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A Force-sensitive was a being who was highly attuned to the flow of the Force. Force-sensitives could, with training, learn to sense and manipulate the Force.
The Jedi Order took Force-sensitive children at a young age to start training them to become Jedi. A notable exception to this was Anakin Skywalker who was taken to be trained when he was just under ten years old. A midi-chlorian count through certain tests could determine how strong in the Force one was.
Trained Jedi could sense high levels of the Force in persons. The presence of Force-sensitives in a vicinity could also be sensed. For more accuracy, they performed midi-chlorian counts to detect Force-sensitivity in candidates. There were also several other testing technologies developed to hunt Force-sensitives during the Great Jedi Purge.