PAY: The wage is very low upon comparison to other companies (and industries) within the same career management level.
RESPECT: Respect is very important to Hot Topic; respectful workplace training is a fundamental part of the initial training for all employees and is implemented and maintained company-wide. Hot Topic will not tolerate disrespectful behavior from their employees & provides every possible resource for an employee to report abusive business practices including an anonymous hotline, as well as an open-door policy that extends all the way up the ladder to Betsy McLaughlin, the CEO of the company.
BENEFITS: The benefits are amazing! Awesome discount that extends to Torrid & Shockhound.com. Low cost healthcare options for management (even part-timers!), Stock options, company-matching 401k, monthly bonus opportunities, band grants, tuition scholarships, concert reimbursement and other contests for cash & prizes.
JOB SECURITY: HT operates on the pay for merit system and this extends to their retention (and promotion) of all employees. If you lost your job at HT, it is because you were performing below standards- PERIOD. So, basically if you do your job- you get to keep it. What more can you ask for?
Work/Life Balance: I scored this low because, from my experience, it is impossible to be highly effective as a member of management without having Hot Topic consuming a lot of your free time. Do not misunderstand me, they discourage and actually prohibit anyone from working off the clock, but if want product knowledge (namely music) you have to seek that out on your own time. You are required to be an "expert" on everything HT sells, being an expert on that much stuff is time consuming! Every really good manager has no life outside of work- sad but true.
CAREER Growth Potential: The sky is the limit. If you are willing and able HT will take you to the top of the company and everyone above you has a vested interest in you and your advancement.
Location: I scored this low- not because there aren't enough locations; there are plenty. However; HT requires you to be flexible about your locations and if you are not willing to go where they need you- it is impossible to advance. You may end up working at a mall in the next town over- even though you have one down the street from your house. Also, if you want to advance past store manager you may have to move to another state and then you will be traveling all over the place.
Co-worker Competence: Most everyone is competent in their position and if they aren't it is recognized and resolved in some way. However; it is usually a long process which can really take a toll on those compensating for the person who isn't doing their job, which most often leads to frustration and low morale for those who are competent. I think this is how Hot Topic ends up losing good people- they get tired of picking up slack for other people and leave instead of waiting around for that person to get their 2nd and 3rd chances to correct the problem.
Work Environment: Hot Topic is a fun place to work and has great people across the board extending from HQ down to all the stores. The only reason I didn't give a 5 is because I think that there is a lot of stress for management, especially if you take your job seriously and want your store to do well. Managers wear many hats- they are sales people, they are coaches, motivators, planners, merchandisers, stockers, cashiers, loss prevention and sometimes have to unclog toilets and dig through trash- all while trying to make it appear to customers that they're just hanging out having fun. It is a lot to juggle sometimes.
Hot Topic is a great company to work for. They treat their employees and customers like gold. It definitely is not for everyone and there is more to the job than what is on the surface. If you are a music snob or fashion elitist looking for a chill, relaxed job where you hang-out, socialize and act like a moron- this is not it. If you are not a goal oriented, motivated person who takes pride in their work- Hot Topic is not for you. However; if you have a passion for music and fashion and a willingness to accept all different kinds of people, music and styles and are looking for a place that will embrace your uniqueness and allow you to share your creativity this could be the place for you.