<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1054204612164054&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Return to Blog

6 Insights On AI in Recruitment From Leaders at Topgolf, Rapid7 & MasterClass

Michelle Han-Taylor
7 min read

AI. Automation. Machines. For all their power, AI’s yet to master that hand-shaking, nice-to-meet-you, let-me-introduce-you-to type of genuine connection. While AI is driving revolutionary efficiencies across our daily lives, it can’t always compute what it means to meet and get to know someone. It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of what it can do, but we must not underestimate the power of real relationships and what it takes to build trust, stay connected, or celebrate and empathize with one another. 

So what does this mean for AI and recruiting? For obvious reasons, recruiting is a relationship-driven process, but the application of AI has proven where limitations are present. 

Current and former people leaders, Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer at Rapid7, Kristi Maynor, Chief Digital & Commercial Officer at Topgolf, and Melanie Steinbach, Chief People Officer at MasterClass, share their take on the role of AI in the recruitment process and how, conversely, cultivating relationships remains the most effective for driving better hiring and business outcomes. 

Hear their perspectives on the nuanced interplay between technology and genuine human connection in our exclusive webinar. 


Watch the On-Demand Webinar Recording 

Hunt Club webinar poster: AI can't do that: Why relationships still reign in modern hiring. plus, headshots of the panelists.

Click here to watch the on-demand webinar recording or get the link to share with your network.

Passcode: xV*8cVzt


AI Can’t Do That: 6 Takeaways + Helpful Tips on How and When to Implement AI right now

Looking to hire? Struggling to find the right approach to finding and connecting with top talent? We pulled practical tips and personal stories from our exclusive webinar, ‘AI Can’t Do That, Why Relationships Still Reign in Modern Hiring.’


1. AI is good at generating options, ideas, and prompts. But it’s not making the big decisions.

“AI’s current strengths lie in kickstarting ideas and providing options that people can then take and run with to achieve tangible outcomes,” shared Kristi Maynor, Chief Digital & Commercial Officer at Topgolf

While helpful in certain areas, AI is a work in progress that isn’t in a position to make any impactful decisions in hiring just yet. AI has a reputation for detecting patterns, but “overly relying on patterns can get you to the same answer, not necessarily the right answer.” Not even the most advanced AI could detect patterns that know, with complete confidence, whether someone is the right fit for a role. There is no pattern recognition that could replace a human’s ability to dig deep, uncover red flags, and get to truly know someone below the surface.


2. You’re not alone... There’s apprehension around AI, but it’s prudent to start understanding and exploring it.

We’ve yet to see AI’s long-term socioeconomic implications, but many companies and leaders should begin to experiment with it. Melanie Steinbach, Chief People Officer at MasterClass shared, “If you ignore AI, you're going to be really behind the eight ball. So start playing with it, even if you're a little uncertain about it.”

Many are apprehensive about data privacy issues and have distrust when it comes to AI. These fears are areas where real relationships play a critical role in alleviating concerns. Whether as a hiring manager or a candidate, when someone you know is helping you throughout the recruitment process, the inherent trust in human interaction can counteract any fears surrounding AI’s involvement in the process.


3. AI has a clear role to play in recruitment and across industries.

Leaders should begin to understand AI in general, but it’s more important to understand how AI will play in an organization. “There’s always going to be new tech. Getting over the fear is one thing, and then it’s a matter of: how do you want to use it?” Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer at Rapid7 shared.

Not only does automated, cold outreach fail to reach top talent, AI also has the potential to bring bias into the recruitment process. Our webinar panelists unanimously agreed that while AI is helpful in other areas of their business such as automating repetitive administrative tasks, it’s not the end-all-be-all.

“We have to understand AI’s place. I’m a fan of any tech that will make my life easier, but AI won’t pick up the phone and get someone to want to talk to us,” explained Christina Luconi. 

The key is to start where it makes the most sense for your team and your business. AI is widely used and accepted across companies to help spark ideas, develop jumping-off points, and streamline labor-intensive tasks such as data cataloging and extraction. 


4. AI can’t “have your back” the same way a strong network can.

Likened to a “personal board of directors,” cultivating deep networks allows you to constantly learn from others/improve at your job, learn about new opportunities that are actually relevant to you, and gain a meaningful advantage in your career that AI simply can’t manufacture. 

“You can’t AI your way out of everything. Nothing can replace human interaction and trust building. You can’t manufacture those things. Building a network of people that, over the years, you can trust and call on, it’s not an annoyance. Rather, everyone’s just got each other’s back. If you can find a handful of people in different places that you can build relationships with, you’re at a major advantage,” said Christina. 


5. There is power in reciprocity. 

Networking is a two-way street where both parties must put in equal effort and goodwill. Relationship-building isn’t something where one person can just ask for favors over and over again. Instead, there is a power in reciprocity that can pay dividends throughout your life and career — so long as the intent is authentic.

