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Stefan Lynton | 04 April, 2024

From Bullhorn to HubSpot: Noto Group Upgrades ATS with Unlimited’s Expertise

In the bustling executive search and consultancy world, Noto Group faced challenges with its existing applicant tracking system (ATS). Their Bullhorn system fell short in providing critical functionalities—specifically, a precise and intuitive way of monitoring the duration of their projects at different stages.


Recognizing the issue's urgency, the dynamic team at Noto collaborated with Unlimited to create a bespoke solution tailored to their needs. The result? A cutting-edge, custom-built ATS within the HubSpot platform. This transformative shift allowed Noto’s cross-functional teams to work in unison. Now, every iota of executive search data resides within a singular platform, streamlining their operations. Updating clients has become incredibly straightforward, significantly enhancing efficiency and client communication. 

"As a firm, we're very excited to be able to move all of our processes to just one system and have one work tool, and so far, it's been incredibly transformative."


– Adolfo Portillo, Lead Research and Operations Associate at Noto Group

Portland's Noto Group: Leading the Charge in Executive Search for Purpose-Driven Brands

Based in Portland, Oregon, the Noto Group is a purpose and mission-driven executive search and consulting firm with expertise in recruiting for Director, VP, and C-Level roles. Their executive searches span the outdoor, active performance, sporting goods, food and beverage, fashion, and natural product industries.


Noto works exclusively for client companies with a positive culture, leadership vision, and a commitment to the growth and support of those who work for them.


  • Industry: Business Consulting and Services
  • Company Size: 11-50 employees
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Software: Sales, Marketing

ATS Falls Short for Noto Group's Ambitious Growth Goals; Search for Unified System Begins

Noto Group was on a mission to scale, with ambitious growth aspirations that demanded a more powerful, cohesive platform. Their Bullhorn ATS, while packed with features, fell notably short in one pivotal area: the capability to meticulously monitor the duration of their projects at specific stages. This shortfall was more than just a software limitation; it was a hurdle to their quest for operational efficiency.


With Bullhorn, Noto's team found themselves navigating a maze of disparate systems. Tracking and fulfilling high-stake executive searches for clients was fragmented, inefficient, and far from unified. Beyond recruitment, there was a pressing need to bring sales and operations under one platform. Noto envisioned a unified work tool where every team member, irrespective of their role, could tap into a singular, synchronized pool of information. They imagined a place where collaboration wasn't just possible but intuitive and seamless.


While the project was complex, the easiest part was that Noto knew exactly what they wanted, and Unlimited just had to make it happen.



Unlimited Crafts Custom Applicant Tracking System for Noto's Recruitment Endeavors

The Unlimited team devised a two-pronged approach. The project kicked off with a HubSpot onboarding phase. During the working sessions, Unlimited and Noto configured HubSpot’s functionalities to meet the needs of its business, teams, and clients. During the onboarding stage, Unlimited standardized and improved Noto’s sales pipeline. Adding structure and accountability to the sales activities led to a higher win rate and shorter sales cycles. 

Diving into the heart of the project, the second prong consisted of an intricate, custom-designed applicant tracking system tailored specifically for high-caliber recruitment. It wasn't just about following the industry standard but rather setting new ones. Unlimited developed three bespoke objects, ensuring Noto could monitor every nuance of the recruitment journey.


"It just all came together when the recruiting side realized that HubSpot would be the answer, and the business development side already knew that HubSpot had those functionalities."


– Adolfo Portillo, Lead Research and Operations Associate at Noto Group


"Custom objects" in HubSpot are personalized categories you can create to suit the specific needs of your business. They let you store and organize information not covered by HubSpot's default categories. HubSpot custom objects are like creating unique folders in a filing cabinet tailored to your specific needs, so you can organize your information exactly the way you want.


Imagine you run a dog-walking business and want to keep track of all the dog breeds you work with, and the usual categories just don't fit. That's where custom objects come in!


Custom Object 1: Candidates
The custom object, candidates, works similarly to a HubSpot contact. However, the Unlimited team used the "candidate" custom object to create a separate list or category specifically for people applying for jobs. Doing so keeps candidates separate from Noto’s regular sales and marketing contacts. The right conversations happen with the right group of people, thanks to custom objects.


Custom Object 2: Applications
At the beginning of this phase of the project, the Unlimited team had only built candidates and jobs using custom objects. But then the team realized that some of these candidates were multitalented! One candidate might apply for five different positions. In this scenario, the "application" custom object comes in handy.


