Hot Topic Reviews | Glassdoor

Hot Topic Reviews

Updated February 21, 2017
652 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.4
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Steve Vranes
22 Ratings

652 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The fact that there is not really a dress code is awesome (in 96 reviews)

  • 40% employee discount on top of sales (in 49 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 (2)

    "Not a place to work if you want to move up."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Chula Vista, CA
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Chula Vista, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - The assistant managers are great
    - Employee 40% discount is decent

    Cons

    - Incompetent manger
    - Stressful work days trying to meet unrealistic goals
    - very shady
    - Misleading reviews, pretends there's an opportunity to move up so you work even harder.
    - No way to contact the higher up's if somethings wrong.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps providing a very simple way to show WHAT you need to do to move up would make a world of difference. It's a very shallow company that doesn't take chance on proven employees.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Cost savings plans have diminished company culture and quality of labor conditions resulting in heightened turnover rate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pittsburgh, PA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pittsburgh, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Competitive benefits package for full time employees. Upwards mobility within individual stores. Product selection has improved significantly in the last year.

    Cons

    Used to be on Forbes "Best Companies To Work For" but has lost it's spirit. Economic troubles have been retaliated against with poor working conditions for store-level employees. Irreparable damage has been done to employee morale. New product direction is good, but opportunity for success is compromised by shrunken budgets and reduced head-counts.

    Advice to Management

    Cutting payroll, slashing jobs, and skimping on costs may look good on paper; but stores staffed with disgruntled and unhappy employees will do more damage to brand image than nickel and dime savings can ever counteract.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Do yourself a favor, don't work here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in Buffalo, NY
    Current Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in Buffalo, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You can dress however you want.
    Decent discount

    Cons

    Hourly pay rate is insultingly low.
    Supervisors are sugarcoated meanies.
    Lack of hours.

    Advice to Management

    Your supervisors need to relax a bit, you're paying us minimum wage, don't try to run the place like its more than it is - you wonder why the employee turnover rate is so alarming? Supervisors are very quick to let us know when we do something wrong, very rarely do you every hear words of encouragement or any acknowledgment, unless you are being reprimanded.

    We are also forced to pretty much attack customers with "can I help you find anything?" How about we say hello and give them a little credit assuming they know how to stroll a store to find what they want? If they need assistance I'm sure they'll ask, instead we are forced to badger them until some of them get visibly annoyed.

    It's just been a really bad experience for me, I'm currently looking for another job, once I'm done with my Hot Topic employment, I will never set foot in one again. This is the worst workplace I've ever worked in, the worst Supervisors I've ever worked under. Avoid this place, it's a dead end and the scenery isn't worth the trip.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good for younger kids."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Hot Topic Sales Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    *40% discount on clothing, 20% on accessories and others.
    *Over all easy going environment.
    *Good, alternative music
    *Able to dress and look pretty much however you want.

    Cons

    *Empty promises of growth - (especially depending on your store) Employees have been with the company for 2 years+ and are still sales associates getting paid $8.45.
    *Hours are given out entirely based on a corrupt system of getting internet sales.
    *Typical sales associate gets about 11-13 hours a week or less.
    *Pressure to make sales on the kiosk is very difficult.
    *They don't like to fire people in my experience, they just give the people they don't like less and less hours until they quit.
    *High amount of gossip throughout the company.

    Advice to Management

    This company has really gone down the drain and is entirely money based now. Now that they realize they aren't making enough money in stores they have gone to making sales via a kiosk in the store. This company is good for a kid in high school who is just looking for some extra money in their pockets. If you are an adult 18+, this company is not for you. With extremely low pay, low amount of hours, outrageous new sales system based on online sales this company needs to focus back on making the store a great place to work.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "What happened?"

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

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

    Pros

    Before I start, keep in mind that if I were doing this from a sales associate (entry level/floor staff) position it would be 110% different. For management there is very little to say here. There is the obvious, which is the dress code, all other reviews have touched this. Management gets a bonus for making numbers (I'll get back to that later on). Customers CAN be nice, big emphasis on CAN.

    Cons

    Okay, lots to go over here. First of all Hot Topic took away so many things in the name of saving money that it is just sad. They started with no more trip to California for SMs for the meeting, then EVERYTHING in the store went up $0.50 in price and all the tags looked cheaper too, and within the last year or so they cut a ton of hours from all stores. Leaving a lot of stores to only have 1 person on staff for most of the day. It is for sure a game of favorites for promotions, even at SM level. My last SM was AWFUL at her job and pushed me to quit (she did this to EVERY manager she worked with) and after I leave I find out she gets promoted to higher volume store! WHAT!? I find the reason this happened is that she has known the current DM for a long time now and he gives her every good position that opens up in the district. Remember that bonus program I mentioned earlier? IT SUCKS. They offer it as an incentive to make numbers for the month, but if you are any position lower than SM its completely not worth it. My main problem was they expected more and more while offering their employees less and less. Plus on a personal note, the advertising campaigns have been getting filthy (check out the valentine's day photos from last year promo if you don't believe me).

