Everything You Need to Know About Boolean Search Recruiting with hireEZ

April 21, 2021 5 min read

Boolean search recruiting has been a staple in the industry for a long time.

Although candidate search methods have expanded, specifically with the emergence of AI-driven contextual searches,boolean search recruiting is still a common way for recruiters to pinpoint focused candidate pools across different platforms. These platforms include search engines, resume databases, and social networks.

That’s right, social networks, too. While people today use hashtags to find information on social media, recruiters have long been using a combination of asterisks, quotes, and parentheses to find quality candidates. Don’t understand that reference? No worries. Here’s a basic breakdown of what a Boolean search is and how you can construct one yourself.

What is a Boolean search?

Simply put, Boolean searches in recruiting are an advanced way of looking for candidates. It involves the use of variables known as operators and modifiers.

Here are the operators: NOT, AND, OR

Here are some modifiers: * , ( ) , “ “

There are three types of Boolean searches: Basic, Fuzzy, and Proximity

Basic Search

When building out a basic search, there are a few rules to keep in mind.

✅   Operators must be written in all caps (i.e. NOT, OR, AND)

✅   Quotation marks are used to indicate a phrase containing over one word (i.e. “business analyst”)

✅   Parentheses are used to group an operator (i.e. (game or app))

✅   Wild Card: Adding an asterisk mark (*) or question mark (?) can generate variations inside a word. (i.e. pro*: product, program, etc; b2?: b2b, b2c, etc.)

Fuzzy Search

Fuzzy search can be used to associate words with similar spellings. This is done by putting a tilde (~) at the end of a single word.

For example, inputting [recruite~] would generate a result like “recruiter.”

Proximity Search

A proximity search allows the specified words to be further apart or in a different order. In the same way that fuzzy searches can specify a maximum edit distance for characters in a word, a proximity search specifies a maximum edit distance of words in a phrase.

This is also achieved by the tilde symbol (~) at the end of the phrase with a maximum number of interval words between the words following.

For example, inputting [“customer manager”~1] would return results, such as Customer Success Manager, Customer Relationship Manager, and Customer Service Manager. As you can see, there’s one additional related word in each result.

If we changed the search to “customer manager”~3, the results would allow up to three additional relevant words, including Customer Success and Relationship Manager, Customer Service and Training Manager, and Customer Resource and Relationship Manager.

With this basic understanding of Boolean search recruiting and how to build a Boolean string search, here are three areas where hireEZ supports Boolean search within its platform.

Strings for sourcing

In our EZ Sourcing section, you get the best of both worlds. You can choose to source with hireEZ’s AI-powered candidate search or you can start by adding your strings in a Boolean search.

Like most of us at home throughout 2020, it’s easy to feel stuck when you’re making Boolean strings. If you need help building out strings, hireEZ provides our very own Boolean Builder feature.

What’s the difference between using a boolean search in recruiting and using AI sourcing? Read our blog to learn more.

Build better with boolean builder

Based on your preference, we offer three options for the creation of custom boolean strings.

🏁  Quick mode:Choose a job title or area of expertise and hireEZ’s AI will predict and generate your keywords.

🧠  Smart mode:A more comprehensive option that allows you to customize your string by adding other filters. For instance, you can choose up to five job titles with help from AI populated suggestions. You can add related and/or mandatory skills, industries, and locations.

📄  JD mode: Copy/paste a job description and hireEZ’s AI will extract and parse the relevant keywords for you to generate a Boolean string to help you find hidden candidates.


We’ve made the Boolean Builder even more accessible by including it in our Chrome Extension.So wherever you are on the open web, you’ll be able to immediately build Boolean strings with ease.

Added flexibility to reports

hireEZ’s EZ Insights is a powerful tool for obtaining candidate data in real-time to help inform your hiring decisions. Based on your search criteria, hireEZ provides you talent pool breakdowns of skills, education, average market values, diversity, and more.

We wanted to make sure that those using Boolean strings could also take advantage of these resources. Within EZ Insights, you’ll be able to add keywords or boolean strings that you’d like to see candidate data for.

Refined sourcing within your ATS

hireEZ’s EZ Rediscovery is another powerful tool that allows hiring teams to integrate with over 30+ ATS providers to generate updated and enriched candidate profiles.

For hiring teams looking to fill open reqs, ATS’s contain a pool of past applicants that have shown prior interest in your organization and have upskilled since your last engagement touchpoint. In other words, your ATS contains a database of accessible and quality talent. 

To rediscover past talent in this database, we’ve made conducting Boolean searches across their ATS candidate pool a seamless experience. Like our EZ Sourcing section, recruiters will be able to plug in profile keywords or Boolean strings to search across their new, update and enriched ATS candidate pool.


Recruiters who integrate with their ATS will also be able to update and enrich outdated candidate profiles in hireEZ with data from the open web.

Ready to do more?

We hope these features make you even more excited about conducting Boolean searches! Building a Boolean string is no easy task, but our Customer Success team is always here to help!

If you’re not a customer and would like to learn more about these features, check out our pricing plan or contact our sales team today.


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