Hot Topic Reviews

Updated April 3, 2015
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Hot Topic CEO & Director Lisa Harper
Lisa Harper
20 Ratings

33 Employee Reviews

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  1. Horrible environment for professionals

    • 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Employee discount is slightly above average, freedom of appearance

    Cons

    Pay is extremely low, superiors are very disconnected, if you wish to hold a job as an adult and not a child this is not the place to do it. Career advancement is minimal if any.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees, get management that acts like a professionals, it is all well and good to cater your store to younger audiences, you can do so without your management acting like they are 12. If someone makes a report to HR do more than say you will follow up.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Slave worker

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

    I have been working at Hot Topic

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great discount on top of sales

    Cons

    Everything. Expect to work under paid with not enough hours to do everything they want done.

    Advice to Management

    It's not the managements fault, it's the company. Give more hours!!!

  3. Not a company I would recommend anyone to work for. No training even when asked, no benefits. Poor management style

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Key Holder in Tracy, CA
    Current Employee - Key Holder in Tracy, CA

    I have been working at Hot Topic

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

    Pros

    If you like what they sell there, the discount is decent. The music played in store is ok sometimes. Some of the employees can be nice.

    Cons

    Management target people they don't like. I discussed during my interview things that were not my strong point. They hired me anyway knowing I needed training in certain areas and decided to not give me the tools I needed to perform my job well.
    Called HR multiples times about being harassed and nothing was done about it.

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  5. More corporate than corporate despite their claims to the contrary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - N/A in City of Industry, CA
    Former Employee - N/A in City of Industry, CA

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Pros: Employee discount, CEO and CIO are reasonable and fair people, occasional perk in free movie preview.

    Cons

    Cons: Test in production, management at all levels is inept at best for 95% of all departments, far to many "bosses" and not enough "workers" to effectively get any job done. Culture is what you'd expect of bad 90's high school teen movies like "Mean Girls", the clique is strong in this place which makes work more often than not feel like you're dealing with entitled and spoiled teen agers as opposed to adult professionals.

    Advice to Management

    Give your employees the tools to do their job, hire more, pay attention to the number of people leaving under certain managers because for one or two in particular the average operation rate is higher than any other department by A LOT! STOP testing in production and get systems right BEFORE rolling anything out to the rest of the company.

  6. Helpful (1)

    Run, don't walk!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Full Time Assistant Manager in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Full Time Assistant Manager in Houston, TX

    I have been working at Hot Topic full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Most of the pros are completely arbitrary, such as dress code...the entire experience was very horrible.

    Cons

    Some of the worst management I have ever experienced. Hands down. From the bottom rungs, all the way up to DM and above! This company allows employees to suffer from being trained inappropriately and then goes on to punish them without ever resolving the original problem.

    Advice to Management

    Try actually paying attention to the needs of your employees instead of choosing personal favourites.

  7. Helpful (2)

    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 a year)

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

    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 Management

    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.

  8. Helpful (1)

    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 a year)

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

    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 Management

    be more fair with the hours
    turn the music down

  9. Helpful (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 (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.....

  10. Helpful (1)

    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 a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  11. Helpful (1)

    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 a year)

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

    Pros

    No dress code
    40% discount
    Choice of music

    Cons

    Very few hours
    Minimum wage
    No chances to move up

    Advice to Management

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

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