Hot Topic

  www.hottopic.com
  www.hottopic.com

Hot Topic Reviews

Updated November 23, 2014
Updated November 23, 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

Employee Reviews

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3.  

    A company invested in it's employees

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

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, incentives to go to college, additional awards, great environment, and bonuses.

    Cons

    Salary is low in most markets.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase salary for members of management who are highly qualified.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Good for a season, terrible as a job.

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

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

    Pros

    - Almost no rules for dress code, you can be as different as you want to be.
    - Good starter retail experience
    - Generally no unpleasant people come in
    - You are allowed to trial and error this job

    Cons

    - Your based on how much you buddy up with the management and employees
    - The music is pretty bad (opinion)
    - Management definitely picks favorites
    - Upper Management doesn't respect anyone
    - Pay is beyond terrible
    - Hours are beyond terrible
    - It's hard to receive directions, seems like something amiss all the time
    - Forced to push too many sales/questions upon customers
    - Very Lazy part-time/keyholders, I often found myself alone when the Assistant Manager and female Keyholder worked, I would rarely see them.
    - Lies about their employment promises, I was told it was performance based, not buddy to buddy based.
    - Manager tries directing the blame away from himself.
    - Selling overpriced merchandise
    - Selling greatly overpriced fake denim jeans
    - Coworkers who do not respect clean work ethic
    - You can move up to Store Manager if you wait a long time, but you will not move up at all. You'll remain part time here pretty much.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This is a company, this is a work place, hold your workers to higher standards, and respect those with clean work ethic. Also, remember, if someone is taking everything they can to get up, quit ignoring them and trying to cover your favorites. People need to be held to standards, not to idiocracy. I respect the store manager, but everyone else needs to tell me how to get their job, because they are undeserving in my opinion.

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

    Great store bad pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate and Key Holder in Nashua, NH
    Former Employee - Sales Associate and Key Holder in Nashua, NH

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

    Pros

    Awesome working environment. Great coworkers that I still stay in touch with. Laid back environment, except busy seasons. In store management was usually great and approachable. Great product, very versatile.

    Cons

    Some management is terrible. I have about 4/5 managers in my 3 years there and I had 1 who almost forced me to quit because of the way she was twisting situations and favoring other employees, when a different SM approached the district manager he brushed it under the rug and transferred me back to my original store instead of investigating.
    Pay is VERY lacking. After 3 years I was making only $0.25 over minimum wage. Even as a key holder I made less then I was making at a different store as a PT sales associate. After I left it seems like management took a steep turn downhill and I have not heard a single good thing about it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember that it's the customer who matters, and that the "little people" aka retail workers won't be able to truly help the customers if they feel handcuffed by corporate.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Some good, some bad

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

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Got along with most of my coworkers. Dress code allowed to be very creative.

    Cons

    Company sided with two horrible managers instead of protecting those who had been there between 5-10 years. Yes, YEARS. Employees were not given support when complaints about scheduling arose.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more democratic with helping employees who have been there quite a bit longer than the newer employees. Protect those who truly know what they're doing, as opposed to new people who really don't know what they're doing.

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

    Key Holder

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

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

    Pros

    No dress code, low pace store, provides experience for better management jobs outside of retail, motivation to get bachelors degree

    Cons

    DM'S are oblivious to actual volume of store, poor communication from management to team, boring, high demanding customers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be more confrontational, create a positive work enviroment.

    Doesn't Recommend
  9.  

    Shady Manager

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

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

    Pros

    The job was pretty easy. The company is pretty laid back.

    Cons

    Manager was very unprofessional.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be upfront with your employees. Don't be shady.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Learned a lot since I started young and worked my way into store management, stiffed towards the end though

    • 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 (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    In the beginning the pay was great, freedom to be and express yourself, laid back environment, fairly easy work

    Cons

    Company stopped giving raises, took away payroll and positions that were necessary to run a smoothly functioning operation, added more work onto less people. There were many nights when I worked all alone. Sales goals were very unrealistic at times, as well as a huge load of manual tasks when there were a lot of customers to be helped and cleaning to be done. I was diagnosed with a disease and DM offered VERY LITTLE support to help while I was hospitalized and then ultimately fired me after a few months saying I "wasn't doing my job". Merchandise got cheaper and less appealing over the years too. My DM had her favorites and sadly I wasn't one of them so unless I was getting critiqued or written up I rarely saw her.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like real people and have some compassion. District managers should be more hands-on and help ALL stores, not just their favorites.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    As fun as you make it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Store Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Store Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at Hot Topic full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    No dress code, great music, fun atmosphere. Made lifelong friends here.

    Cons

    There are great customers and very very uneducated awful customers...but that's at any job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Calm down.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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