    Advice to Management

    The people in your stores are much smarter than you think they are. I heard about your "HT love" FB page to try and get people to like their jobs again and I find that sad. If you really want people to like their job, STOP MAKING THEIR WORK LIFE HELL!


  7. Helpful (3)

    "4 years of service and all I got for it was this lousy T-Shirt"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in Tallahassee, FL
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in Tallahassee, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It used to be an amazing place to work. Body mods are fine and the environment was relaxed and fun.

    Cons

    Used to be the key word. Hot Topic tries to make a big deal about how much their employees love working for them and how great they treat them. This is all BOGUS they really could not care at all. After our SM left the DM decided to promote one of his personal friends from Jacksonville to the position. Our Key and ASM quit so it was up to me to train them. After they were trained and up to speed I was terminated under false pretense by the SM. Had never received a write up or any kind of disciplinary warning. Had never even been late for work.

    Advice to Management

    Look real closely at the people you have running your stores and districts


  8. "Terrible district manager + low pay"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Part-Time Assistant Manager in Pittsburgh, PA
    Former Employee - Part-Time Assistant Manager in Pittsburgh, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I enjoyed being at the front of pop-culture and also having access to the latest in music and some fashion trends (not all)

    Cons

    Terrible wages.. My district manager lied to me about what I would be paid when I got promoted. Policy seemed to change weekly and it was a lot of work just for general upkeep of the store on top of petty little "visual merchandising" activities throughout the week. Overall I would never suggest anyone to work there. You get stuck at a certain level like I did. There was NO room for promotion whatsoever. So many people have been doing the same job for a few years with incredible dedication only to realize that they aren't going anywhere after a few years.

    Advice to Management

    Get involved in the day to day life of your stores. Perform actual reviews of District Managers. From what I hear some are good, and for a period of time I had a good DM. Then I got put back with the one who lied about pay, played favorites, and was disrespectful to all of his employees.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Very Disappointed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - District Manager
    Current Employee - District Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The company offers very good benefits to its Full Time employees. Additionally, it appears that the home office infrastructure is improving. Unfortunately, this is where it ends.

    Cons

    No incentive to keep talent and extremely poor ethics and accountability at upper management levels. I'm currently a DM for this brand; however, it is the same experience in each brand. Disorganized Store Operations, Unethical treatment of employees and an HR team that has little training or compassion, Long hours for store management with no regard for their work-life balance, Poor Field guidance, Older DMs and RDs are extremely resistant to change and are not receptive to outside talent, training programs do not exist in reality, and store systems are archaic which creates chaos for store teams. Overall, I would not recommend this company.

    Advice to Management

    I can recall an RD commenting about Hot Topic's "poor reputation" in the field of retail and that person puzzling over why that could be.... Well, I can answer this question. A company is only as good as its people. While there are some amazing folks working here... honestly, the store teams are simply awesome!!!! The Regional Talent and DM talent is all over the place with not much guidance. I have never seen such unprofessional behavior from a group of upper managers. VPs that are really glorified Regionals, Regionals that are really retail dinosaurs that want to 'do it the old way... the way it's always been done", and internally promoted DMs that would not cut it as store managers in most other retailers. So, why is your talent fleeing? Why can you not retain people or improve your image in the industry? Look inward. Prior to raising the bar at the stores, perhaps you need to start with your current upper management. Perhaps provide an employee friendly Human Resource Team that actually cares about ethics, morality, and employee well-being versus protecting the very causes of the issues. It is sad, but I do not see improvement. I absolutely love all of my store teams and truly care about them; however, I'm in final interviews with a reputable organization and will not think twice when I receive an offer. This was one of the biggest mistakes that I ever made in my retail career. I really do want to see this company succeed, but I can only see failure based upon its current management culture of fear, intimidation, and poor ethics. Very, very sad.


  10. "A company in decline"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Hot Topic full-time

    Pros

    Decent degree of autonomy with the right DM, Never have to worry about working OT, Operating hours better than big box retailers.

    Cons

    Very limited development opportunities, will try to low ball you on every single wage offer they can, leadership tends to be focused only on negative aspects, planning is nonexistent, most systems work slowly or not at all, communication is horrendous.

    Advice to Management

    Better planning and execution coupled with better communication would make this company a much better place to work.


  11. "Super at the start, then pretty awful"

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

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

    Pros

    Music, tattoos, interesting people, lots of fun stuff, could go to shows and get paid back for ticket

    Cons

    poor pay, poor upper management, low class customers, really trashy, like need a shower and lessons on hygiene. Never any hours,

    Advice to Management

    used to be cool, just not the same at all



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