*”, the results will include words like manager, management, management,…

Boolean search syntax

3.2- Advanced syntax in Boolean search

To perform a higher-level search, you can combine different functions into a single statement. Specifically:

Combine quotes and parentheses

You can combine quotes and parentheses to search for a candidate with a specific job title, industry name, or company name.

For example

With the order (“Software Engineer”) (“IT”) you can find Software Engineer candidates in the information technology sector.

Combine quotes, parentheses and OR

This syntax can help you accurately search for positions with many similar titles.

For example

With the “Developer” command (“Front end” OR “Back end”), you will find Front End or Back end programmers.

Combine quotes, parentheses, OR, and minus signs (-)

If you want to find a candidate for a position that has many equivalent title names but excludes a certain item, use a combination of quotation marks, parentheses, OR, and the – sign.

For example

With the command “software” (“developer” OR “engineer”) – “scientist”, you will find candidates for Software Developer or Software Engineer but not scientists.

Use Boolean search

4- Expert advice in searching for candidates

With several years of experience in searching for candidates for a Headhunter, Uptalent gives you some advice on how to use Boolean search as effectively as possible. Here are the following tips:

– Search and synthesize all keywords related to the search position. This will help you find candidates faster and more accurately.

– Mark the keywords used so you don’t miss any keywords.

– Actively update new keywords to increase Boolean search efficiency.

– Always enter Boolean functions such as AND, OR, NOT in uppercase. Some websites often remove conjunctions when searching. But if you write them in capital letters, the system will understand that you are using Boolean search.

– Use parentheses and quotation marks in the correct place. If it is set incorrectly, your candidate search process will be interrupted.

– Add conversational languages ​​to improve search efficiency. For example, you can enter “I graduated,” “have a bachelor’s degree,” or “college graduate” to search for candidates who have earned a college degree.

– Save successfully used algorithms and continue to modify them to increase the efficiency of candidate searches.

– Save the syntax in Notepad or Excel instead of Word so as not to mess up the Boolean search process.

– Consider spelling variations to broaden the scope of the search. For example, Front-end or Front-end.

– Search for words that often appear in candidates’ CVs such as “professional experience”, “soft skills”, etc.

I hope this article by Ms. Uptalent has helped you clearly understand what Boolean search is and be able to use it effectively to find potential candidates as well as promote recruitment efficiency. Good luck!

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