Hot Topic

  www.hottopic.com
  www.hottopic.com

Hot Topic Reviews

Updated November 17, 2014
Updated November 17, 2014
287 Reviews
3.2
287 Reviews
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Hot Topic CEO & Director Lisa Harper
Lisa Harper
126 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Almost no rules for dress code, you can be as different as you want to be (in 52 reviews)

  • Freedom to be yourself, no dress code, decent music (at times) (in 19 reviews)


Cons
  • Upper management really has no clue what it is like day to day in an actual store (in 24 reviews)

  • Lack of hours for sales associates (in 19 reviews)

More Highlights

31 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Worst. Job. Ever.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in Katy, TX
    Current Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in Katy, TX

    I have been working at Hot Topic part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The training was decent. Dressing how you want, allowing piercings and such is great. The work environment was usually very upbeat.

    Cons

    Horrible management. The manager I have worked for has said some very disgusting things and treats us as children. The management also would rarely give praise, and get after you in front of all the customers, which is highly embarrassing and wrong. I no longer feel comfortable working under her. The store is extremely crowded and dirty, the amount of backed up shipment is ridiculous. The pay is also very low.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people 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
    Former Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in Rosemont, IL

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (less than an 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
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    ridiculous hours, pay, and treatment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cashier in San Bernardino, CA
    Former Employee - Cashier in San Bernardino, CA

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    40% discount I never used

    Cons

    the loud music blasting all day
    (especially annoying when trying to talk to customers)
    the employees/manager
    horrible hours (I wasn't the only one who experienced this)
    horrible pay (I got paid a total of $220 for 4 weeks of work)
    It's really tiring and emotionally exhausting because customers are rude

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be more fair with the hours
    turn the music down

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Horrible DM's and unrealistic goals

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

    I worked at Hot Topic full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The only pros I can think of is that I had a couple really great coworkers and the insurance was very low priced

    Cons

    Where do I begin, if you are going to push managers to meet certain goals make sure you aren't trying to push to much above LY when certain stores are already failing. The particular district manager I had was a absolute terror, I guess due to "short man complex" the only way he knew how to manage was to rip his store managers apart and continuously make people feel like all the hard work they put in was never good enough. Dear god if you ask the staff to wear the clothing then lead by example and not have a buyer walk into the store wearing pacsun clothing.... The workload is WAY TO MUCH for hourly store managers which caused a lot of managers to work off the clock to get things done so they wouldn't get yelled at oh and good luck not having to deal with work on your day off... The turn over rate is high most likely because the company expects 16 year old high school kids to stay until 12-2am working on merchandising. Hot Topic itself wasn't the same as how I remembered it as a teenager, it used to be all about the music and lifestyle but the lifestyle it promotes now is just ridiculous... Oh and, 16 dollars an hour for a store manager position is ridiculous

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get it together and make sure your district managers aren't killing the managers and think it's okay that their SM's are working off the clock. If you are closing a particular store due to decreased sales and increased rent then let that store know ASAP and not 2 weeks prior to the store closing and then expect them to spend their last few weeks boxing and cleaning up that store instead of finding a new job....If you expect the store managers to have such a heavy work load then make them salaried so they don't feel like they have to work off the clock or that they will get screamed at for not having everything done or for having OT!!! Retail is a tough job and industry in general but you can tell when a company is failing if district and regional managers are leaving left and right and they lose all sight of what the company was originally about. I didn't go into Hot Topic at 16 years old to buy a damn Justin Beiber shirt, I get it, its "music" but its not the life style Hot Topic used to promote.....

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Its so bad, I would prefer McDonalds.

    • 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 (more than an year)

    Pros

    It USED to be fun; they always played good music, my managers were amazing, and work was completed. Everyone was happyEveryontheir job, and got okay hours.

    Cons

    Since they changed management, I have had nothig but trouble. I was supposed to become a keyholder when I turned 18 -I have been working there November 2, 2012- but hired someone who isn't even supposed to work there, due to working at a competition store. Not to mention they cut down everyone to three hour shifts, which would be fine if it was over 9 hours a week.
    That DOES NOT PAY THE BILLS.
    The manager never does her job, and when I and an ex keyholder made a report, they accused us of causing drama.
    The brand new sales associates aren't stayig in their zones, always calling in, and never doing their jobs (for example, yelling at a 17 year old for not taking out the trash, which they aren't allowed to do.). Somehow, the new sales associates get 14 hours, and people that have been there waaaay longer, actually care about the customers, and do their jobs don't get paid enough nor get enough hours. They have treated us so poorly, and I will never shop there after I leave.
    And another thing, they don't give military discounts to veterans and elder members of military, " It must be a current, vertical military I.D..
    To be honest, I give it to everyone that has or is in the military, the least we could do is give them 10% off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get it together! You've lost a lot of good employees, you're not the only place that "allows" people to express themselves. People will figure that out, you're. Not special anymore.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Terrible place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    No dress code
    40% discount
    Choice of music

    Cons

    Very few hours
    Minimum wage
    No chances to move up

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop hiring so many people when there are already not enough hours to go around!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    ok place to work

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

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

    Pros

    Not very many pros other than the pay scale is a little above average

    Cons

    Poor management, Room to grow but once you get as far as you can, its almost impossible to move forward.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    No voice in the company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Part Time Assistant Manager in Buford, GA
    Former Employee - Part Time Assistant Manager in Buford, GA

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Working with unique individuals and customers.

    Cons

    No voice, no way to talk to management, no way to move up in company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your workers, we are there because we like the company and would like to help but if you give us no voice then there is no way we can help.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    No prospects of growth, low pay, very unprofessional, business plan with no aim

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Store Manager in City of Industry, CA
    Current Employee - Store Manager in City of Industry, CA

    I have been working at Hot Topic full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    laid back dress code.
    some times you may meet a decent person. But, the odds for that are the same as waiting at a bus stop.

    Cons

    we run more than 20 promos at once. Most customers are asking if we are closing.
    You can never get sick at this place. Because if you are sick there is no coverage.
    Management can't take time off and sales associates can't get hours.
    You work every single holiday, you can't ask for it off.
    "feel free to leave, managers are dime a dozen" attitude.
    this ship is sinking

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Selling was the best idea, jump the ship while you can.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Dissappointing. Don't work here.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Some of the people working there are pretty cool, the customers are also pretty fun to interact with.

    Cons

    It was almost like I didn't have a job since I only worked one day a week. Management refused to give me more hours. Management and most of staff will not make you feel accepted or part of the crew. Will not give notice about last minute schedule changes. Employees treated poorly in general. Management could care less about creating a good work environment or happy employees. I felt like I was in high school, not a professional place of business.

    Doesn't Recommend

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