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May 21, 2019
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

If you are sourcing for candidates, then you are likely using boolean search operators. George Boole was its creator in mid-1800, and creating a tool for fabulous Google searches was probably not his original goal. However, this almost self-taught mathematician laid a lot of the modern foundations of logic and algebra. Perhaps the most fascinating fact about Boole is, that he established his own school by age 19. I barely was leaving mine at that age!

Centuries later, the crux of Boole’s thought is still intact. Boolean logic operators like AND, OR |, NOT -, (), “”, are used extensively in thousands of industries, like recruitment. Our very own Karolina wrote a blog post about her favorite emergency free boolean string builder. As per her article, you should already know that you do not need to memorize every operator. Instead, you can use boolean builder websites.

Knowing the basic operators is extremely useful, as some boolean strings should be easy enough to input manually. Unfortunately, many strings can grow to pretty crazy lengths. So to make the learning process easier on you, let’s use pizza to grasp basic boolean operators. If you do not know how to use them together in bunches, you won’t get any results.

In my work, I used a couple of online tools that help me source. One of the most popular is the CSE (Custom Search Engine by Google). It’s a simple tool to create your search and add layers of requirements (useful when overcoming limitations of 100 results limit of CSE, or when adding specific words). Again, Karolina wrote about this more extensively than I ever could. The process itself divided into steps looks like that:

    • Go to
    • Click New Search Engine
    • Click Sites to Search (remember to put * after each site)
    • Create the name of your search
    • Click Sites to Search>Advanced>Sites to Exclude if you want
    • Connect refinements/labels with each site
    • Change layout to Full Width if you wish
    • Click Search Features>Advanced to change/choose a language if you want

Voila! It isn’t necessarily based on boolean strings; it’s more of an x-ray search on pages that you specify.

There are several big players on the software market for boolean builders, which are often bigger recruitment software bundles. I have not used all programs on the market obviously, but I would like to share my experience with some.


This tool brings the boolean building to a whole new level. It not only creates boolean strings, saves them, but runs the searches for you. Hiretual finds contact information and analytics, reports, creates profiles for the user and is augmented with machine learning (but what is not these days?). It also has a Chrome extension. You can grab contact information and add them to your hiring pipeline straight from sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Github. The free version lets you find ten contacts a week, which admittedly is not enough unless you use it only to supplement your standard searches. You can even customize GDPR consent messages.

To begin your search, click on the Toolbox. From there you can choose relevant job titles, skills, industry, location and create boolean search strings based on them. Then you can select any of the platforms on which to search – there are more than 30, with around 700m profiles per Hiretual claims. They are divided into Most popular, Generic platforms, Healthcare, Designers and Research, Mechanica, Games, and Others. After that, you click Search Talent Now, and your results will be visible in the next tab. Hiretual is a capable recruiting CRM system. Great Facebook search tool and integration with portals like GitHub and StackOverflow make it a market leader in my opinion.

Social Talent Boolean Builder

Social Talent’s tool will build a string for you, save it, and let you run it in multiple sites at once. It does have a dedicated Chrome extension as well, making using it a breeze. Type job title, desired skills, location and run it. It gives you an option to search for similar words, like: “front end” and “frontend.” You can, of course, exclude things from the search, as well. At the end of the page, you have a whole boolean string ready, with one-click links to most popular websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Xing, Viadeo, Behance, Elance, and UpWork,, Pinterest, Weibo, Kaggle and even database of CV’s on the open web. It keeps a history of searches. You can add your search to favorites or create a folder with your searches.


This tool lets you create boolean strings for multiple sites, and store them. It has all the necessary options for string building, and you can sort results by all the criteria you need, like job title or location. String management options are also abundant. On the left-hand side, you have many portals on which you would like to search. Using it, you can search and create boolean strings on LinkedIn, Google+, GitHub, StackOverflow, Twitter, Facebook, Xing, Pinterest,, MeetUp,, Ellavate Network, Stage 21, GrabCAD.

Interestingly, you can search through specific tweets on Twitter or even get a particular facebook ID (knowing the nickname of person) to explore its likes. There is a small perk for using this builder. Every registered member will get Pro account for seven days for free.

Boolean strings are an invaluable tool for sourcers. But in the end, keep in mind the most essential “TOOL” you need when using any of these builders is your “BRAIN.” Be creative with your search. The more you are, the bigger are the chances of you finding good candidates. Good luck!

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.