Real jobs don't come from HR. They come from business contacts.
Actually, this is NOT true all the time.
By any chance, do you work in HR? Exactly ZERO jobs "come from HR." Without a business need for a hire, there is no job. HR is the cadre of paper-pushers who stand in the way of getting a job, and make it impossible for teams to hire the people they actually need by enforcing meaningless, arcane, and bureaucratic "best practices" which also happen to enshrine the HR people themselves into unfirable, key-man positions. Their function is (literally) to prevent applicants from connecting with hiring managers--this is the exact opposite of what you should be trying to achieve. Until you're talking to the hiring manager, directly, and have permission to contact her directly after the fact with any followups, you're not a real candidate for a job. If HR can arbitrarily cut off your contact with the hiring manager (because you can only go "through HR") you're not a candidate--you're a person whose application is being used to justify the payment of salaries to HR people because otherwise "Who will deal with all these applicants?"
In fact, a any job you get from a corporation of any kind of size, you are going though HR and the only thing your contact can buy you is priority treatment (getting put top on the stack) and possibly having an advocate with the hiring manager.
It really depends on the company. Most organizations I know/have interviewed at intentionally recruit via third parties and "fix it on the back end" with HR because before they started doing so the HR "screener" disqualified all the good candidates and sent up clunkers with no employment "gaps," but no real achievements, either.
My last 3 jobs which cover the last 15 years of my life all came via HR and not direct contacts. In fact, most of my jobs came though the HR process and didn't involve an insider at all.
How many applications did you fill out to get those three jobs? 10? 50? 100? 1,000? 10,000? In the same 15 years, I've gotten six jobs. Five of them were recruiters, referrals, or placements. Only one involved "going in the front door" and that job paid the least of all the jobs, had the worst benefits, the longest hours, zero advancement opportunities, and generally sucked donkey-ass. And as for applications: I haven't filled one out since I started working with recruiters exclusively. "Fill out an application" is the same as being told "We'll call you"--it's a euphemism for "you aren't going to be hired."
Since I stopped doing the "front door" my salary has quadrupled (granted, I've also added a great skillset in the intervening 14.5 years,) my working hours are sane, and permit working remotely when going to the office is inconvenient. That "front-door" gig? If there was enough snow to make going to work dangerous, but the roads were open, you have to go or use a vacation day. Literally every job I've ever had has been better than the "front door" place. But I also spend less time interviewing and filling out pointless paperwork (that you'll have to fill out again when hired, because they can't just "type in what you put on your application" in your new hire paperwork, of course.
The bigger they are, the more likely HR is going to be in firm control of the initial vetting of possible candidates and having an inside contact is much less valuable. But in the small company, where they don't have an HR department., contacts are the only route to get in. So it just depends on what kind of company you are looking for.
Here's my advice, do with it what you will: If you're trying to get a job and the HR department is so "firmly in control" of hiring that they have total trump over every hiring decision run away as fast as you can. Don't walk--RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Why? Besides the nightmare of getting yourself hired, every time your team has an opening you can be guaranteed not to get a top tier candidate because the best candidates won't put up with the B.S. required to get a job there through the "front door." You won't have recruiters bringing you candidates, because when HR departments are "firmly in control" the first thing they do you'll be waiting until somebody "notices" your job opening and applies. And the best candidates aren't wasting their time this way--they're taking interviews setup for them by recruiters. This is how IT works--if you're in some other business it might be different.
But I'll go back to the old saw (because it is true): "The best job openings are never advertised." Which means the best job openings don't "go through" HR. The best companies use HR as a convenient way to get paperwork done, not as a gatekeeper for hiring.