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Top Hat Reviews

Updated September 24, 2018
190 reviews

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3.7
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Top Hat Founder & CEO Mike Silagadze
Mike Silagadze
117 Ratings

190 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "free lunch and trips to Toronto" (in 27 reviews)

  • "Catered lunch every day (very good) amazing coffee machine" (in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • "At times it feels like the company is growing faster than it can cope with and reacts to a lot of situations rather than pre-planning for them" (in 14 reviews)

  • "Work/life balance is occasionally hurt since some parts of the job are seasonal" (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Rare and exciting environment!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Top Hat full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The Denver office (and company as a whole) provides a really amazing opportunity to learn and grow your own skill sets. What I like most about the Denver office is that we're a diamond in the rough amongst other startups in the area. While being thrown into a young 8-12 person company might be attractive, Top Hat provides something one step further.

    Our office provides the small team vibe and mentality that others can provide, but we top it off with structure and knowledge that others might not be able to provide yet! At any given time in any role, you will be faced with many different challenges. One of many things that stand out to me about Top Hat is our support for one another.

    We have AMAZING managers who have answers and solutions to not only help you in your role but to lay the groundwork to get you where you want to be in the long term regarding your career goals.

    Cons

    The atmosphere at a high paced and rapidly growing company can be a lot to handle at times. Lucky, we're not approaching hiring like others might be. We're not necessarily looking for a "startup veteran" who has been in the game while! Top Hat is a great place to grow. If you see a posting that speaks to your skillset but challenges you at the same time, this is the place for you!

    Advice to Management

    Continue to listen to your teams and make the Denver office and overall company a better place to be every day!


  2. "Aggressive Sales Envrionment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Top Hat full-time

    Pros

    It's a fast paced position. Either you put up good numbers or you're out the door. Definitely a fun environment though.

    Cons

    Pretty low salary. High expectations.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Mismanagement and toxic culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive
    Current Employee - Account Executive
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Top Hat full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Good place to get started in sales
    - Catered lunches, snacks, and coffee
    - Option to travel for work

    Cons

    - Management is ridiculous. Hiring from within can be beneficial, but some managers are a complete mess and provide no value other than high fives
    - Constant shifting of territory makes it extremely difficult to achieve goals and quota
    - Toxic culture of gossip and cliques. You're working with high schoolers
    - Over promised on OTE resulting in a terribly high amount of turn over
    - Recent restructuring of sales process is yet another growing pain. After nine years, a company should have some of these things figured out by now

    Advice to Management

    Invest in better management - people and training programs.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Account Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Top Hat full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Free food for lunch, cool events but not enough events - I believe we only had one per month company paid

    Cons

    Robotic job tasks of cold calling, lying to potential customers (professors) on the phone letting them know it’ll only take 20 minutes for the demo, but it really took 45-an hour, minimal pay for hours put in, terrible pay structure to charge students to pay for the system as opposed to the school, handing over overworked accounts, allowing a Canadian account manager that knows nothing about my alma mater to manage my school rather than putting me on the account as I still keep in touch with many of my professors - makes great sense doesn’t it

    Advice to Management

    My manager walked into the position and never experienced the account manager role prior to managing us. How can you be a successful manager in this case? Figure out a different selling strategy rather than training us to be robots and work overtime without pay. Happy employees will do better and work harder for their manager rather than overworked and underpaid employees


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Definitely a temporary role"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Director
    Former Employee - Account Director
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Top Hat (More than a year)

    Pros

    Travel to different cities
    Start up culture

    Cons

    Definitely feels like a temporary role. Cold calling all day and lot of your success is determined by luck. The company has a not so great reputation with a lot of administrations/professors which can make it very difficult to sell the product, so you won't make much money unless you crush it (in the top 5% of reps)- which as mentioned previously, is almost entirely determined by luck (i.e. Which territories you are assigned).

    If you don't have much experience in sales/just graduated, it's a good way to meet some outgoing, fun people. Free lunch, casual work environment, and campus trips are great. But if you do have experience you can definitely do better!

    Advice to Management

    Let people work remotely!


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Mismanagement on another level - Stay Away!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Top Hat full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Free lunch
    - Hard working and great co-workers who share similar goals as you

    Cons

    - Limited internal upward mobility
    - Young and unexperienced management (many time unprofessional)
    - Terrible reputation in HigherEd community (professors many times refuse to speak to us when, "Top Hat" is mentioned over the phone. Hundred of spam emails are sent, only furthering the decline of Top Hat's reputation and increasing the negative stigma that Top Hat has incredibly outrageous aggressive sales techniques.
    - Massive Cold Calling centre. You will be at your desk, 100% of the time you are working. The only time you will not be is when you sneak away to grab a coffee because you're overwhelmed with the hang-ups and flaky professors or because you're frustrated with the unreasonable expectations.
    - No regard for human life. For as much as they promote, "culture", they have no issue firing people on the spot for "poor culture fits" or putting people they don't like on "PIP: Performance Improvement Plan" as a way of trying to get rid of you.
    - Every lunch is typically one big trash talk session of the company since everyone is frustrated and no managers want to listen. If you do happen to speak your mind, congratulations, you've now become a "poor culture fit", start looking for another job :)
    - No transparency on commission structure. OTE's are mentioned when they recruit you for hire, that is it. Once you actually start the job you realize that 95% of the people in that role are NOT hitting their OTE by a significant margin. Basically, you'll be living off your base.
    - Poor Higher Ed outlook: Most of what Top Hat is trying to do will be replaced by free materials within the next 5 years and crushed by major players like McGraw, Cengage, Pearson. Bad industry outlook in general.