In HubSpot terms, the application custom object helps Noto keep track of each job application a candidate makes. The application is like a sign-up sheet for each job opening. Even if Noto has candidates applying to multiple jobs, they can keep track of each job separately, ensuring everything stays organized, and nothing gets overlooked.


Custom Object 3: Jobs
The "jobs" custom object represents the available positions or roles, while the application represents the forms people fill out to show they're interested in a particular job. The candidates are the people interested in applying for a role.


Here's the twist: The jobs represent the various positions or roles to be filled. Candidates express interest in these jobs through applications but aren't directly tied to any specific job. This keeps things flexible, so if their relationship with Noto changes in the future, they can easily transition from being seen as a candidate to a regular contact or client in HubSpot.


Entering the Candidate Pipeline
With the necessary custom objects in place, the Unlimited team built pipelines. The candidate pipeline functions as a pre-screening process in the hiring journey. This initial stage determines if a candidate meets the qualifications for the position before moving on to a more in-depth assessment and interview process.


Here's a breakdown of the pipeline:

1) Form Submissions: Prospective candidates express their interest in a role by submitting a form with essential data like contact details, a resume, and qualifications.

2) Researcher Review: Once the form is submitted, a group of Noto researchers reviews the submission. These researchers are tasked with verifying if the candidate meets the criteria for the role.

3) Qualification Status: After the researcher's review, candidates are categorized based on their qualifications. If they are deemed "qualified," they progress to the next step in the hiring journey (the "application pipeline").


Transition to Application Pipeline
Here’s where Unlimited transformed Noto Group’s ATS within HubSpot. In the application pipeline, Noto recruiters engage with candidates through interviews, assessments, background checks, and more in-depth discussions.


The separation of the candidate and application pipelines is strategic. It allows for a more streamlined and efficient recruitment process. The initial screening in the candidate pipeline ensures that only those who meet the qualifications move forward, saving time and resources for the Noto recruiting team. This approach ensures that when a recruiter engages with a candidate, there's a higher probability of alignment with the role's requirements.


Transformation of the HubSpot Blog into a Jobs Board

Unlimited took the concept of a blog and, instead of traditional content, created a jobs listing page. This innovative use of the HubSpot blog system shows the versatility of the platform.

Jobs Listing Page: Noto Group has a dedicated page where all job openings are displayed.

Filter System: The listing page has various filters, such as by category or by location, helping potential applicants to narrow down job opportunities based on their preferences.


Job Description: Each opening has a detailed job description that exists as a single blog post. Included within each job post is an application form that candidates fill out to apply for the job. When a form is submitted, a candidate profile is automatically generated in HubSpot. This profile is then linked to a newly created contact. Next, the candidate is associated with the job they applied for. For that action to trigger, Unlimited came up with specific codes for each job opening and built workflows that trigger automatically.


HubSpot: Centralizing Recruitment, Sales, and Operations

The move to HubSpot centralized not only the recruitment side of the business but the sales and operations teams too. Everyone uses the same work tool and has access to the same information. Supporting multiple teams at Noto is much easier because operations know exactly what each person’s process is. Teams work collaboratively and effectively to fulfill executive searches for their clients.


"Clients that are committed make our job a lot easier and more joyful. So apart from them being really nice people, they are very committed, and they knew what they wanted from day one."


– Fernanda Barros, Director of Client Services at Unlimited Tech Solutions


Noto's Advanced ATS: Centralized Information for Streamlined Client Interaction

A feature-rich applicant tracking system with information in one place, makes updating and interacting with Noto’s client a lot easier. At any given moment, account representatives can share detailed information about the status of any executive search, the number of applications, and where each candidate is in the hiring process.


"And as far as Unlimited goes, I do not think that we could have asked for better partners in this. It's been amazing, and have no qualms about recommending Unlimited to really anyone that wants to go the HubSpot route. It would have been impossible without the help."


– Adolfo Portillo, Lead Research and Operations Associate at Noto Group



Take HubSpot to the innovative edge with custom extensions, applications, and other advanced solutions. Connect with a specialist from the Unlimited team here.

Stefan Lynton

Stefan Lynton

A long-time HubSpot partner veteran, Stefan Lynton oversees internal processes and operational efficiencies as Unlimited's VP of Operations.

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