Three Common Mistakes Using Boolean Modifiers

January 25, 2010

Boolean modifiers help you locate profiles of potential candidates who meet specific skills, qualifications and experience levels required to fill the position.  But used incorrectly, they can also inadvertently restrict or misdirect your search so you'll end up with limited results or even mismatched profiles. Here are three examples of common mistakes made when building boolean search strings in LinkedIn Recruiter.

1.  Keyword:  Manager learning development

Remember that entering text into the keyword field will search for profiles in which the terms appear anywhere in the profile.  The search will encompass headlines, summaries, specialties, company names, titles, job descriptions and so on. As a result, your results will include all profiles which include the search terms in any and all fields.

For a more precise search, enter role/position/level in the title field and the area/skills in the keywords as in the example below.

Solution 1
Keywords:  Learning AND Development
Title:  Manager

2.  Title:  Managing Director

The most common mistake when entering multiple terms is forgetting that not using AND is the same as using AND.  What do I mean?  When entering two terms together, LinkedIn Recruiter will assume there is an AND between them.  So if you are looking for an exact phase (i.e. Managing Director, Pitney Bowes, web 2.0) use quotation marks to ensure Recruiter searches for where the two words appear together, not separately.

Solution 2
Keyword:  "web 2.0"
Title:  "Managing Director"
Company:  "Pitney Bowes" OR "Hewlett-Packard"

3.  Title:  Director NOT Executive VP Vice-President

The same thing that causes the error above will cause a problem here, but the solution is different.  Recruiter automatically assumes there is an AND between terms without a modifier.  You will find profiles with Director and not Executive, but some will include VP and Vice-President, too. For best results, include the NOT modifer before each term that you want to exclude.

Solution 3
Title:  Director NOT Executive NOT VP NOT "Vice-President"

That said, I do need to add one caveat

It's only an error if you inadvertly misuse the modifiers. Occasionally you may want to broaden or narrow your search using these techniques.  Intent is 9/10ths of the law. But when used correctly, boolean modifers can turn searching into finding.