Hot Topic Reviews

Updated 27 September 2014
Updated 27 September 2014
266 Reviews
3.2
266 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Hot Topic CEO & Director Lisa Harper
Lisa Harper
121 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Almost no rules for dress code, you can be as different as you want to be (in 49 reviews)

  • Freedom to be yourself, no dress code, decent music (at times) (in 18 reviews)


Cons
  • Upper management really has no clue what it is like day to day in an actual store (in 22 reviews)

  • Lack of hours for sales associates (in 18 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Pretty Good, Fun, Challenging, Prestigious.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate  in  Springdale, OH (US)
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Springdale, OH (US)

    I have been working at Hot Topic part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great for looking for a second job to fill in the gaps or give you a bit of extra money at the end of the month. Great experience for breaking out of your shell and talking to people. Great start for customer service, sales, and retail experience. You meet all kinds of different, great people. Always room for growth and climbing the ladder at a location or district. Very dedicated to the culture and sales. A lot of fun. Great discounts.

    Cons

    Management is very lacking. District management as well. Not a lot of accountability being taken for numbers/sales curves. Not a lot of hours, nor a livable income unless you are in a keyholder/management position.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your managers to be more competent and accountable for their actions. Hire less people, distribute hours more sensibly.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Got the job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate
    Current Employee - Sales Associate

    I have been working at Hot Topic part-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Was very easy when doing the group interview. Talked about my personal hobbies, my favorite bands, and my strengths and weaknesses.

    Cons

    There isnt really bad anything about because everyone is really nice and chill. You get to wear hatever you want. and also you get great discounts on the tee shirts and everything in the store

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Lasting Friendships, Impossible Goals

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Keyholder  in  Hurst, TX (US)
    Current Employee - Keyholder in Hurst, TX (US)

    I have been working at Hot Topic part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Because of the culture of this company, many like minded individuals are drawn to apply and ultimately stick around for a while. When I first started at the company I was 16 and looked up to my managers/co-workers as the coolest people ever. Now, at 22, many of those people have become some of my closest friends and I still use them as references.
    The employee discount is better than many other retails stores with the added benefit of "employee events" where you get a little extra off the top.
    Hot Topic provides lots of opportunities for employees that are concert goers to get reimbursed for their tickets if they provide a fashion report afterwards.
    Hot Topic also has a matching 401k plan, benefits for part-time asm and up.
    Has partnerships with Verizon and Dell to provide cheaper alternatives for employees needing technology.
    Has a tuition reimbursement program that basically creates a 1200 scholarship for you if you do well in school.

    Cons

    Being a top down kind of company means having to achieve some goals that are sometimes outrageous with the sole purpose of keeping management from earning their bonus.
    Because of the culture of this company some less than desirable people get attracted to it and end up royally screwing over everyone that works there. Theft issues often, harassment often, and so much DRAMA...but usually that is nipped in the bud relatively quickly by DM's or RM's.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    DM's and RM's need to be more transparent and helpful to those in lower management. One should not feel afraid to talk to their supervisors about internal conflicts, because that person may gossip about you. Management also needs to END the bully-out method! It is unprofessional and creates disgruntled employees, resolve conflict, do not ignore it.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Sales associate to Part Time Assistant Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Part Time Assistant Manager
    Current Employee - Part Time Assistant Manager

    I have been working at Hot Topic part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Work with great people, works around my schedule

    Cons

    DM treats employees badly
    Upper management can be lazy, needs to take control of employees
    Way to much pressure on management from DM
    Upper management can't make up minds

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote within the company to loyal employees, don't put so much pressure on management, BE MOTIVATING

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    good retail starting point

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Full Time Assistant Manager  in  Columbia, SC (US)
    Former Employee - Full Time Assistant Manager in Columbia, SC (US)

