Boolean Is Dead. On LinkedIn Only

booleanstringsBoolean 7 Comments


Here is a “double alert” I have just copied from my screen. A rare error occurred, and Boolean is going away in Recruiter Lite.

If you wanted to search, for example, for someone whose job title is (Engineer OR Developer) NOT Manager, you will no longer be able to do so.

Of the current choices of premium personal accounts,


it looks like only Navigator and Lite have advanced search. Lite doesn’t have Boolean, we are told. Navigator has something called “Lead Builder” that doesn’t sound like “Boolean” to me. Is Boolean search going away from all accounts?

LinkedIn suggests to people who want to use Boolean search to upgrade to LinkedIn Recruiter. (By the way, is the assumption that only recruiters, of all LinkedIn members, may want to use Boolean search syntax?)

The problem for the fans of traditional Boolean search is not just that LinkedIn Recruiter is expensive; its search syntax is not exactly Boolean – it’s complicated and user-unfriendly. Just to give you one example – in LinkedIn Recruiter, the second search below brings up more results than the first:

  1. Software Engineer
  2. Software Engineer NOT Senior

(Did you think the first search should bring more results?)

In our sourcing practice, we find that searching on Google can be well done without writing long OR statements or exclusions using the minus. That is because Google has done a lot to understand what people are looking for, “read between the lines”, and show related results.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, doesn’t even “know” standard abbreviations, let alone synonyms; so on LinkedIn, we have always looked for terminology variations using OR statements. Not knowing even the basics on the job titles (VP and “Vice President” in the Job Title field search bring different results), it will not be able to provide us with intelligent suggestions.

We can’t just walk away from LinkedIn – it has so much professional data! But the lack of access to Boolean syntax on LinkedIn is going to lead to productivity loss, and not just for recruiters.

Bottom line:

  1. No Boolean in free LinkedIn accounts
  2. No Boolean in any premium LinkedIn accounts, including Job Seeker, Business, Sales Navigator, and Recruiter Lite
  3. No Boolean in LinkedIn Recruiter

I would be glad if the announcements of the Boolean death on LinkedIn are wrong! But to get ready for the new era, you might want to look into our (most popular!) workshop “Sourcing Without LinkedIn” to learn to utilize other sources and “Boolean Strings Basics” to brush up on X-Raying.

Comments 7

  1. Yes, Linkedin is cutting the branch he is sitting on – boolean in Recruiter Lite was the only reason why I kind of ‘sticked to the rules’. Now I won’t and I won’t pay for something that doesn’t bring me results. And certainly won’t pay 600eur/month for all wonderful corporate options I don’t need (who does if you have an ATS?). Luckily I attended your ‘sourcing without Linkedin’ webinair and can find my way around. Still – it’s a shame that Linkedin doesn’t want to make their product better but seem focussed on money only…

  2. Thanks Irina. I was just about to post about this very issue when I saw your update. If LinkedIn is trying to drive away custom, it’s making a good job of it! My Recruiter Lite package costs GBP 1,122 per month; upgrading to Recruiter would cost GBP 9,072! Happily, in the field I work in (higher education), most people are more or less ‘visible’ and I can get to them either by X-raying LinkedIn or by web searching.

    You’re right about us not being able to walk away from LinkedIn (I wish we could), but they’ve lost me as a premium customer.

    Best wishes

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  4. Irina, thanks.I was trying boolean operators in our Linkedin Recruiter accounts and its still working.I dont understand Linkedin approach.It would be totally against their paying customer.Does anyone have information about roll-out dates? Regards, Jiri

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  6. Jiri, I think roll-outs already started and are expected to go live for everyone starting up next year.

    Curious if the new design will also have any implications on X-raying.

    Btw, feel free to check out as an alternative to LI Advanced Search — our tool works with X-ray although we have a nice interface to it and some nicer features. 🙂

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