5 Reasons It’s time to try Boolean search for Recruiters

5 Reasons It's time to try Boolean search for Recruiters blog

For recruiters, LinkedIn is bittersweet in its efficiency and lack thereof. While it does host an extensive database of potential employees (because who isn’t on LinkedIn), the platform itself leaves you wanting with its less-than-satisfactory search functions. That is the equivalent of writing an all-inclusive encyclopedia and leaving out the index– with all the information just collecting dust, never browsed, never found. That’s why it’s important to pair LinkedIn with effective search methods– a combination that will speed up sourcing processes, so you can fill vacancies that much faster. They call it Boolean searching, and she is magnificent. 

What is Boolean or X-ray searching for Recruiters?

Boolean or x-ray searching is a powerful tool that can be used to find potential candidates. With Boolean or x-ray searching, you can search for specific keywords or phrases within LinkedIn and other profiles. This can be useful for finding candidates with the right skills and experience for a position. Additionally, this can help you to narrow down your results by location, industry, or other criteria. 

Think of it like ordering a burger at your favorite joint. Medium rare, extra onion rings and hold the tomatoes. Instead of receiving the house’s interpretation of what your burger should taste like, your directions will make sure you get exactly what you want, the way you want it. This would translate to a very effective Boolean search: Marketer AND writer NOT Freelancer. Every detail you add to your order represents the words after AND and NOT– parameters for your Boolean search. 

Boolean or x-ray searching is an essential tool for any recruiter or hiring manager who wants to maximize their chances of finding the best possible candidates.

How does Boolean or X-ray search for recruiters work?

Let’s make sure we know what we’re trying to achieve with X-ray searching here– we’re trying to narrow down a vast pool of candidates to get to where we want faster. 

This is just one of the many benefits (something we will dive into in detail further on in the blog), the full potential of the Boolean Search is only tapped into when paired with a competent recruiting tool. Webbtree’s sourcing tool asks you for your parameters and then finds candidates that fit into those parameters. They then gather information about these candidates at the click of a button, meaning you don’t have to go all over the internet trying to find out how to reach these people. They can also draft a cold email that you can read and customize before sending out. 

Back to it now, adding the right operators to your query will initiate your Boolean search. Here are 3 operators to get you started.


AND is one of the most commonly used Boolean operators. When you add AND to your search, you are telling the search engine to only bring back results that include all of the terms you have specified. For example, if you were to search for “dogs AND cats”, you would only see results that include both dogs and cats. This is a great way to narrow down your search results and find exactly what you are looking for. However, it is important to note that AND is usually the default operator, so you do not need to include it in your search unless you want to be more specific.


When you’re conducting a Boolean search, it’s important to remember the OR operator. This operator allows you to broaden your search by including results that contain either of the terms you’re searching for. For example, if you’re looking for information on dogs AND cats, you would use the OR operator to include results that mention either dogs OR cats. This can be especially useful if you’re not sure which term to use in your search, or if you want to make sure you don’t miss any relevant results.

Now I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that very similar to the “AND” operator? Here’s how it’s different. 

AND is used to narrow a search by requiring that all of the terms be present in the results. A search for “apples AND oranges” would only return articles that mention both apples and oranges. OR is used to broaden a search by including results that contain either of the terms. For example, A search for “apples OR oranges” would return articles that mention apples, oranges, or both.


When you’re conducting a Boolean search, adding the NOT operator can be a helpful way to narrow your results. By excluding terms that are related to your original search query, you can zero in on the information that you’re looking for. For instance, if you want to find articles about cats but not dogs, a search for “cats NOT dogs” would return results that contain “cats” but not “dogs.” This can be especially useful when you’re trying to weed out irrelevant results. 

5 Reasons It’s time to start Boolean search for recruiters

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of recruiters who believe it is time to start X-ray searching. Here are 5 reasons why this practice may become more widespread:

Fewer candidates to screen

One of the benefits of using x-ray screening during the hiring process is that it can eliminate potential candidates who do not meet the qualifications for the job. By screening candidates early on, recruiters can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on interviewing and testing candidates who are not a good fit for the position. 

