Boolean Search Strings—Not as Scary as you Might Think!

The first step for sourcers and recruiters is to understand the job request sitting on their desk. Then they need to put together a finely crafted Boolean search string. When we receive a job requisition we now need to condense it in such a way as to bring back excellent resumes that match that job order. Sometimes this can be a bit daunting. As an IT sourcer, I need to be educated on what the job is really asking for. If any skill seems like a foreign fleck of abstract Martian language, chances are a little research is needed. Once an understanding of the job request is gained, the fun begins.

       Taking all of the information from a job description and condensing it into a few lines can be challenging. For example, if a job request is asking for a Senior Oracle Database Developer with skills in Oracle, pl/sql, stored procedures, and Oracle XML, a Boolean string could be constructed as follows:

“oracle database developer” AND oracle AND pl/sql AND “stored procedures” AND “oracle xml”

Now, not everyone writes their resumes with these skills the same way. The opportunity to miss out on a talented professional can happen if alternative spellings aren’t accounted for. So, the revised string could look like this:

(“oracle database developer” OR “database developer”) AND oracle AND (pl/sql OR plsql OR “pl sql” OR pl-sql) AND “stored procedures” AND (“oracle xml” OR xml)

When you put a phrase in quotes, you are telling the computer to bring back results with that exact phrase. If you need to create an OR option, put the options in parenthesis.

Now, our string is much more specific. The more specific the string, the fewer amount of results will be retrieved. Also, note that NOT can be used as well. If our job request specifies that they do not want resumes reflecting work in finance, then we could add that on like this:

(“oracle database developer” OR “database developer”) AND oracle AND (pl/sql OR plsql OR “pl sql” OR pl-sql) AND “stored procedures” AND (“oracle xml” OR xml) AND NOT (finance OR banking)

Sometimes Boolean strings can be too specific. Another strategy is to find alternative names for key skills and create an OR option in your string. Many people leave off skills on their resumes because those skills may be implied in a job title. Be flexible and allow for some loosening up of key words. Not everyone writes their resumes the same way. By allowing for variations on skills or action words, your search string can yield amazing results. Be flexible, have fun, and don’t be afraid to tweak your string!

Shannon Fatigante

 

This entry was posted in Boolean, Recruiter, Sourcing and tagged , , by Shannon Fatigante. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shannon Fatigante

I am a competent and trustworthy advisor, dedicated to helping others achieve their goals. I work for a global company willing to be innovative and progressive in today's marketplace. If you work with Experis, you will be partnering with a team of highly motivated people to help you succeed in your career path. As a sourcing specialist, I am dedicated to supporting my recruiting team and finding the best of you! I am also a published author and returning college student. When I'm not helping others, you will find me writing, editing, and reading. I love to learn and to meet new people.

3 thoughts on “Boolean Search Strings—Not as Scary as you Might Think!

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