5 Intermediate Boolean Search Operators For Recruiters

Every year, there are new, innovative developments within recruitment, whether it’s Google For Jobs, AI in recruitment or how to leverage the new social media platform to find better candidates. Consequently, it is very easy to become inundated with ideas about the “next big thing” and never actually implement new tactics to improve your day-to-day sourcing activity.

Boolean search has been around for a long time for a reason. By learning how to build relevant search strings, you can leverage your recruitment CRM software, and most search engines, to find skilled and qualified candidates quickly.

If you are are new to boolean search, get up to speed with boolean search in recruitment and learn the basic boolean search operators.

To supplement the basics of boolean search, here’s our guide to 5 intermediate boolean search operators that can help you optimise your search strings for even better candidate resourcing results.

1. Tilde (~)

The tilde (~) is perhaps one of the most underrated boolean search operators but it can be incredibly useful to either expand or reduce your search results, depending on how your choose to use it.

In essence, the tilde (~) will include synonyms of the keyword used with it. For example a search such as ~jobs would include phrases such as jobs, roles, vacancies, openings etc. Or a search for ~CV would include CV, Curriculum Vitae, Resume, Portfolio.

It can also be used to reduce search results when used in conjunction with the NOT function or (-). For example:

~CV “Software Developer” -Jobs -Template

Boolean search Tilde
This search includes any synonyms of the word CV with the exact phrase Software Developer, and excludes the terms Jobs and Template.

Result: Three out of top four results were candidate CVs.


The near function is better known as a proximity search operator and allows you to search for related terms that appear near to each other i.e. within 1-10 words and in any order. For example, if you wanted to find results for administration that appeared near finance, you could search:

~CV Finance NEAR Admin* -Jobs -template

Boolean search NEAR

This will produce results of synonyms relating to CV with the words Finance within 1-10 words of Admin*, excluding jobs and template.

3. Filetype:

Specifying the filetype: in a search will often narrow down your search results considerably but can be a quick fire method of finding those elusive CV documents you’re looking for. For example:

~CV finance AND Manager Filetype: pdf -Template

Filetype 1

This search, although quite broad, did return four CVs on the first page of Google’s results. By having a look at what format your candidates give you their CVs, you can determine what filetype would be a valuable search for you. Some examples include:

4. & 5.  Site: & Inurl:

The site: and Inurl: search operators, also known as an x-ray search, allows you to search for particular skills within a specific site or URL. This is particularly useful for more niche websites such as github and stackoverflow for software developers, for example.

site:github.com developer AND London

Boolean Search Site and Inurl

The key to x-ray search is to know which sites your candidates will appear on specifically.

To get valuable results from Boolean search takes a little bit of trial and error but by practicing with different search operators and using the most relevant search terms, you can build specific search strings for every job vacancy.

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Why Invest In Recruitment Software Training?

Whether you are implementing new recruitment software, training new staff or refresher training, the investment in providing your staff with the adequate recruitment software training is paramount. As well as ensuring your staff know how to use the software to do their job, it also ensures your recruitment agency continues to maximise the ROI with your recruitment software.

Understandably, recruitment software training can be seen as an optional cost i.e. not essential. But without equipping your staff with the right training to do the job, how can you expect their output to be sufficient, let alone exceptional? So let’s assess what training is on the market and how you can make the right choice for your recruitment agency.

What Type Of Recruitment Software Training Is Available?

This is the a foundation course that trains user on the software’s core functionality, features, navigation and search options. This type of training course is generally delivered first and becomes the foundation for the additional training packages.

Role Based Training
Role specific software training packages are designed to target the right training to the right people within your business. Most recruitment software companies provide a range of role based training packages to ensure your training spend is optimised. This could include 360° permanent or temporary recruitment, compliance and payroll processing and client invoicing.

Train The Trainer
A Train the Trainer program is recommended if you have a dedicated in-house trainer or subject matter expert that can deliver new employee or refresher software training to your staff. This type of training program is delivered to empower your in-house trainer with the knowledge across all functionality of your recruitment software solution. There is an initial cost upfront to have your dedicated trainer trained across all the software’s functionality, but there will be a cost saving over a period of time as new staff join or existing staff require refresher training.

What Type Of Training Delivery Models Are Available?