Access to more relevant information about the right candidates

Any recruiter will tell you that one of the most important aspects of their job is being able to find the right candidates for open positions. X-ray search allows recruiters to search for candidates based on specific keywords and criteria. This means that they can find candidates who are more likely to be a good fit for the position, saving time and effort in the long run.

For example, you can search for people who have worked at a specific company, or who have a certain skill set. This means that you’re more likely to find the right candidates for the job, and you don’t have to wade through as much irrelevant information.

Find passive talent

In a competitive job market, it can be difficult to find the right candidate for a position. However, by using x-ray searching, recruiters can identify potential candidates who may not be actively searching for a new job. This is because x-ray searching allows you to search for profiles based on specific keywords and skills. As a result, you can target your search to find candidates with the exact experience and qualifications that you are looking for.

Create a pool for future hiring cycles 

By using the x-ray search function, you can quickly and easily identify individuals who may be a good fit for a particular role. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the recruiting process, as you will already have a pool of qualified candidates to choose from. Additionally, by keeping track of the people you’ve x-ray searched, you can create a database of potential candidates for future hiring cycles. This is especially helpful if you have a high turnover rate or frequently have new positions opening up. LinkedIn’s x-ray search feature is an incredibly valuable tool for recruiters and HR professionals, and can help to make the hiring process more efficient and effective.

Search across multiple portals at a time

The biggest disadvantage of sticking to single job portals like LinkedIn is that you are only able to reach the candidates present there. So chances are that you might miss a candidate who might be perfect- but not available or active on the platform. 

This is where Boolean search can help, when executed through a search engine or a recruiting tool that can give you results across multiple sites- making sure results specialty skill sites like behance, GitHub, stackoverflow are also included.

This can ensure you streamline your candidate search and save time in the process.

How to get maximum value from Boolean search for recruiters?

Boolean search can be intimidating for a recruiter. That is where a tool like Webbtree’s Boolean builder tools can come in handy. 

Here are some ways Webbtree’s Boolean builder can help recruiters utilize Boolean search & X-ray search without actually having to write complicated logic:

  1. Get AI Generated relevant suggestions to help add right keywords automatically to your search. These can be around job designations, skill sets that are complementary to what you are looking for. Ex: Looking for a digital marketing manager? You will also see suggestions like marketing manager, growth manager, performance marketing manager, digital marketing executive etc.
  1. Get the right Boolean operator added automatically: No need to worry about what operator would fit to get the right set of candidates. Webbtree Talentsource automatically adds the right operators to your search & creates a Boolean search for best results.
  1. Contact enrichment without a fuss: Finding the right profiles is only half the battle, the difficult part is reaching the candidate with the right contact details. Webbtree’s chrome extension can help you extract & find contact details of the candidate with a single click. With Webbtree Talent Source, their details can be added to the recruitment pipeline with 1 click.
  1. No need of hundred different trackers: You don’t have to maintain separate trackers for every pipeline of candidates you might need for later. With 1 click, Webbtree TalentSource can create various Talentpools & organize talent data seamlessly.

Our Boolean builder is available in two different products to fit the needs of different types of recruiters

  1. Webbtree Recroot: For recruiting teams who are looking for a tool to manage your entire recruitment process at one place- from sourcing via Boolean search to Applicant tracking. You can sign up for a free trial for Webbtree Recroot here.
  1. Webbtree TalentSource: For individual recruiters looking to up their sourcing game. You can sign up for a free trial for Webbtree Talentsource here.


Outbound recruitment is the order of the day, especially for jobs that require specialized skill sets & conditions. With job board licenses costing a kidney, that is a big challenge for recruiters globally. Boolean search then can save the day for recruiters- by opening up candidates across different sites at one place- while ensuring that you get access to the right candidates. But it is often considered not so easy by most recruiters.

Tools like Webbtree Talent Source can help recruiters go a long way in making Boolean search for recruiters more value driven & easy. 

Want to get started with Boolean search for your sourcing ? Sign up here today. 

How can ATS help sort, filter, find candidates through my existing Resume Database

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