Beginner Boolean for New Sourcers and Recruiters by @TheJobGirl

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Oct 20, 2015
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I remember when I first started sourcing and a more experienced colleague was attempting to teach me the different Boolean operators…I could not remember the differences between AND, NOT, and OR to save my life! I am such a visual person, I had to see it clearly on paper and used in real examples to finally wrap my mind around it.

For a sourcer just starting out, Boolean operators can be so overwhelming and frankly, a little confusing. If you’re like me and need to see it to remember it, save this article and pull it up when you want to start putting together basic strings to find candidates.


If you would like to search for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks.

Example: “Java Developer”

All of your results will have this phrase in this order.



If you want to search for a profile which includes two specific keywords not in a particular order, you can separate those terms with the upper-case word AND. Use AND to narrow a search; the more keywords, the lower results you will typically have.

(Note: If you enter two terms with a space between them, it will assume the space is the word AND)

Example: java AND python (same as: java python)



If you want to broaden your search to find more profiles, use OR to find results containing either one or both terms listed. The more words you enter connected by OR, the more results you will get.

Example: java OR python



If you would like to do a search but exclude a particular term, type that term with an upper-case NOT immediately before it. Your search for omit any result containing that term.

Example: java NOT coffee



For a more complex search, you can combine terms and modifiers by using parentheses.

Example: java AND (engineer OR architect)

This will find both java engineers and java architects.

I hope this helps! Feel free to comment below or reach out directly if you have any questions.

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