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Search Tips & Tricks


SmartRecruiters' search engine can search through all text inside candidate profiles and resumes. SmartRecruiters parses and indexes all content (personal information, school and work information, skills) inside resumes that candidates submit when applying. 

Searching attachments

SmartRecruiters will parse resumes uploaded by the candidate in DOC, DOCX, RTF, PPT, ODT, TXT, PDF, PDF with image inside, or TIFF file formats. Once the resume is parsed, SmartRecruiters includes the resume file's text in search. Any attachments added after the candidate applies are not parsed and indexed, and their contents are not available in search.

Search locations

You can search in multiple locations in SmartRecruiters.

Global search

Enter keywords into the Search field in the top navigation to find candidates. Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 12.57.28 PM.png

Search for jobs

Enter keywords in the Search field on the Jobs page to find jobs. This field will not search through candidate information.Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 1.01.44 PM.png

Search for candidates

Use the Search field the People page to sift through all candidates on any job you have access to.PeoplePage.png

Search for candidates on a job 

Use the Search field on the People tab of a job to sift through candidates on that job.


 There's a 500 character limit to search queries.

Recently viewed candidates

Click any of the search fields to see a list of the last 5 candidate profiles you viewed:Last5Viewed.png

Click one to revisit their profile. When you click See all recently viewed people and:

  • you're using the search field in the top navigation bar or the big field at the top of the People list (see above), SmartRecruiters will show you the last 50 viewed candidates (across all jobs) on the People page.
  • you're using the search field on the Applicant list of a job, SmartRecruiters will show the list of last 50 viewed candidates with a primary application for that job.

In each case, the list begins with the most recently viewed candidates at the top. 

You can also use the Show Candidates filter on the People page to:ShowCandidatesFilter.png

  • Select the Employee option to filter for candidates with the Employee label.
  • Select the Recently viewed option to view a list of the last 50 candidates you've viewed.


When you search for candidates in SmartRecruiters, we look at a number of different fields and give these fields different weights. Here are all the fields we search on, in order of weight:  

  1. First Name
  2. Last Name
  3. Email
  4. City
  5. State
  6. Current Position at current company
  7. Tags
  8. Skills - parsed from resume.
  9. Past Positions at past companies
  10. Education
  11. Job Applied To
  12. Attached Resume

Weighting determines the relevance of the results returned by SmartRecruiters. SmartRecruiters determines the relevance by counting the number of instances of the keyword and examining the location (field) of each instance. 

For example, a candidate with keyword Marketing in their “Current Position” will be ranked higher compared to a candidate with two instances of "Marketing" in their “Skills”, because Skills have a lower weight than "Current Position."

Use search with multiple candidate filters and sort by Relevance to get the best results. 

Advanced candidate searching

When you're searching for candidates, SmartRecruiters will treat each keyword as an individual phrase. This is called tokenization or stemming of the search input. In this process, separators between words such as spaces, or punctuation marks, are used to identify individual keywords. The separators are removed from the search, and each keyword is then searched by individually. For example, this query:

product manager 

 will return candidates with profiles that contain "product" or "manager". To avoid tokenization of search input, use double quotes to search for an entire phrase. For example:

"product manager"

will return candidates with profiles that contain the phrase "product manager", but not "product" or "manager" alone. Including your search keywords between double quotes ensures the system will look for the whole text.

When looking for a candidate's email address, the @ symbol is also considered as a separator. If the email is entered as a single search parameter, the system will look for separate search terms located before and after the @. To search for the entire email address, please always include it between double quotes


  • Searching for "" would return an indexed search with "john", "mail" and "com" as the search parameters
  • Search for "" would return an indexed search with "" as the single search parameter

Additionally, when performing a keyword search, our system reduces entered keywords to their stem words by removing suffixes. For example, if you search for "build", "builder" or "building", the steam word "build" will be used in the search, and yield appropriate results. This also means the search won't be one hundred percent precise, but will have a degree of fuzziness.

The best way to search for a candidate is by first or last name, or email address.

Partial queries

SmartRecruiters supports partial matches only for name and email, and only if the string matches the beginning of a name or email.

Boolean queries for candidates

You can also use Boolean operators when searching for candidates. SmartRecruiters evaluates Boolean queries with the same relevance calculation as any regular keyword search. The operators determine which candidates are included or excluded from the results.

AND  Find all candidate profiles that have all keywords joined by this operator. Useful for narrowing down your search with additional keywords.
OR Find candidates profiles with one or more keywords joined by this operator. Useful when there are common synonyms for a skill or job title that might appear on a candidate's profile.
NOT Use this operator to exclude all candidates who have an unwanted keyword in their profile.

Use parentheses ( ) to combine operators and create boolean strings. Enclose multi-word phrases in " " so that SmartRecruiters looks for the whole phrase, not the individual words.

Here's an example of all four in action:

(“Sales” OR “Account Manager”) AND (“CRM” AND “marketing”) NOT (“B2B”)

Saving searches

If your company has SmartRecruit, you'll also have access to our Saved Search feature. 

  • SmartRecruit