Onsite Instructor Led Training
This type of training is facilitated by a trainer onsite within a classroom and group setting. Despite its additional cost, classroom based training remains very popular due to having in-person contact with each staff member.. Generally, the travel cost and expenses are paid for by you, the agency.

Online Instructor Led Training
This type of training is facilitated by an instructor who is offsite and the training is delivered in an online setting. The benefits of online are that you will save on the cost of the trainer travel and accommodation and the training can be delivered to multiple offices, in domestic or international locations simultaneously. So, if your agency has an international presence or branches across the UK, the training can remain consistent across the company.

Implementing A Continuous Learning Environment

The majority of learning for any software happens during their daily working hours as consultants using it everyday will inevitably get more confident with the software and attempt more complicated actions.. To maximise efficiency with the software, many recruitment agencies implement a continuous learning environment which aims to support and advance recruiters’ skills as and when they require.

An effective continuous learning plan includes a mix of formal, informal, and on-the-job training options. This is critical for staff that have attended a formal training program as the adaption of what has been learnt in a formal setting into their day to day work is generally when questions will arise or side by side coaching is required. By training your staff sufficiently and providing a continuous learning environment you should expect to see improvements across the board, from efficiency in daily tasks right through to your bottom line.

Are you needing a more comprehensive guide to buying new recruitment software? Download our free eBook below and make the right choice for your business.

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What Is Blind Recruitment?

In recent years there have been some revealing studies regarding unconscious bias within the hiring process across the globe. Australian MP, Andrew Leigh, co-authored a study that found that Chinese applicants must submit 68% more applications to get an interview than those with “Anglo-Saxon” names. In the UK, according to research by the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, “Muslim women are three times more likely to be unemployed and looking for a job than women generally.”

To tackle such findings, the UK government announced that UCAS would carry out “name-blind” applications in 2017. This process has now been adopted by public sector bodies such as the civil service, BBC, NHS as well as large private companies including Deloitte, HSBC and Virgin Money.

But what is “name blind” or blind recruitment and how can it benefit you and your client’s hiring process?

What Is Blind Recruitment?

In essence, blind recruitment is a method to remove “criteria that could unintentionally bias managers, and give underrepresented groups confidence that their application will be fairly considered”. It is not just about hiding a candidate’s name, it is also about anonymising anything not relevant to the stage of the process recruiters and hiring managers are dealing with at the time. This can include gender, ethnicity, age, educational institution and even years of experience.

The aim of blind recruitment is to consider applications solely based on merit thereby removing immediate bias at the first stage of the hiring process.

What Are The Benefits Of Blind Recruitment?

Besides offering a fairer recruitment process to candidates and reducing unconscious bias currently concerning UK, and global, organisations, it can also increase diversity among the UK workforce. The benefits of diversity have been well documented recently, with one study reporting that increasing gender diversity by just one per cent will boost your bottom line by three. Furthermore, a one percent rise in race equality has been shown to increase your revenue by nine percent.

Interested in finding out more about diversity in the workplace, take a read of our blog.

Having an open and active diversity policy can also contribute to attracting millennial job seekers. A PwC study showed that, “86% of female and 74% of male millennials consider employers’ policies on diversity…when deciding which company to work for.” So, if the benefits are so evident, why isn’t everyone employing blind recruitment as part of their diversity policy?

Does Blind Recruitment Improve The Hiring Process?

There’s little doubt that blind recruitment can reduce bias at the first round of the hiring process, but there is a growing concern that this does not address the wider issue. By simply papering over the bias, you risk a false sense of achievement. The reality is that if a hiring manager holds any bias, unconscious or not, it is likely to show at some point in the interview process, leading to decreasing probability at each progressive stage.

Among the sceptics to blind recruitment is Jon Williams, the global leader of people and organisation at PwC, who admits that, “it is an awesome way of removing bias in the initial selection. But…there are very few jobs where you are going to appoint someone purely on the basis of a written submission.” To tackle the issue head on, all 20,000 PwC staff take part in unconscious bias training to raise awareness of stereotypes and encourage people to understand and challenge their own biases.

Blind recruitment is a positive response to the issues of discrimination in the hiring process but, as we can see, it is not a flawless solution. It is also important to equip recruiters and hiring managers with the necessary awareness training in order to combat the problem at the source.


Recruitment software can be used to bolster your diversity policy and make your selection process fairer. If you’re looking for new recruitment software, download our free eBook and make a decision with confidence.

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