Learn the basics of search, including the difference between “required,” “optional,” and “excluded” criteria and how multiple criteria affect your search.

Related articles

Search Fundamentals, Part 2: Search filters in Plan and Recruit

Search Fundamentals, Part 3: Example searches for Plan and Recruit 

How To: Build a search in Plan

How To: Build a search in Recruit

How search works

It can be helpful to think of our search engine as a funnel or a sieve. A “blank” search without any filters applied returns all of the job postings in our system. By adding criteria, you reduce or increase the number of job postings until you are only seeing data for the talent you’re interested in.

Required, excluded, and optional criteria

When creating a Talent Profile in TalentNeuron Plan or when creating a search in TalentNeuron Recruit, you can choose to make your search criteria “required” or “excluded” by clicking the search criteria pill.

Choosing “required” means that your search results will only include job postings that contain that criteria. Choosing “excluded” means your search results will not include any job postings that contain that criteria.

Additionally, in Recruit only, you can also choose to make skills and credentials “optional.” “Optional” does not affect the number or kind of job descriptions returned for your search. Rather, it impacts the order of the postings we display when you view job descriptions related to titles, skills, employers, etc. Job descriptions that include more optional skills and credentials will appear higher in the scrollable list, while those that do not contain as many optional skills will appear further down the scrollable list. 

How multiple criteria affect your search

Adding multiple criteria can either narrow or broaden your search, depending on the type of filter.

Function, occupation, experience level, education level, title, and employment type are mutually-exclusive filters, meaning that a job posting can only be associated with one option from each of these filters. For example, a single job posting will only ever be tagged to one occupation or one level of experience. Adding more than one criteria from a mutually exclusive filter will broaden your search. A search containing two occupations, for example, will return more results than a search containing just one occupation.

The skills and credentials filters are not mutually exclusive because a job posting almost certainly contains more than one skill. Adding more than one required skill or credential will narrow your search and return only job postings that contain all of those skills or credential. This is because multiple required skills and credentials use AND logic.

Let’s look at an example search to see these rules in action:


Number of postings

Blank search with no criteria applied

1,328,508 postings

Adding the occupation “Software developer, applications”

43,439 postings (-1,285,069)

Adding the occupation “Software developer, systems”

51,425 postings (+7,908)

Adding the required skill “Java”

18,513 postings (-32,912)

Adding the experience level “Mid level”

5,098 postings (-13,415)

Adding the experience level “Junior”

7,657 postings (+2,559)

The “Alternative skills” feature

There is an additional feature that provides more flexibility to search: Alternative skills and Alternative credentials. These work by allowing you to separate skills with OR logic, meaning that your search will include job postings that contain either Skill A or Skill BLearn more about Boolean.

To add an alternative skill or credential, simply click the criteria pill, make sure the skill is set to “required,” and then add alternative skills or credentials using the search bar. The additional skill or credential will appear in the criteria pill as part of a Boolean string. You can add up to 10 alternative skills/credential.