Hot Topic Reviews

Updated August 3, 2014
Updated August 3, 2014
259 Reviews
3.3
259 Reviews
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Hot Topic CEO & Director Lisa Harper
Lisa Harper
119 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good employee discount, Somewhat flexible with schedule changes, dress code (in 45 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 20 reviews)

  • Lack of hours for sales associates (in 17 reviews)

More Highlights

28 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    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 for less than a 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
  2.  

    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 for more than a 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
  3.  

    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 for more than a 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
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  5.  

    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 for 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
  6.  

    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 for more than a 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
  7.  

    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 for more than a 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
  8.  

    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 for less than a 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
  9.  

    Don't Work here unless you want to be living a miserable life

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

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

    Pros

    None. It would seem like there would be however getting a 40% discount does not come close to being a pro when every single aspect of this company is horrifying.

    Cons

    Manager's and Staff treated extremely poorly. DM's and the rest of the upper management could care less about people's quality of life, or frankly running a successful business. You need happy employees to have happy customers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sack almost all your upper management team and get a new CEO. Perhaps you can save this company if you actually put some effort in.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Do NOT Work here!!!

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

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

    Pros

    None, even the discount isn't worth it because the quality of the clothing is crap. Things fall apart and customers return worthless merchandise everyday

    Cons

    Abusive and hostile upper management. Absurd expectations with no training or guidance and very low pay. Inappropriate communications between DM and Team Memebers. After working in a hostile work environment where my career was deliberately being sabotaged by the DM, HR would not help me so I walked out. I'm a Store Manager and I just walked out....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Redefine what it means to be decent and try and grasp some kind of understanding of labor laws before someone sues you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Don't buy into it. It isn't worth it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Key Holder  in  Daytona Beach, FL
    Former Employee - Key Holder in Daytona Beach, FL

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

    Pros

    40% off discount
    Get to dress however you want
    Selling and connecting with people through music and rock culture

    Cons

    They hook people in who are tattooed, pierced, and alternative (who can't find a job anywhere else) and butter them up with their employee discount and the overall environment, but no one ever gets decent and steady hours except for the Store Manager and Assistant Manager. The pay is insulting for the work load you're expected to do. They start you off at not a penny more than minimum wage for sales associates, regardless of previous retail experience. I was promoted to Key Holder (starting manager) after being hired as a sales associate and was responsible for opening the store, making the daily planner sheet with tons of calculated sales facts (ADT, UPT, WTD, and MTD, along with individual broken down sales goals for each associate working that day according to our overall sales goal) managing the sales floor completely ALONE from open until 1pm until the closing manager got there, processing shipment, marketing/merchandising, stock, stock. conference calls (sometimes very important Store Manager calls), so much tedious manual labor it killed me, and making change runs and bank deposits (literally taking a sack of thousands of dollars outside the store, through the mall and the parking lot, and driving it to the bank and back) and after 3 years of being with the company, I WAS ONLY MAKING $8.56!!! This was including 3 annual raises and the promotion to management. That's only $1.32 above minimum wage at the time! And during the months that the company offered bonuses for exceeding sales goals, I always got the least amount of money because I was at the bottom of the manager totem pole (even though I had an excellent sales record and generated a LOT of money for the store). I think it was somewhere along the likes of Store Manager: $150, Assistant: $100, Part Time Assistant: $50, and Key Holder $20. And they always averaged it it with my paycheck, so I got taxed on it anyway. Don't let the "cool kid" vibe fool you. It's a terrible company to work for!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get your crap together. Stop relying on the fact that "everybody wants a job at Hot Topic because it's cool." There's a reason why the company turn over is so ridiculously high. Some people actually need this job to live and pay bills. You shouldn't strive to have a staff full of teenagers looking to boost their egos and gain pocket change, and not even think twice about being wronged. Playing on young, naive employees is sick and twisted. This is a multimillion dollar company. You can definitely afford to treat your employees better. People work for money, not 40% off poorly made clothes and crappy accessories.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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