Hot Topic Reviews | Glassdoor

Hot Topic Reviews

Updated February 7, 2017
68 reviews

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Steve Vranes
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68 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The fact that there is not really a dress code is awesome (in 97 reviews)

  • 40% employee discount on top of sales (in 57 reviews)

Cons
  • Upper management doesn't always understand in-store problems-- too far removed (in 39 reviews)

  • Competitive hours for sales associates (in 38 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (4)

    "Former assistant manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Full Time Assistant Manager in Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Full Time Assistant Manager in Sacramento, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Discount and the health insurance. That's about it, I'm just trying to make the 20 word minimum. Seriously that's about it.

    Cons

    Where to begin....the expectations are unrealistic. They expect you to complete a never ending list of tasks/promo changes/visual updates/shipment and make money with no payroll to do any of it. On top of everything they expect completed in a day they also expect you to make sales, keep conversion low, and get credit card apps with only 1-2 part coverage during most of the day. With the customers that come in the store (mostly teenagers) you're expected to make $60 sales (kids don't have that kind of money) and hope they don't come constantly in and out to keep conversion low. The online shipping to store is not maintained well either, they constantly mess up orders or don't ship them so on top of dealing with customers in the store you are also dealing with phone customers which take up to 20 mins at times because of the ancient internet and sometime difficult to navigate ordering look up. At times it can just be you in the store but because you have to take time on the phone dealing with online orders you can't always help customers in store or give them the attention they deserve they get upset for waiting. Payroll is unrealistic, you can't complete projects with no hours to do so and you some associates get zero hours which hurts the team morale. It also seems you're expected to work off the clock so you don't "break" the payroll bank. The associates constantly fall behind because they can go up to a week without a shift and with the constant promo changes and LP topics they can't keep up. Upper management (DM's and regional managers) don't care if stores are struggling, it's hard to make money without support from the higher ups and the only response you seem to ever get when asking for help is "figure it out".

    Advice to Management

    Take care of your employees. I gave almost 10 years of my life to the company for them to pretty much push me out. Granted I wanted to leave anyways but the way the company goes about using loyal employees as disposable is sad. It's high stress for low pay and nothing to show for.


  2. "Just use you for one day so managers could have the day off"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Sales in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You can wear what you want, listen to cool music, and interact with cool customers.

    Cons

    They only hired for black friday, then didn't schedule any new hires after that.

    Advice to Management

    Find a better way to schedule employees.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "You Might Be Fired If..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Naples, FL
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Naples, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I throughly enjoyed working with the customers of Hot Topic and all of the other responsibilities of my job. I love the Hot Topic style. I have been a long time customer myself, purchasing 80% of my clothes and accessories at Hot Topic.

    Cons

    Before I started working here, several people (former employees and customers) commented negatively about the current manager and warned me about taking the job.

    During my short time working here the manager fired one person ( before their 90 day probation was up) for "talking with other team members outside of work". I was also fired- unjustly.

    As a customer I have seen many sales associates come and go, now I know why.

    Advice to Management

    Find a manager with more professionalism and maturity. Someone who is wiling to teach and work with their staff instead of getting rid of them with unjust and ridiculous excuses, especially when those sales associates are invested in the brand as I was.


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  5. Helpful (10)

    "Lack of Leadership in the Hot Topic eCommerce department"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in City of Industry, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in City of Industry, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic full-time

    Pros

    -Decent Cafeteria with friendly Sodexo staff
    -Gym (if you have time to use it)
    -Thirsty Thursdays in the summer (however being in the eComm department, you just go back to your seat and work, no socializing is encouraged whatsoever)
    -Sample Sales (rare, but awesome when they do happen)
    -Occasional celebrations (they bring you bundt cakes for valentines day, etc.)
    -You can wear whatever you want to work
    -Bonus program

