Good people are hard to find, I think we'd all agree. A personal recommendation from a trusted peer goes a long way. I have a friend who's business model is based on personal recommendations from employees to social media contacts. Check out Careerify here: http://www.careerify.net/
Recently two different acquaintances asked me to connect them with the right people for positions they were considering in different, well-known companies. It happens that I know executives in both companies and contacted them asking for these candidates to be considered. The least I had expected was that they would be acknowledged. Both execs said they'd pass along the names to HR.
These brand-name companies pride themselves on outstanding customer service. HR response was, to say the least, not remotely connected to the excellence demanded of the front line.
Nothing. Nada. Bupkis. No response. Having a connection did not get these two candidates anywhere - neither the slightest hint of good manners nor even an acknowledgement.
There is little hope of me recommending candidates to either company in the future, or more to the point, recommending either of these companies to applicants.
Look - we may not hire everyone we're asked to meet, in fact for sure we won't. But we don't know who they know and for darned sure we should treat like gold recommendations from employees and friends. We may wish to have applicants as customers someday, or keep them if they're currently a client. Every interaction with every person by every person in our company creates an experience by which both parties form opinions. If HR finds it reasonable to ignore an applicant, it speaks to the direction of management that has either supported such rudeness, or implicitly supports it.
Our work is our resume, every human contact a reference check, for better of for worse. And believe me, I speak as one who has been both.