    I worked at Hot Topic full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    -you can wear almost anything to work
    -they offer an excellent employee discount
    -the company tends to hire personality so most of your coworkers are awesome
    -they promote from within (I was promoted 3 times in 3 years)
    -the benefits are pretty great. managers get paid sick/vacation time and medical and dental insurance
    -working here will teach you confidence if nothing else

    Cons

    -the workload for managers extremely outweighs the pay
    -it is a corporation and they will take advantage of hard workers
    -there is a lack of appreciation/incentives but high sales and performance expectations
    -you will out grow your customer base
    -there is never enough payroll to get what's expected done
    -if you are not a salesman this job is not for you

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    a little appreciation goes a long way as does competitive pay
    stores need more payroll!!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Fun for a while, gets old fast.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Part-Time Assistant Manager  in  Medford, OR (US)
    Current Employee - Part-Time Assistant Manager in Medford, OR (US)

    I have been working at Hot Topic part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Fun and unique environment, generally a good team to work with as well. Store manager at the medford location is wonderful to work for.

    Cons

    No sales incentives, but all the pressure. Get sick of the kids that come in every day pretty quickly. Poor marketing and buyers. Very little room to move up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Throw them out. You lost the culture, not sure what you can do about it now.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Flexible scheduling, an awesome dress code, fun environment, but no job is 100% perfect.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Store Manager
    Former Employee - Store Manager

    I worked at Hot Topic full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I worked my way up from a seasonal sales associate all the way to store manager within a 2 1/2 year time frame. It is a very fun company to work for, the job is engaging, you get a dress code of dreams, and if you're ready to work hard and are smart, you will have a very bright future with the company. I was offered a higher volume store, but chose to leave the company for an office environment.

    Cons

    The pay is lacking for how much stress you have to put up with as a store manager (I am in a rural part of the country and was making about 30k/year). Rural stores and districts are expected to perform and have the same support that urban stores/districts have, but due to logistics this is simply just not the case. Due to this some members of corporate often jump to conclusions about things that are simply not true, and they would know of within 15 minutes if they took time to talk to their store managers and district managers about the daily life/time line of changes in a store over a short amount of time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your store managers more and offer more support to the more rural districts/stores.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Retail Mentality

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Representative  in  City of Industry, CA (US)
    Former Employee - IT Representative in City of Industry, CA (US)

    I worked at Hot Topic full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    If a retail environment is what you are looking for then HT is great.

    Cons

    office culture, lack of promotion, management

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Very fun and casual listening to great music all day but low pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hot Topic Keyholder
    Former Employee - Hot Topic Keyholder

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    You can express yourself and wear whatever you want, listen to great music, paid for your concert tickets if you filled out a fashion report, great energetic and fun co workers. Worked there for 7 years and loved it until the end.

    Cons

    Very low pay that is impossible to live off of, right before I left shifts were cut down to 3 hour shifts which was ridiculous. As pay got lower and hours shorter, expectations grew from upper management that was impossible to do everything they wanted while trying to retain great customer service and maintain the store. Every now ans then you would get a bad customer/parent, but I worked in a bible belt town so it was expected.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    3 hour shifts is a waste of anyone's time, go back to 5 hour shifts and prioritize on what you expect from employees and the store

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    I was never so upset at a retail job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate  in  Rosemont, IL (US)
    Former Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in Rosemont, IL (US)

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    You can wear whatever you like (but you're kinda out of place when you don't wear one of "their" tshirts).
    Occasionally there is good music but it matters who happens to be there.
    I didn't have to hide my tattoos, piercings or hair color.

