Boolean Search Tips: On the Hunt for IT Candidates

Let’s face it – recruiting is not the same as it was 10 years ago. Realistically, it’s not even the same as it was 5 years ago. Long gone are the days where you would find candidates by collecting a drawer of resumes, scouring job boards and/or running a few simplistic Boolean searches. In today’s market, IT jobs are plentiful and the top IT candidates aren’t waiting around for you to call.

The Best Candidates are Hiding Out

Remember your grade school days, playing a game of hide and seek? It wasn’t any fun finding the kid hiding behind the pole. However, when you finally found little Susie hiding 3 feet up the inside of a tree trunk – you felt pretty accomplished, didn’t you? The same goes for recruiting. The best candidates aren’t easily found and it is most rewarding when you find those great ones who are hiding out.Boolean Search for IT Recrutiers: Be a Sly Fox

Searching Untapped Resources

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog discussing the value of e-sourcing, in particular, Google Site Searches. Here I discussed the value of online searching and networking. Forget job boards, forget your personal database – we are searching websites, databases, user groups and all kinds of online content that is going untapped.

How Site Searches Can Help Recruiters Find Hidden Candidates

In my last blog, I gave you a brief introduction to e-sourcing by explaining how SITE searches can help target information and candidates hidden and blocked on specific websites. Now that you have had some time to master the Google Site Search – I would like to share with you some other highly beneficial Google Search Strings in a series of blogs.

How to Become an Internet Recruiting Master

This week I will be discussing a new search string that will help aid you in becoming an e-sourcing/internet recruiting master. If you can use these tips in your daily searches, there won’t be a candidate you can’t find.

Boolean Search Tips:

inurl: tells Google to only return pages with a particular word in them.

Example: If I type inurl:resume into Google, it tells Google to look for web addresses with the word “resume” in them. Most often, when people post their resumes online the web address will contain the word resume in it. We are directing Google to look at websites with resumes. This syntax is useful whether or not we are combining it with a site search or doing an open search.

If I am doing a SITE search on Twitter and find that my site search is producing Java Developers from Toronto but I can’t find their resume, I could combine my SITE search and INURL search and write: inurl:resume (java OR J2EE) (developer OR programmer) Toronto

Or if I don’t want to limit my search to a particular site, I could write

inurl:resume (java OR J2EE) (developer OR programmer) Toronto

What other keywords do you think would be helpful to search for in websites URL’s?

Come back next Tuesday for new Boolean search tips!


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  1. Thank you for the insightful tips. I will have to try the inurl search and let you know how it goes. Some other keywords that would be useful are “cv” OR “curriculum vitae”. I’ll be back next Tuesday.

  2. Nice tips given at the end as sometimes inurl:resume doesn’ give you proper result.So,it is needed to search along with string like java or php so as to make a clear picture of search for the search engine.

  3. Can you guide me into getting suitable resumes for position I work it on, I am not able to get a single resume for the position.

    • Can any one guide me or give me strings to get resumes on PLM Team Center with Java experience

    • Hi Arun,

      Thanks for posting your question. It’s a great question that we face everyday when we’re trying to find candidates for difficult-to-fill roles like the PLM Team Center job you are trying to fill. As you discovered, sometimes it’s impossible to find candidates with certain skills because people with those skills are already working and they don’t post their resumes anywhere. That’s when you need to get really creative, not only with your Boolean search strings but also with the locations where you are searching.

      Here’s a search string you can try. Change the location to whatever you need:

      ((“intitle:(resume OR cv OR vitae)” OR (inurl:(resume OR cv OR vitae)”) “(java OR j2ee) (PLM)” (Toronto OR TO) –job –jobs

      A few other ideas that might help:

      • Download our Boolean search cheatsheet to help you with writing your search strings.
      • Research other keywords that you could use to expand your search. This post, “No more tilde, Bring on Nesting” has some helpful tips about writing strings with more keywords.
      • Try to find a LinkedIn special interest group where PML Team Center people hang out.
      • Twitter is a great source for niche candidates that is often overlooked. Search for Twitter hashtags related to PML Team Center and see who is using those hashtags. Also, look for Twitter lists related to your search.

      Hope this helps you to find some resumes! Let me know how it goes.



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