    Advice to Management

    - Find new management
    -Address the legitimate concerns of your employees
    -Create new sales processes because professors are starting to refuse to speak with us. See: "aggressive top hat monocle marketing" in google search.

    Top Hat Response

    Jan 15, 2018

    Thank you for sharing such detailed feedback. As we look for ways to improve and disrupt the challenging education space, we will certainly take your words into consideration for the future. We... More


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Account Director"

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

    I worked at Top Hat full-time

    Pros

    You can get your gym reimbursed and free lunch.

    Cons

    High quotas. Bad management. Must do over 100 dials a day with emails.

    Advice to Management

    Get new management

  8. Helpful (1)

    "It's okay"

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

    I worked at Top Hat full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Free lunches, nice coworkers, casual environment

    Cons

    No development, not a serious place for serious and professional sales people


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great opportunity to grow!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Director in Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Account Director in Denver, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Top Hat full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -- Great sales training
    -- lots of room to grow
    -- Weekly incentives and bonuses.
    Overall a great sales role anyone looking to make the most of the opportunity and learn to work at high growth Saas startup. The team is collaborative, diverse and keeps it light!

    Cons

    -- Hyper growth! Not really a con but not for the faint of heart.
    -- not always a 9-5 but the effort is noticed and pays off

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing! Additional resources are great.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "What I wish I knew before I accepted an offer here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Account Director in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Senior Account Director in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Top Hat full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - An entry level job for people looking for SaaS sales experience
    - Your coworkers... Top Hat does an excellent job of recruiting people. This is their biggest strength. They focus on recruiting great talent like yourself. Unfortunately, their recruitment tactics are dishonest. Don't fall for it. Plenty of good people already have. Don't join them
    - Travel opportunities - This is a hybrid role of inside and outside sales. If you are looking to get out of just inside sales this is a good way to get some experience under your belt
    - If you survive the sink or swim environment you can succeed anywhere in sales

    Cons

    HIGH TURNOVER. average tenure is less than 6 months. Why you say... let me tell you:
    - Recruiting tactics are dishonest - Sorry, but you are not going to make what they say you are going to make. And no, 90% or people do not hit their goals. Try 25%. No one is going to be happy if they make less money than promised
    - Sales Tactics - Sales tactics here are lazy and spammy. The reputation of Top Hat is terrible at Universities. Because turnover is so high and sales goals are so aggressive. Most professors have been contacted hundreds of different times by different reps. They have also said please don't call again for a hundred times. I can't imagine them being excited to talk to you
    - The Product - I was really excited about the product when I started working there. Obviously the education industry needs change. However, this product is not good. It is a dime in a dozen. Engagement apps are only a good fit for certain courses and online textbooks are only good if you have legitimate authors. The education industry is all about prestige and reputation. You have an uphill battle here. Maybe they should hire less sales people and more developers?
    - Management - They have aggressive sales goals just like you. This creates a stressful environment where managers feel obligated to micromanage you
    - Sales Goals - You will be fired if you don't get to 50% of quota in 1-2 months. This isn't as easy as they make it sound. Do you really want to worry about being let go or fired for 1 bad month? Don't you want to work for a company that invests in you and doesn't just keep hiring new people to replace the people that quit or get fired? Have some self respect
    - Long term outlook - Not good. What is the best case scenario? I would be seriously shocked if they ever IPO. They pivoted from the engagement app over to online texts because the market is pretty much tapped out. They already have marketshare for engagement. Now what about their pivot to textbooks? It all comes back to if they can start recruiting better authors and hiring more developers. I don't think they have the resources to truly make that investment so they rely upon aggressive sales tactics. Unfortunately, Universities are all about prestige and reputation. They have burned way too many bridges for a quick win.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in Software developers and better authors and hire less sales people. Be honest and upfront during recruitment. The people that do decide to work there will be happier. Aggressive growth is good but life is about balance. The quality of the products need to improve. Onboarding needs to improve. You should reconsider your pivot to online texts. Treat your current employees better it is expensive to keep churning and burning. It is going to take years to regain trust with professors but it can be done.

    Top Hat Response

    Nov 16, 2017

    Thank you for your feedback. We agree with the pros of working here and value the concerns provided in your review. There are a number of items you mentioned that Top Hat is focusing on resolving; as... More


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