Gaffney and its need for Online Job Tour

After a serial killer rampages its community, Upstate Carolina Medical Center faces a huge challenge regarding its future recruiting that will impact the next generation of residents in Cherokee County. Because of the compelling “shift” of jobseeker behavior that has taken place since the emergence of high-speed Internet use, UCMC needs Online Job Tour.

I have the privilege of serving Upstate Carolina Regional Medical Center, in Gaffney, South Carolina, as a client of Online Job Tour. Todd Dixon, the Chief Operating Officer and principal physician recruiter for the hospital, is a rising talent in his company who is web savvy, iPhone-connected, and locked into the fact that his target physician and healthcare jobseekers are online. His wife Jennifer was very kind to me during our meeting, when she stopped by to take her husband to lunch. The Chief of Staff, a younger OB/GYN and beloved in the community, Steven Lewis, MD, was very engaging, and he was great on video as he spoke of his adoration of life and working in the Upstate and Cherokee County.

As Online Job Tour is designed to give a web-presentation which emulates an onsite interview visit, probably my favorite part of featuring clients and their communities is meeting such great people in these places. Gaffney is no different: Bill Pennington is an extremely talented former teacher who is steward of an impressive, burgeoning museum downtown. He could choose to do anything, but his passion is to be in Gaffney and chronicle its history by doing painstaking grant proposal work, pleading for donations, and many other things which go unnoticed to all but those who know the details of his job. One of his former students, upon coming back from a tour in Iraq, sought out Bill before visiting anyone else upon his arrival – including his own family. Former students pour into the museum to Bill to excitedly share their lives with him. According to Jane Waters, a museum volunteer, in her wonderful aristocratic Carolina accent, “Bill’s got two of the most beautiful babies – I could just eat them with a spoon.” Jack Trnavsky, a principal at a local bank and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, could not be more uncomfortable in front of a video camera, but I needed him, and he came through as we drove through town and he introduced his favorite spots – after all, this is to help to recruit physicians who will care for his friends and neighbors. Jackie Sellers (an appropriate name for a real estate agent), whose husband is a local pastor, is all about developing relationships with people she meets. She is charming, witty, and deeply appreciative of professionals considering living in Gaffney. In all, I met dozens of people who together weave an amazing authentic story of this community.

Located along I-85 about an hour south of Charlotte and between Spartanburg, this is a growing, modern county just far enough outside Charlotte to not be a suburb but an historic place with its own identity. A third industrial park is open with its first tenant, and Lowe’s, Walgreens, a Prime Outlets Mall with 80 stores such as Ralph Lauren, Pottery Barn, Nike, you name it, are next to a 56,000 SF Movie Mega-plex. A new community and technical college campus is there. Another YMCA is being constructed. All this among rolling hills – it’s idyllic and you all but forget the massive urban sprawl of Charlotte is minutes away.

  • For the right jobseeker who wants a smaller town life with a modern hospital, but close to what is afforded in Charlotte, not to mention being close to the mountains and 3 hours to the beach, Gaffney would appear to be a compelling choiceuntil last week.

It appears as though a recently-paroled felon, who apparently is not even from Gaffney, murdered 5 people in this community over the course of a week, before being killed in a nearby North Carolina town while burglarizing a house – saving all of us from an arrest, trial, and conviction that would have made everyone relive his heinous acts for another year or more.


Is Gaffney still an amazing and charming community? Of course. Was this a 100 year “fluke” of a crime spree? Absolutely.

  • But the very best, most educated recruiting professionals understand that Upstate Carolina MC and Gaffney have a major problem – this tragedy is being stored into perpetuity on the Internet – and that’s where all jobseekers are today.
  • A Google Search of “Gaffney” currently surfaces multiple conspicuous articles and news stories, and photos, of the crimes and of the killer – short of multiple positive stories of equal magnitude occurring over the next decade and beyond, these stories will be omnipresent on search engines for a long, long time.

That a “fluke tragedy” like this one can so negatively impact recruiting is unfair to this hospital and to Gaffney. But life is often unfair, and so can be recruiting.