“If you go into a relationship with good and clear intentions, and make ‘deposits’ into a relationship bank, at some point, it’ll pay you back,” Melanie explained. 


5. The lesser-known hot take as to why the majority of hiring managers don’t recommend partnering with traditional recruiters — and why relationships might be the solution.

Recent survey data revealed long delays, mismatched candidate profiles, and a glaring lack of understanding as some of the main reasons why many hiring managers don’t recommend using traditional recruitment. But our panelists, who have been people leaders and hiring managers for more than 20 collective years, shared another hot take to support this claim. 

One of the largest foundational issues found with traditional recruitment is the compensation models traditional recruiters are tied to. Simply put, “there are a lot of things in the business or compensation model that don’t incentivize the behaviors clients/hiring managers want,” shared Melanie.

Many traditional recruiters are incentivized to fill roles as quickly as possible, opting to use AI to build as wide of talent pools as possible, conducting as much cold outreach as it takes, and without doing the due diligence it takes to find the right fit. 

Kristi agreed, adding, “Many traditional recruiters are great at selling surface-level headlines and stories about a candidate, but they might not have the deep understanding that can back them up.” 


6. Don’t just hire everyone you know; it’s still a balance.

In the same way using technology like AI has to be a balance, so does serial hiring people in your network. Just because you know and trust someone, it doesn’t always mean they will be the right fit for a role. This is true even if the connection was an incredible coworker in the past on a former team. What they excelled in before, might not always transfer.

Strike a balance between hiring people you know and trust, with new talent offers an opportunity to blend diverse perspectives, learn new skills, and cultivate fresh ideas. 


Grab-n-go tips for hiring managers and people leaders.

Want the TLDR? Here are some quick grab-n-go tips: 

  • Write clear JDs: Write your job descriptions with complete clarity on what you hope they accomplish, not what you hope is already on their resume.
  • Go beyond skills-based hiring: Dig deep and get below the surface of the major headlines of someone’s story/what’s on their resume or LinkedIn.
  • Allow for ample time in interviews: Stop scheduling 30-minute interviews. Point blank. It’s not nearly enough time to uncover what you need to know about a candidate.
  • Treat every interview equally: No matter how a conversation goes, people remember how you made them feel. That’s the foundation of building relationships. Show up for candidates in a full way. At the end of the day, this is a job they want and need, they’re putting everything into it. Help them whether they’re the right person for the role or not. 
  • Prioritize your network: Networking is not a waste of time. It will make you better and smarter at your job. Make the time to meet people and network, even if they have nothing to do with your job.  


The art of recruiting lies in harnessing technology to streamline processes without sacrificing the personal touch that defines this industry.

When asked why the panelists chose an industry that, largely, people don’t seem to like, Christina shared one inspiring answer: “Because we can make it better.”

As hiring managers, HR leaders, and talent acquisition professionals, we have to evolve our sourcing and recruiting strategies to leverage the power of relationships in combination with advanced technology like AI.

“AI could help enable and be an amazing set of tools to help you cut through the time-consuming stuff. But nothing replaces truly getting to know people. You have to know what's going on in their heads, and what motivates them. So leverage the tech that makes the job easier, but do the hard work to truly build the most impactful company you can build,” Christina concluded.

Today’s hiring game takes a special combination of the right tech and a strong community with the right connections to talent. Hunt Club leverages an Expert Community of 25,000 business leaders who refer talent in their inner circles and an innovative, AI-driven search platform that helps us streamline the recruitment process, not add to the noise. 


Get Started


Download Our Latest Market Report


About Kristi Maynor & Topgolf

Kristi leads a team to drive the multi-channel commercial strategy for Topgolf venues. Previously, she served as Partner and Global Head of Consumer Practice at Egon Zehnder, and spent her early career as a digital leader at top businesses, including Proctor & Gamble and JCPenney.

Topgolf is a leading sports entertainment venue that features an inclusive, high-tech golf game that everyone can enjoy, paired with an outstanding food and beverage menu, climate-controlled hitting bays, and music.

About Christina Luconi & Rapid7

Christina Luconi has been a fixture in the Boston startup scene for more than two decades, advising CEOs, sitting on boards, and influencing what she prefers to call “the people side” of corporate culture.

Rapid7 is a unified cybersecurity platform that serves a wide range of customers across finance, healthcare, technology, government, and other industries. It offers innovative cybersecurity solutions and services to help organizations effectively mitigate risks, reduce attacks, and respond to threats.

About Melanie Steinbach & MasterClass

Melanie Steinbach is a seasoned executive at the intersection of people, innovation, and strategy, bringing a wealth of knowledge from her experiences over the past decade at a diversity of companies like Cameo, McDonald's, and Milliken & Company.

MasterClass is an online education platform and streaming service that makes it possible for anyone to watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons taught by 200+ of the world’s best in their respective fields. From business and leadership, writing, music, sports, and more, MasterClass delivers a world-class online learning experience.

Topics Discussed

Find your future leader with
Hunt Club

Get Started