Yeah, this. I’ve gone through this myself this year, and I’ve watched other people I know go through it too. Use your network, and if you know someone looking, let them use your network too.
Throughout my career, I only hired past employees, colleagues, and professionals sourced from the trusted parts of my network (including recruiters). I never hired anyone who applied online. I know I missed some good candidates that way but the time was not worth the effort of sifting through the pile. My process is a pretty standard one many hiring managers follow. In fact, I picked it up from other hiring managers at some point in my career.