    Cons

    -No room for improvement. They encourage you to keep doing the work that you are doing without thinking outside the box. Got new ideas? Forget about sharing them since they won't be taken seriously because "we're supposed to stay in our lanes"
    -Condescending attitude towards subordinates, especially from the Hot Topic online marketing manager. Have a question? You should think about keeping it to yourself because if you ask chances are you will receive some unfriendly attitude in return
    -Although there's freedom to do your work at your own pace, there is constant micromanagement. You can not make decisions without consulting the manager first. You have a different opinion than the Hot Topic OLM manager? That's just too bad because she will always have the last say. It doesn't matter if you don't agree as her opinion is the only one that matters and she is never wrong.
    -No consistency. Methods of completing work are always changing. There is no consistency in the methods as processes change from week to week, month to month, etc. Basically at the drop of a hat.
    -Management is horrible. They're not personable. They do not care about your sanity or your well-being. They just want you to work, work, work. If you're working and you're still not producing, than you are considered the problem. No help or remedies are provided. We're told that we "should be smart enough to figure it out" and "that's the way it is at any company you work for"

    Advice to Management

    Please for the sake of the department and the company, get some new managers in place in the eComm department at Hot Topic. There are plenty of subordinates that feel the same way and rest assured that if you do not do something to solve this problem, there will continue to be a high turnover rate especially in the online marketing department. A manager is supposed to be a leader that motivates and inspires others to grow and learn.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Got a job offer on the ecommerce team? Keep your sanity and run away."

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -The employee discount is great at 40% for Hot Topic and Torrid (except music which is at 20%). And it's stackable with other sales for Hot Topic.

    -Onsite gym is decent.

    -Onsite cafeteria is decent and they have cool staff.

    -Quarterly bonuses based on company performance.

    -Thirsty Thursdays in the Summer where they drink, except the ecomm team doesn't socialize and doesn't seem to drink either.

    -The buyers, planning, online marketing, and basically everyone aside from management is really cool. Easy to work with, helpful, and caring. You can enjoy lunch with each other, and have wonderful conversations. Sometimes you wish you could work with the same people just at a different company.

    And that's about it. The overall company is decent. It's just the terrible ecomm team that's the total opposite.

    Cons

    Let's see... where to start? Hmm, let's go with the most important part. THE MANAGEMENT.

    The ecomms team's leaders ship is terrible across the board. From rude and condescending individuals to socially awkward and unapproachable members on the team. You have newer Directors that have made individuals cry and quit, and other's who haven't even been able to hold on to a team due to their condescending and overall just bad attitudes. Within the last year or so, I can count at least 12 people that have left from that team alone. The Online Marketing team seems to have the highest turnover due to poor leadership. While there was a glimpse of hope for some time with a new VP coming in, they killed the dream as they decided to restructure. What's interesting is it isn't so much about office politics that you run to in other companies... it actually isn't that bad when it comes to that. But the poor attitudes and vibe on the team creates a hostile environment that no one wishes to endure for that long. Nepotism runs rampant now, and the management styles and personalities being brought in don't seem to be helping the situation. I won't be surprised if the team loses another 2 or 3 people. Which brings along the next point...

    HR - HR here is useless. They're aware of a lot of issues with managers and their management styles, but they don't care to do anything about it. Until they do, they should expect the continued turnover that the ecommerce department has had for the last year or so. HR should also replace the medical insurance they offer. It's rough, and they don't even have a real HMO option. It's a useless "EPO" option which doctor offices always mess up billing on.

    The systems used at Hot Topic are clunky, outdated and sloooow. It's a recognized issue here across all ecommerce internal teams, from production teams to online marketing, everyone is stuck with old nasty tools. The analytics system (coremetrics) is rough and it's something the VP's have acknowledged. Everyone seems to hate to use it. They don't even have a real analytics manager, so there's no focus or emphasis on actual site performance improvements from a data-driven standpoint. The only improvements really have been with changing the shopping cart/ecommerce platform to a much more modern and capable system.

    With the separation of Hot Topic and Torrid will come down with a rain of problems and I feel sorry for anyone that's left on the Hot Topic side. Hot Topic hasn't had nearly the amount of growth that Torrid has. Torrid will continue to appear as a rock star company and do well. Those left at Hot Topic will struggle to meet company quarterly bonus goals as time goes on. So if you have to pick, go to Torrid.