The best recruiters also know that they are not recruiting in a vacuum – they are aware of the competitive component: physicians and high-level jobseekers often consider as many as 10-12 options when they begin their career search considerations. So when one or two issues can impact the decision of a jobseeker or change their course when comparing multiple job options, this event in Gaffney can have a catastrophic impact on this hospital’s recruiting efforts when jobseekers are referred to the Web by employers, or instinctively log on without any other direction or instructions from hospitals vying for them.

Because our world and culture have made this permanent “shift” to doing many essential life activities online, which includes classified employment advertising, which will be an $11 Billion industry in 2011, while I strongly believe Online Job Tour is a necessity if a hospital wants to maximize their time, effort, money, and competitiveness, Upstate Carolina MC really needs Online Job Tour.

  • We access the Internet today without consciously being aware we are doing it – it is the platform for modern living. Web content is reality.


  • The Gaffney tragedy is a quintessential example of my argument that hospitals who merely passively refer jobseekers to a handful of links to websites, which promotes “do the research on your own and ‘sell yourself’” is not a “strategy,” and I have always contended it can be harmful. Referring jobseekers to a school district website, a Chamber of Commerce website, or links to the local newspapers which leaves jobseekers up to their own devices and leaves things to chance, results in finding bad news and worse.
  • Another failed strategy is to ignore the web completely which many hospitals still do. Some hospitals in Upstate Carolina MC’s company still mail brochures, or wait for jobseekers to contact them and send DVDs. This is not the 1990s anymore. To wait for jobseekers to contact you to give them your presentation is grossly negligent, unprofessional, and inexcusable in any selling environment, much less one which impacts lives of patients.
  • While streaming videos are better options, they are very problematic. While I believe it is critical to control the selling environment and get your prospects into your own proprietary recruitment protocol, streaming videos age quickly and lose authenticity, they don’t cover topics that jobseekers need in enough depth, and nobody today wants to sit through a 10 minute video – in fact, my college interns refuse to do it – and they are the future jobseekers.

Web-based, Online Job Tour is truly the most modern, effective tool: it is constantly malleable – while our intent is to provide a virtual site visit more comprehensive than the real trip that all jobseekers and their families can experience, there is depth of content the employer can be a deep as it chooses, which is needed for jobseekers to feel good about their decisions, and with maintenance it will not get old (unlike any other recruiting material), and it is importantly online.

  • Online Job Tour gives jobseekers the “web fix” they need, but in a controlled, proactive selling environment that maximizes the sale and efficiency of the hospital’s recruiting efforts.
  • When jobseekers visit Online Job Tour they are really visiting – this is continually missed entirely by uneducated employers to whom we show our work.

Will a jobseeker considering Upstate Carolina Medical Center still go out on their own and Google Gaffney and find the tragedies? I would guess yes. However, properly exhibited and introduced to them, they will likely also have viewed Upstate Carolina’s Online Job Tour, already fallen in love with the uniqueness of the presentation, and settle it in their own minds that the tragedies were indeed a “fluke.” The tragedies will be neutralized. It’s psychological. It’s sales. It’s recruiting.

  • The absolute best way to recruit today’s online jobseekers – based on jobseeker behavior as well as addressing the traditional needs of both prospective employees and the employer, is to create a recruitment protocol harnessing high-speed Internet that is controlled, proprietary, and satisfies the questions and needs of both. Online Job Tour was invented to do exactly this.

Employers without Online Job Tour, while they eventually fill jobs, by being blind to their targets, face a myriad of problems that result in lost time, money and competitiveness. The better candidates lost loses opportunity. Even retention rates are affected when a jobseeker could otherwise be much more fully informed before being closed on the financial package and not so much the hospital and community.

In this new era with the new online jobseeker, Online Job Tour is not just a necessity for Upstate Carolina MC which has this terrible tragedy to help its community heal from and then deal with as an archived event to negotiate, but all community hospitals face enormous challenges, which begin and end with the quality of their presence on the Internet.

To contact me directly, email me at I am also on Facebook. Learn more about my work at


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