Boolean Search for Recruiters

Russell Ratcliffe
Oct 27, 2018 · 4 min read
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Why Boolean Search?

Boolean Search is something every recruiter should have in their toolkit. Using it will save you time, and give you a competitive edge over other recruiters.

What is Boolean Search?

Boolean search is the process of using logical operators in a search engine, to more accurately refine and target your searches. It can make the difference of getting 100 junk resumes, vs finding 100 well-qualified candidates.

The Basics — The Boolean Search Operators & Modifiers

There are 6 different main operators/modifiers that you will frequently use. I’ll break each of them down for you with examples.

The OR Operator

OR can be useful if there are several variations or spellings of a word.

Sales ( Agent OR Representative )

The Not Operator

NOT is used to exclude certain words that you don’t want results for in your query.

Sales NOT Management NOT Director  GOOGLESales -Management -Director

The Parentheses Modifier

Parentheses will be used in almost all of your searches. They are useful for controlling the order in which your logic runs.

Manager OR ( Sales AND Associate ) 
( Manager OR Sales ) AND Associate

The FileType operator

FileType can be used to return only a specific type of file. For example, if you want pdfs you would use

filetype:csv filetype:doc filetype:pdf filetype:docx filetype:pptx

The Quotations Modifier

Quotations work great if you are looking for a specific word or phrase. It only returns results that are an exact match.

"Senior Sales Manager"

The Asterisks Modifier

Asterisk can be very useful if you are looking for many variations of a word. For example the query market*returns marketing, marketer, marketers, etc

"VP of Sales" ""

Advanced Searches

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Try these examples in Google!

1. Find University Resume Books

filetype:pdf "edu" intitle:"Resume Book"
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University Resume Books

2. Find Resumes of Software Engineers that worked at Amazon

filetype:pdf OR filetype:docx “Software Engineer” “” “Amazon”
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Software Engineers that worked at Amazon

Secret Tips

Look for Typos

It’s common for someone to accidentally misspell something on their resume, which makes the candidates hidden for most recruiters. You can find these people by searching for the various common misspellings of words.

filetype:pdf OR filetype:docx "Software Enginer" ""

Multiple company variations

If you are searching by company name, you should provide multiple company name variations in your search.

"Chemical Engineer" AND ("Smucker" OR "JM Smucker" OR "J.M. Smucker" OR "The J.M. Smucker Company")

Filter out bad results

If your query is returning job postings, you can filter out all results that have common job posting terms.

-apply -career -reply -send -opportunity -submit


I hope this article was able to help you become a better recruiter. If you have any questions or feedback, just leave a comment or email me at

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