Why does Boolean work?
Why Boolean Works
The basis of this is that you will list down what you have.
If you are a Java developer, chances of the word Java appearing in your profile would be high.
So if I’m looking for a Java Developer, the chance of me coming across your profile would be equally high.
You can see an assumption here – that the candidate would have the keyword in his/her profile if it is relevant.
Boolean Search Basics
Before I could touch on the Boolean tricks, you need to understand the basics.
And that would begin with the Operators.
Operators are the words that limit, broaden and define your search.
Let’s take a look at the available Boolean operators that you could use:
The many features of Boolean:
This is used if you wish to find a result that carries a combination of items.
So if you wish to find a search results that contain both Burgers and Fries, your search string would look simply like this:
I Burgers AND Fries
This would be used if you are trying to find results that could contain either of the things you are looking for.
So if your search criteria could accept results that contain either Burgers or Fries, your search string would look like this:
I Burgers OR Fries
This operator comes in when you wish to retrieve search results that doesn’t contain specific keywords.
So let’s say you just want to see burger and not french fries, your search string would look like this:
Burgers NOT “French Fries”
Some search engine might require you to put an AND before NOT:
Burgers AND NOT “French Fries”
Experiment a little to find out what is acceptable by the search engine.
Refining it further...
4. Quotation Marks ” “
Quotation marks ensure search results carry the words in that specific order you entered.
In certain cases, you might not get any results as all because the search engine would interpret this as an incomplete search string.
So if you wish to search for Customer Service Manager, the term on your search string would look like this:
“Customer Service Manager”
5. Wild Card *
Because we can’t control how candidates would list their skills/jobs the way we like it to, we need to make sure all possible terms are applied to the search string.
Say you wish to find a profile with the keyword engineer.
For a candidate, they might not use that exact word. Instead, they might use engineering.
You could use the OR operator to ensure you cover both terms. But if you have more than 2 terms, it might be a bit of a hassle to construct.
A quicker way is to use a wildcard to search for spelling variations within the same or related terms:
This will return results with the keyword engineer or engineering.
Science plays a part.
6. Parentheses ()
Now we are getting a bit advanced.
When I was doing training for my agency recruiters, this is the part where most people would get confused.
Parentheses are used to separate phrases using the OR operator from the words or phrases using the AND operator.
So to give you an example, say you are looking for a programmer. He could be based in Singapore or Malaysia.
Given that a programmer might also be listed as a developer, you would want to include the word developer as well.
A typical newbie mistake would be to chain up something like these:
I Programmer OR developer OR Singapore OR Malaysia
I Programmer OR developer AND Singapore OR Malaysia
Now both search strings would return you with either nothing or not the results you are looking for.
The first one would return results with either of those keywords. It won’t be a specific search at all.
The second one would not be considered a complete search string and probably return with zero results.
That’s because the computer doesn’t know Programmer & Developer belong to one search set and Singapore & Malaysia in another.
To provide clarity, you need to put in brackets which we call Parentheses:
I (Programmer OR developer) AND (Singapore OR Malaysia)