Finding your perfect candidates on LinkedIn with Boolean search 🔍

Goodnews: You need not swim through the Pacific to find your perfect candidates. You have the LinkedIn boolean search.

However, it’s not enough to just juggle the ANDs and ORs within LinkedIn, that’s probably what every other recruiter is doing, right?. With a little finesse, you could  steer through millions of candidates, and land on the top of your perfect (and narrowed down) candidates list before your competitors get there.

Note: The order of precedence of these operators is Quotes [“”], Parentheses [()], NOT, AND, OR.

Running the perfect searches, finding the perfect candidates

There are hundreds of ways through which a company can make it to the top. Of which, the right talent is a sure shot. So let’s see how to find them.

Your first step towards finding the top talent is defining your requirements in as much detail as possible. The details can include information such as ideal job experience, certifications, university they went to, the company they may be working in, etc.

The next step is to translate your requirements into filters. The thinner your filter, the better your search. That’s why step 1 is important. If you have a clear understanding of who it is that you are looking for, you can just go for them, instead of wading through hundreds of pretty looking profiles.

LinkedIn recruiter advanced filter options

LinkedIn has a great inbuilt search functionality, you just have to know how to make it work for you. Instead of filling out every field in the advanced search, go for the ones that will matter to you.


One savvy way to zero in on perfect candidates is by going after the companies they might work in or would have worked for in the past.


Make a list of companies your ideal candidates may work in or would have worked at. These could be companies similar to yours in terms of products or services, core values, culture, compensation, hiring strategies, etc. Once that’s in place, you can aim right at their pool of people. How does one do that? Navigate to LinkedIn advanced filters and enter your boolean search for candidates from your list of companies in the COMPANY field. My boolean search for a marketing lead from one of these companies would look something like this:

(“Ogilvy and Manther” OR “Hallmark” OR “Lego” OR “Zenith” OR “Starcom” OR “ESPN” OR “MEC” OR “CARAT”)

When the company name exceeds beyond one word, make sure to club them under the same parentheses.

Another clever choice would be the ‘LOCATION’ filter. Recruiters can go after this filter for many reasons. a) Top reason: To find candidates from their own city or neighbouring cities and avoid relocation hassles. b) Find candidates from other places to keep their employee pool diverse. c) Because they need someone from a particular location to handle a specific job that might include cultural knowledge or language of that particular place. I am sure there are n other reasons out there.

So let’s say I am looking for candidates in and around Dallas, the search string that goes into my location filter would look something like this:

(“Dallas” OR “Houston” OR “Austin” OR “El Paso” Or “Fort Worth” OR “San Antonio” OR “Pasadena”)

In the same way, you can go after candidates who graduated from very specific universities, industrial backgrounds and more. If you nail your requirements, the perfect candidates are just inevitable.

On LinkedIn, you also get to search from your 1st, 2nd and 3rd line of connections on your LinkedIn profile. People you know, and the people they know are always an easy place to start.

This 8-pages guide from LinkedIn on advanced filters walks you through every nook and corner you need to know.

Maybe wind up with a quote?

“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies’​’​ – Lawrence Bossidy, former CEO of General Electric

Happy searching, happy finding!