    Should you accept a job offer on the ecommerce team on either Hot Topic or Torrid, I truly hope the offer/salary you receive is an astronomical improvement from your last one, as you'd have to be someone who only cared about money to accept and that is the only way it would be worth it to you. I recommend you have an exit plan in preparation as things go down hill. With that said, should you accept, best of luck and may god have mercy on your soul.

    Advice to Management

    Replace your entire ecommerce management team with capable and personable executives and managers. Until you do, there will be a continued revolt from people. Improve your medical insurance options too, they're bad.


  7. "My experience working for the Hot Topic's in G.S.P"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Paramus, NJ
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Paramus, NJ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The discount and working with the new employee are great.

    Cons

    This job is no stranger to racism for people of color descent. If you apply for Hot Topic most likely they threw out your application because both of the keyholders told me as a joke(which was really inappropriate).
    The amount of fraternizing in that place is ridiculous. For you to date/hook up with a Hot Topic Sell-Associates who's over the age of 22 is really not that hard.
     The management is also terrible because they will lie to your face with a smile. And some of the managers will be lying & crying to other managers because they know they are wrong.
    They all love to play the victims.
    A bunch of Grown men adults trying to sell Harley Quinn outfits to teen girls & try to get their numbers.
    Plus their credit card is a huge joke.

    Advice to Management

    Review them and hired a spy


  8. "They don't take care of their employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - PT Assistant Manager in Wheaton, MD
    Former Employee - PT Assistant Manager in Wheaton, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun place to work at. It's very chill and upbeat. Customers are great and it's actually gives a nice selling experience. The task load is pretty manageable depending on which store you work at. So just in terms of the job itself, it's actually a pretty sweet place to work.

    Cons

    Retention is awful. If you're a sales associate, you'll have little to no hours. 3-4 hours a week, and maybe you'll get two shifts if you're lucky or the manager likes you. Their pay is very low as well. Minimum wage for employees. Assistants get 10-11 which is awful. Managers play favorites and don't schedule fairly, don't give you the days you requested off, and there's way too many blackout dates, especially during the summer, that it's hard for really ever have a nice vacation for yourself. They just don't take care of their employees well at all, and they're not equal or fair in any way. I put in my two weeks after the next weeks schedule was made and they just decided to take me off the last week, so I miss a whole week of pay. Very bad company.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees better! Especially ones who have put in years and years into your establishment. Raise your pay and give more payroll hours.


  9. "Best Company to work for."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in El Cajon, CA
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in El Cajon, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    They provide you an environment to grow.

    Cons

    There were no cons that I believe should be held against company.

    Advice to Management

    My advice to management besides hire me back is keep doing what your doing. As I watch the company transform I can't help to wish I stayed. I've watched the company transform. I've worked two other jobs since and I always long for Hot topic days.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Hot Mess - Part Time Assistant Store Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Part Time Assistant Store Manager in Citrus Heights, CA
    Former Employee - Part Time Assistant Store Manager in Citrus Heights, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good discount, 40 percent on regular and 20 percent on electronics.
    No dress code, they don't care about hair color of facial piercings.

    Cons

    Low pay
    Horrible operational structure
    Unprofessional
    Shipment comes every day and there's no employees to process it. You're scheduled alone in the store for hours at a time and expected to help customers and get through endless pages of markdowns and shipment. Upper management is incredibly inconsiderate.

    Advice to Management

    Respect your employees and give your stores enough payroll to have people working. Only send shipment once a week so it's easier to process and stop rescheduling markdowns, it screws over your stores schedule.


  11. "Worst job of my life."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Paramount, CA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Paramount, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Hot Topic part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    •Could wear what you want.

    Cons

    •No hours.
    •Do illegal things with your clock in's.
    •Will not promote unless your a teachers pet.
    •Over work you.
    •Horrible place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Promote people who are qualified to move up, & give better hours.


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