Seeing what is really there, a story of how to X-Ray
The term “X-Ray” sounds so cloak and dagger that it confuses Recruiters more than anything. The purpose of x-raying or “domain searching” is to find something within a particular domain name or server or site. Microsoft owns the www.microsoft.com domain name or server. You can tell a search engine to only search those pages that are in the www.microsoft.com server. This works particularly well for finding “employee directories”, bios and high-level executives (searching by title).
A good Sourcer knows that just because you are not allowed access to a page, does not mean you can’t still get in. If you can’t get in the front door of the site (by going to www.microsoft.com), then back door the server by using the advanced function on a search engine. You can do this relatively easy by x-raying the server. X-ray allows you to ask a search engine for every web page on a server. Many times companies will have pages on their server that are not linked to any of their main pages. Search engines still index those pages so they may be able to pull them up for you.
All you need to do is go to the advanced search function on most search engines and type in host:thesite.com or site:thesite.com or host:thesite.com AND the words you expect to find on your page. You may need to try all 3 to get the right results. In our Microsoft example we can ask a search engine to search for a title of an executive within the Microsoft server in order to find names of potential candidates with those titles that work for Microsoft:
site:microsoft.com AND “public relations manager” -careers
The reason to add the –careers is to ensure none of the position on the Microsoft careers page get pulled up. Once you have a name, it is easy to gather more information on this individual by using a metasearch engine( a search engine that searches multiple other engines).
It never ceases to amaze me how often companies give all of the information on several of their key employees directly on their site.
Remember, X-Ray is great for searching for candidates within a specific industry or organizations. You can search for "bios", "employee directories", or specific titles of candidates for best results.