What is Boolean Logic?
Boolean Logic is nothing more than the language we use to speak to our computers. It is a series of commands and operators we use to combine keywords into meaningful phrases for our search engines. Let’s take a look at the four basic commands AND, OR, AND NOT, NEAR and the three basic operators; quotes, parentheses, and wild card.
Let’s begin with the OR command. Simply stated, OR requires at least one of the keywords you enter to be within the CV. Once the system finds the word(s), the CV will be returned as a result.
OR allows you to expand your search to include multiple keywords and so it can be useful when you’re searching for candidates with various job titles.
Let’s use an example: Banking OR Services. In this case, any of the results you receive will contain either the word Banking, OR the word Services OR both.
While OR helps us expand the search, the AND command helps refine it. Simply stated, AND links words or phrases together to ensure that both are included in the results.
In our example, Banking AND Services, we will only see results that contain both keywords.
Command: AND NOT
When you want to exclude keywords from your results, use the Boolean command AND NOT.
If you’re looking for someone with banking experience but not with services experience, your sample Boolean string would be Banking AND NOT Services.
AND NOT is also commonly used to exclude CVs of candidates who currently work for your organization. To do this, the command AND NOT [Company name] can be added to your string.
When used between keywords, NEAR allows you to search for terms situated within 10 words from each other. The closer they are, the higher the CV appears in the results list.
The search string Sales NEAR Manager returns CVs that have the words sales and manager within 10 words of each other.
Operator: PARENTHESES ()
Sometimes commands alone are not enough to effectively target your ideal candidates. Luckily, there are three Boolean operators that can help.
Parentheses or Brackets group keywords together to create a sub-search within a complex string.
If you want to build a Boolean string containing multiple commands, parentheses are a must. Furthermore, anytime you use the OR command, it is a best practice to use parentheses.
The example Teller AND (Banking OR Services) shows us results that all contain the word Teller and either Banking or Services or both.
Operator: QUOTES “ ”
Quotes offer you the ability to search for multiple keywords as an exact phrase. Simply place quotes around a group of words and the search engine will look for them in the exact word order.
For instance, you can search for the phrase “Banking Services”. You can also use quotes to search for candidates from companies with names containing more than one word.
Operator: WILDCARD *
Final Boolean operator is the Wildcard. This feature is used to substitute any number of letters. This is particularly useful if you want to include all similar words that end with different combinations of letters.
For example, if you were looking for candidates with Banking experience, you could use Wildcard to eliminate multiple keyword entry. Simply type in Bank* and your see CVs containing the words Banking, Banks, Banker, etc.
There will be times when the wildcard will return CVs that you would otherwise not receive. Therefore, it is best to use the wildcard whenever possible.
The resulting search string
When you combine the elements above, the resulting search string would read:
(secretary OR receptionist OR “executive assistant” OR “administrative assistant”) AND excel AND outlook AND NOT (CEO OR Monster)
Make sure to group similar job titles and search criteria together using OR and parentheses, we have given the search engine a Boolean string that is simplified and easy for you to edit as well. It is best practice to capitalize the commands so that they can be easily identified when edits are needed. Remember Boolean will take some work to get a search string that returns the types of CVs you’re looking for.