Learn how to create a Boolean search to find a great list of candidates

An example

After a while, you will become much more creative about the types of words you could search for to include more likely profiles in your search results or words that you could use to specifically exclude profiles with certain words (using the NOT operator).

Let’s look at the following example:

client (founder OR start-up OR entrepreneur) (technology OR digital) NOT(recruitment) NOT(talent) NOT(student)

What does this say?

First, all profiles selected would have to contain the word ‘client’.

The next 3 terms are separated by the Boolean OR

When using the Boolean OR remember

Put it in capitals like this OR

founder OR start-up OR entrepreneur

These words separated by OR are also surrounded by parenthesis as follows:

(founder OR start-up OR entrepreneur)

Why parenthesis?

So that it’s clear these words should all be evaluated together (separately from other words in the Search)

Then there is a space followed by

(technology OR digital)

So it looks like this:

(founder OR start-up OR entrepreneur) (technology OR digital)

This means:

In addition to having one of the words “founder, start-up, or entrepreneur”, to qualify for the results list, a profile examined by the LinkedIn search must also have one of “technology or digital” to qualify for the results list.

Then we have NOT(recruitment) NOT(talent) NOT(student)

This means we don’t want profiles that contain the words recruitment or talent or student

Important notes regarding NOT

NOT must be in capitals
It must be followed by an open parenthesis WITHOUT any space so NOT(student) is OK but NOT (student) is not OK.
LinkedIn will allow you to use multiple NOT’s but a maximum of only 5 ANDs (even on paid version) before coming up with a “please shorten” message


LinkedIn Booleans do not permit wildcard searching

In other words, you can’t use “recruit*”. Instead, you need to use “recruit OR recruitment” (as an example).
However, it does appear to search for upper or lowercase.

Don’t be scared to have a go

It’s the only way you learn!
And it’s worth persevering so that you can filter out better quality candidates – it will save you a lot of time in the long run!