So we created a two minute video to answer the question.
We link to the video in all our email outreach messages. You can watch it below, but of course it only describes how the candidate research process works here at Staffing Advisors. Other search firms work differently.
From watching our video you can see that we cast a wide net in our approach, methodically working through business databases like Hoover's, working through LinkedIn profiles, and checking out conferences to look for people who demonstrate expertise in certain areas. Most retained search firms have a dedicated candidate research team capable of doing this kind of candidate sourcing.
But in your job search, you also need to be aware of search firms who take a different approach. Some search firms rely on job board advertising to find candidates. Some firms comb through the resume databases from career sites like Monster, Careerbuilder and Indeed. Some firms rely on networking with people they already know, and call or send emails out to their networks inviting people to recommend candidates for searches.
So if you want to be considered for new opportunities, what should you do? Well, if you are openly and actively searching, go ahead and post your resume to the job board databases, and definitely apply to job postings from search firms. Even if you don't see an active search matching your profile, you can often send a resume to search firms, simply asking them to include you in their database. Almost every search firm will first look for candidates within their own candidate database.
No one strategy will make you visible to every search firm, and search firms vary widely in their approach to recruiting, but if you increase your ability to be found, you will always hear about more job opportunities.