    Cons

    Oh God where do I even start.... I guess I can just share my story. So I applied to a Hot Topic a long time ago out of complete desperation. I never really shopped in there at all nor liked how trendy they got for a supposed alternative store. But you know, why not try something out? I had worked retail for about over... four years, two of those years as an assistant manager (not at Hot Topic). So I thought... hell yeah I'll apply as an assistant manager again. They called about a good almost six months later, said I can start as a normal employee until something opens up there or another store and I can be promoted. Fine, fine-- I wanted the money. School books and all. Little did I know accepting that position was my biggest mistake.
    I have worked in a few places all of them so friendly and willing to train. This Hot Topic was cold. I trained one day, whereas I was sent on the dumbest mission in the world which was secret shopping on other stores in the mall. I had to see what THEY did wrong and right then come back just to be told that that was my training. A really cheesy gimmick. I didn't work for a good two weeks after that odd day.
    I was bombed with questions when I came back about conversion, YTD/ TTM, ect. Honestly... I was never told the stores goals offhand so I couldn't answer the questions after all it was after not working for two weeks. I was scolded that time and told to stay in the front and greet. I greeted loudly and to everyone. I was pressured to greet louder, be behind customers back. Shove things in their face and sales, I've done this before but this extreme.
    Of course I wasn't scheduled for another week, and when I came back, is when everything went haywire. I was asked different questions. When I did not answer them the manager got associates to answer them for me, and always remarked, "How come he knows it and yet you don't?" Probably because he has been there for months. Of course I felt worse when she judged my character as a former manager because I did not know the answers, she clarified that I was a temp and that the assistant manager thought I was "not doing anything" last time I was there. Insane-- since everything in the store was fixed and cleaned and I handled all of the customers that night while the assistant manager was playing with the register and talking about her personal life. I moved on though, saying nothing and greeted.
    It was busy, most Hot Topics are. A few customers came to me for deeper assistance which I did help them with. One of which wanted a price check, I tried to flag someone down, not knowing the price check system on toys-- besides they were beyond my greeting zone.
    "WHAT ARE YOU DOING. YOU'RE A GREETER STAY IN THE FRONT," the manager snatched the item away. I finally stood up for myself and replied, "The customer just wanted to know the price. Just that. He's right there." She said she handle it and told me to go back. She never handled it. The mother got upset and left. I was so upset at the audacity of a manger blowing not just me off, but a kid and his mother. I was never so upset in my life at work, I had to take a moment and regain myself. As I did the manager stared at me and talked to an employee, so I looked away and continued.
    It gets better. I once again needed a price check. I did not care if I was going to get yelled at because--- the customer as always was an amazing individual. I waited at the counter for it to clear up, as I stood there, item in hand. She laughed at me and said, "Why are you lurking around the store. That is so creepy." I should have left then. But I stuck it out through the rest of the night. Ignoring the fact that the manager was staring at me and whispering to my coworker. Entertaining and helping the customers, really helped me make it. I fixed the store when it closed. The manager tried to direct me but I was far from done at that point in really listening to her. I'm a greeter, not a folder, not allowed on the register, not a keyholder nor the assistant manager I was suppose to be. I was a creepy greeter.

    Overall they were immature, horrible pay rate (100 bucks every two weeks at most), horrible pressure in work conditions, if you did not look Hot Topic like (even if you're alternative) you were out, and no chance for growth without taking a lot of nonsense I would guess. From the looks of it she had her team, and i was just the spare when vacation arose for the others. Favoritism in retail happens, but you can't help but hate it.

    I bet some stores might be better... I guess. But this story goes to the people who end up like me, so they won't feel like crap if they have the urge to quit. Just do it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raising the wage won't help if you give employers one day every two weeks to work, let alone when most of them are probably over qualified for the positions handed to them. Fish out all of the judgement, I thought this was a place of uniqueness and culture. And over all stop, I repeat, stop reprimanding employees to be such hounds at the door when a customer walks in. When I was younger Hot Topic was full of music and rock. It was laid back and alive at the same time just by the atmosphere. What happened? Who made it this horrible generic machine of favoritism and judgement. You're not unique anymore (even as a pop culture store), it's just turned into another place that sells over priced shirts and pants.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Hot Topic Photos

Entrance to a typical Hot Topic, this one in San Rafael, CA
Hot Topic HQ lobby
Halloween

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