How to make your Boo not quite so lean!

Released On 17th Aug 2020

You’ve probably heard the term “Boolean” for searching just about anything on the internet these days, but how do you use this tool to get you the best candidates with as little effort as possible?

What is Boolean?

George Boole, a 19th Century English born mathematician helped to establish this modern symbolic logic “Boolean Algebra” which is the basic design of digital computer circuits – clever huh! Especially when you think that Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web – we in the UK are predisposed to searching for candidates on the internet right? Well, mostly no.

Here is a “simple as we can make it” guide to conducting a search using this very clever tactic.

The Basics

It really just refers to the concepts of ANDOR and NOT. Although as you will read below, AND is not that relevant anymore.


By default, search engines interpret a space to mean AND.  So, if I type the words “Recruitment Adviser” the internet will search for the words “Recruitment” and “Adviser”

It should be used for targeting required skills, experience, technologies, or titles you would like to limit your results to.  In fairness on most search engines and LinkedIn a space is interpreted as an “implied” AND so you don’t actually need to type it.


This is the most useful part of Boolean logic because if I type finance OR operations OR Manager, I would get pages that mentioned one or more of these words. 


Unfortunately Google no longer recognises the word NOT, but you can still use the minus sign (-) instead – so for example you may be looking for an HR person but you don’t want to find recruitment agencies – you would search Human OR resources OR HR – recruiter. 

It might seem like I’m shouting but you do need to use these words in capitals, otherwise Google will ignore them – so kind of look at it that you’re shouting at the Google search engine!

Quote marks!

We’ve all cringed when people use these to describe themselves, however, in a search for candidates they’re really useful.

Quote marks surrounding two or more words tell a search engine to look for all those words, next to each other, and in that order. 

Team this up with OR and you have a powerful way to look for people when there might be lots of different ways to describe them

For example:

“S and A” OR “Sales and Administration” OR “S & A” OR “Sales & Administration” OR “S&A”

If you only use quote marks on just one word this automatically turns off Google's helpfulness.

For example, if I Google the word recruiter I will get pages that mention recruiting, recruiters and recruitment as well.  So if I only want one form of that word in my search then I need to surround that one word with quote marks.

So now you know the basics of a search – what words should you be using?


If you employ the basics above you just need to modify the content to fit the search you are conducting.  Think about the type of candidate you are looking for, how many skills they need, are you looking for a basic model or an upgrade on your existing one?

LinkedIn is a treasure trove of finding candidates – so many people now have a LinkedIn account, its almost as important as your CV these days.

So how do you search on LinkedIn?

At the top left corner of your home page you will find the search facility. You can enter a job title “operations manager” and click to search in jobs or people etc.,. This is a free way of finding people who are already doing a role similar to the one you are searching for.  You can simply request to connect and add a note saying that you are recruiting for a particular role and would they be interested?  Of course, they can just reject your offer straight off but nothing ventured…..

For more advanced searches, or to reach those candidates who are actively looking for a new job, you will need to bolt “Recruiter” or one of the similar premium accounts on to your profile.  At this stage, LinkedIn has a lot of “how to search” information to help you find the right candidates using this tool.

You can also advertise your job on LinkedIn – this does have a cost as it is a PPC (Pay Per Click) service but it can be good value at reaching people who are in a similar role and are open to recruiters.  LinkedIn will automatically email those who are looking for a new role and have the title of your job in their profile.  It can be highly effective as long as you have pitched your advert right!

And there you have it – how to upgrade your recruitment by utilising proactive search. 

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