Working at Hot Topic | Glassdoor

Hot Topic Overview

City of Industry, CA
5001 to 10000 employees
Company - Private
Unknown / Non-Applicable
Hot Topic is a leading retailer of music and pop culture licensed apparel, accessories, and gifts for guys and girls. Founded in 1988 in a Southern California garage, Hot Topic has grown to over 650 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, and employs over ... Read more

Hot Topic – Why Work For Us?


Who We Are

With over 650 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, Hot Topic is one of the leading retailers in music and pop culture licensed apparel, accessories, and gifts for guys and girls.

Hot Topic is a family comprised of creative and talented individuals who are passionate about delivering the best retail experience and expert customer service. We succeed as a team by maintaining our respect for others, commitment to open communication, and our deep connection with our customers. 

Over 25 Years of Success

Our Hot Topic family has grown to over 10,000 associates strong since our founding in 1988, and we are always searching for more people to join. With so many careers to pursue at Hot Topic, we invite you to browse our job listings to see what opportunities match your skills and interests.

Want to learn more about Hot Topic’s history? Check this out!

Hot Topic is a division of Hot Topic, Inc

We listen to our employees

At Hot Topic, we don’t just give feedback to our associates – we ask for it! For instance, we continually ask associates what they think about product – what they like and what they don’t, what they want and what they need.

We encourage communication. Many successful product ideas come from our stores’ associates who contact our Merchandising team. Open door policy? Of course. Our Store Operations team and other HQ partners make sure our stores are kept up-to-date on anything and everything. 

Our concert reimbursement program is another great way we collect feedback. Any associate who attends a concert is eligible to be reimbursed up to $25 of their ticket if they complete a fashion report. Our Merchandise team then uses this information to make product decisions!

We’re still all about the music

Hot Topic was founded on the idea of being all about the music. While we have branched out, music still remains crucial to our identity. Whether it’s supporting new bands our supporting music education programs through the Hot Topic Foundation, music is a central to the Hot Topic identity. You’ll always hear great music playing both in stores and at HQ! 

We listen to our customers

Customers are our primary source of information and we pride ourselves in our close connection to them. Whether through customer comment cards, e-mails or letters, we respond to what our customers tell us.

We are all about customer service

Whether it’s to the customer who shops in our stores, or to any of our associates in the stores, in our DC or at Headquarters, it’s our goal to provide outstanding customer service. Inside Hot Topic, we all have identified “our customer”, and we treat each other with the same level of respect and responsiveness that we offer in our stores and on the Internet.

We share and communicate

Associates at our Headquarters and Distribution Center meet monthly as a team to share company updates, recognize accomplishments, welcome new hires and announce promotions. Within districts, Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers meet, at least twice per year. District Managers meet at Headquarters two times per year, and multiple times annually within their own regions.

The point? Ideas, training and recognition really matter here! Every associate makes a unique contribution to our business.

We recognize associates for a job well done

There are many ways in which we recognize associates. Just to name a few: we recognize associates for great ideas, feedback and performance, outstanding customer service, and years of service.

We train and develop

We offer training and development opportunities to all associates within the company. Our store management members benefit from a comprehensive training program which consists of training modules covering technical information and leadership skills. Headquarters and DC associates participate in training programs such as time management, effective communication, and interview skills, basic management and leadership.

Store Managers who are aspiring to become district managers are eligible to participate in the Multi-Unit Manager program. This particular program begins with a week-plus training experience at Headquarters, followed by in-field experience with a mentor District Manager, with follow-up training as well. Additional development programs target other positions, such as District Managers and Regional Directors. At Hot Topic, we don’t merely support “promotion from within”; we support every associate’s development in line with their own personal career aspirations.

We encourage development outside the workplace, too

At Hot Topic, we believe an associate’s development should go beyond the workplace. Tuition assistance is available to all associates after one year of service.

We believe in balance

We recognize your life is made up of many different things beyond work. And at Hot Topic we work hard, but we have fun, too!

Apply Now!

Be Yourself

Hot Topic’s work environment is a place where you can be yourself. We accept others because we all appreciate the unique features that make us who we are. That’s why we have a casual dress code and work environment. We want you to be you and express yourself!

Corporate Culture

Located between Los Angeles and Orange County, California, the Hot Topic Headquarters holds our Merchandising, Planning & Allocation, Finance, IT, Ecommerce, Human Resources, Marketing, Distribution, Real Estate, Product Development, and many other departments. Hot Topic HQ is a very open working environment and contains few offices, so everyone is connected to each other.


Our HQ employees enjoy work-life benefits including:

  • On-site Gym: Don’t have time to work out? Well now you do. At HQ, we provide an on-site gym to meet your workout needs. Our gym contains standard gym equipment, with Yoga, Personal Training, and Stretch and Tone classes made available every week.


  • On-site Physician’s Assistant and Chiropractor: Our physician’s assistant comes in once per week, and our chiropractor comes in twice per week.

  • Hot Topic Café: Our on-site café and full kitchen offers an extensive variety of fresh off-the-grill, deli, and salad bar meals. We also offer a vegetarian/vegan menu and provide inside & outside dining areas.


  • Mother's Room: We provide private rooms for new mothers as they transition back into daily work routine.
  • Volunteer Day: We want you to get passionate about giving back to your community. Because of this, we offer up to 4 days of full pay each year for you take time to help out any non-profit organization of your choice.


