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Boolean Search Operator: NOT
Boolean Search Operator: NOT

How does the NOT operator work?

Cherry avatar
Written by Cherry
Updated over a week ago

The NOT operator is exclusionary – it excludes specific search terms and so the query will not return any results with that term (or terms) in them.

Example: If you were searching for an I.T. Project Manager, you may want to employ the NOT operator in order to eliminate false positive results – results that mention your search terms but do not in fact match your target Candidate. 

In this case, you could run: “project manager” and not construction – this search will not return any results with “project manager” and the word “construction” contained within them.

🔥Example: .Net AND NOT (Java OR JSP OR J2EE) – that search will not return any results with any mention of Java, JSP, and/or J2EE.

NOT has 2 main uses:

  1. Excluding words you do not want to retrieve to reduce false positive results (most common usage)

  2. Starting with a very restrictive search with many search terms, you can use the NOT operator to systematically and progressively loosen the search into mutually exclusive result sets (not so common usage, but very effective strategy)

Basic example:

  1. “Project Manager” AND SQL AND Spanish

  2. “Project Manager” AND SQL AND NOT Spanish

  3. “Project Manager” AND NOT SQL AND Spanish

  4. “Project Manager” AND NOT (SQL OR Spanish)

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