The iContract platform supports boolean searches. This allows you to search for contractors with increased accuracy over simple dropdown menues. Boolean searches use "operators" that define how searches should find results and operators can be combined in many, powerful ways.
The operators are:
The AND operator
The AND operator indicates that both terms either side of the operator should be searched for.
For example, if we are looking for a contract with both Java and React skills, we would enter
java AND react
Note that search is not case sensitive, so we could have entered:
Java and React
In this case, we are asking the iContract platform to search for all of the contracts that include both the word "java" and the word "react". That is, we are only looking to find contracts that fall in the cross section of the diagram below – candidates who have both keywords mentioned in their profile:
The more criteria we add using the AND operator, the less contracts we will find with our search, as by using AND, we are narrowing our search. However, the contracts we do find from our search will be more relevant, as they will contain both of those skills.
IMPORTANT: The default, if no operator is present, is AND. Thus writing:
is equivalent to writing:
java AND developer
The OR operator
The OR operator indicates that the left or the right term should be searched for. As an example, if we are looking for a contract that has either Java or React skill, we world enter:
java OR react
We are asking the platform to search for contracts that include either of those two terms in their iContract description, or both terms simultaneously. Meaning we are looking to find contracts that fall in either side of the diagram, or indeed the cross section:
Therefore, by using OR, we are broadening/expanding our search to encompass contracts that have one result or the other or both.
Using OR enables us to find hidden information; that is, contracts that have expressed skills and experience in a different way than you might normally search for, such as banking OR bank OR finance OR financial, because by using OR we are broadening our search.
The NOT/ AND NOT operator
The NOT operator indicates that a specific term should not be present in our search. For example, if we are looking for a contract with java skills but does not require react experience, we would use
java NOT react
We are asking the platform to search for contracts that include the word Java, but to exclude any contracts that also include the word react. See diagram.
Alternatively, we can also use "AND NOT", which will give the same results as just using "NOT".
The wildcard operator: *
The wildcard operator is represented by a "*" in searches. We can make a word match with alternative endings by using a wildcard (*) at the end of a word; for example:
will find results as if we had typed any of:
java AND develop
java AND developer
java AND development
Effectively finding contracts matching the word "java" along with and any word that begins with "develop".
The quotation marks: “”
Placing an expression in quotation marks, such as "java developer", will group those words together into a single search term so that they will be searched for as one expression. For example:
will search for both words as a single term rather than as two separate words.
When using Boolean search, if the keyword you’re searching for needs to be considered as a whole word, e.g. Java Developer, then it must be enclosed within quotation marks in your Boolean search string. If not, then the platform will consider the space between the two words to be an AND, and will search the database for two separate terms – java AND developer – and not what we want to search for, which was the exact phrase "java developer".
Boolean operators are most effective when used in complex combinations to provide very precise results. For example:
java AND react AND develop* NOT London
This means that we are searching for mention of a developer or someone in development (as develop* will search for developer, development or develop) with both Java and React skills, but excluding those who are in London.
When more than one operator is used, there are rules for how those operators should be combined. They are:
- NOT will always be considered first and applies directly to the term that follows it (right hand side).
- AND is considered next and will be used after all NOTs have been joined to their search terms.
- OR is considered last.
- "" quotes will combine multiple words and allow them to be used together as if they were a single word.
- * wildcards are associated directly with the word that they are attached to.
The brackets (parentheses) operators
Brackets (sometimes called "parentheses") allow you to change the default order (or precedence) of how the operators should be combined. For example:
java OR react AND develop* NOT London
Based on the default order, NOT comes first, AND second and OR Last, meaning we are looking for either a contract that includes Java, or requires development with React skills but not based in London. This means we will get results for React developers outside of London and anyone with Java skills.
This is unlikely to be a useful search term. What we probably actually meant to search for is a developer with either Java or React skill who is not based in London. Thus, we could update our search to something like this:
(java or react) AND develop* NOT London
The brackets allow us to override the default priority and we are now able to use the OR operator first. Therefore, looking for a developer, not in London, with either Java or React skillset.
Hopefully, this document will help you to perform better, more accurate searches. Happy hunting!