  • Food Trucks Tuesday & Friday: FOOD! Nom nom nom

  • Basketball Court: Shoot some hoops on your down time!

  • Car Wash & Car Maintenance Services: Too busy to get your car cleaned? We have a car cleaning company that will wash your car while you work.

  • Sample Sales: Get Hot Topic merchandise at heavily discounted rates.

Distribution Center Culture

Hot Topic has two distribution centers, one located in Southern California and one in the greater Nashville area. Our distribution centers are where all our orders from our retail stores, Ecommerce, and wholesale customers are fulfilled. The distribution centers offer a variety of logistic supply chain jobs, and house our vendor relations, import/export, quality control, traffic, and administration departments.


Our Distribution Center employees enjoy work-life benefits including:

  • Full Benefits for Part-time Jobs: Part time associates are eligible to receive medical, dental, and vision benefits.

  • Quarterly Recognition Events: Win up to $1,000 for good performance at our recognition events through our Spin the Wheel program.

  • Air-conditioning & Heating: We want you to be comfortable!

  • Flexible hours & days: We are very accommodating to your lifestyle and schedule.

Apply Now!


At Hot Topic, we recognize that our Hot Topic family is the reason why we remain a market leader in the apparel industry. Because we deeply value our employees, we strive to offer a wide array of benefits to make their lives comfortable. All employees are eligible for enrollment in our benefit program after a short 30-day period.

  • Medical: Our UnitedHealthcare medical plan includes preventive care, urgent care, maternity care and more.

  • Dental: Our Aetna dental plan includes preventative care, as well as acute care and orthodontia coverage.

  • Vision: Our vision care plan covers annual eye exams, as well as offers a discount on frames, lenses and contact lenses.

  • 401(k) Plan: All Hot Topic employees who are age 21 and over can invest in our 401(k) Plan. We offer a matching program, and employees may roll over a 401(k) balance from a previous employer at any time.

  • Life Insurance: We offer basic life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage at no cost to our employees. In addition, employees are given an opportunity to apply for additional coverage.

  • Disability: We offer Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability coverage at no cost to our employees.


Why is Hot Topic awesome?

Here’s a list of company perks that answer that question:

  • Employee Discount: Employees receive a 40% discount on apparel, accessories, shoes, and gift certificates, and a 20% discount on CDs, vinyl records, and DVDs!
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Need some assistance paying for your college courses and textbooks? We got you covered.
  • Concert Ticket Reimbursement: Want to go to shows and see your favorite bands play for free? Yeah, we thought so.
  • Band Grant: Do you play in a band? Do you need financial support to follow your dreams? Every year we offer $1,000 grants for employees with bands.
  • Entertainment Discount Tickets: Do you like going to the movies? Disneyland? SeaWorld? We offer company discounts to all of these.

 Apply Now! 


Hot Topic Foundation

Founded in 2004 at the suggestion of a store associate, the Hot Topic Foundation funds music and arts programs across the country through 3 non-profit organizations: Little Kids Rock, Notes for Notes, and the Grammy Foundation. Over the last eleven years, the Foundation has contributed over $9.3 million in grants and raised over $880,000 using our store ‘Round-Up’ program. In 2014, we awarded over $500,000 to our 3 partner organizations. 


We believe the creative arts enrich lives. That’s why the Hot Topic Foundation exists – to inspire and encourage young people to express their individuality through music and the arts.

Store Round-Up Program

All transactions in Hot Topic stores and can be rounded up to the next dollar  the change will be donated to the Hot Topic Foundation.

Employee Program

All employees can opt to have tax deductible donations deducted from their paychecks to directly benefit the Hot Topic Foundation. 

Want to learn more? Visit

Like us on Facebook! 

Hot Topic Foundation is administered by the California Community Foundation, a 501c3 public charity.

Hot Topic Reviews

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Steve Vranes
24 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    Helpful (3)

    "A place like this will not come by very often"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in City of Industry, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in City of Industry, CA
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Hot Topic (More than a year)


    The culture is great people are friendly, you are encouraged to be yourself and it is a judgement free zone.
    most employees are adults meaning they don’t have have to be chased around to do their work and as result management is not constantly on your back.
    you work freely along as you do what is needed of you, this is undoubtedly one of the best place to work and a place like this will not come by very often.


    because it is located between two industrial railways, going somewhere during your lunch break may take longer than expected from time to time due to traffic caused by passing trains

    Advice to Management

    management is doing a good job so far, i just thing they should continue on this path, although there is always room to improve so far i would say they are doing a great job

See All 664 Reviews

Hot Topic Interviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview

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Interview Difficulty




    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied in-person. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Hot Topic.


    I had a group interview, there was three other potential employees with me. The manager sat us all down and asked questions then had us all answer the question one by one. The trickiest part was that what you wanted to say to answer was almost always taken by another person if you weren't asked first. So on the fly having to think of an original answer was a bit of a struggle.

    Interview Questions

    • What type of music are you interested in?   1 Answer
See All 189 Interviews

Hot Topic Awards & Accolades

  • America's Best Employers, Forbes, 2015
  • 100 Best Companies to Work For, Fortune, 2006

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