From Ohio — 08/08/2010
I have been a sales associate for Hot Topic for over 2 years and I can say that my experience thus far has been very favorable. I can't comment much on managerial treatment since I have never been an ASM or SM, so I won't go into detail about those positions.
Pay: The pay is probably the worst thing about this job. Was hired on for minimum wage, and only get one 25-cent raise per year of employment.
Respect: I have never felt disrespected by a coworker or higher-up. Respect is a virtue with this company, one that we pass on to our customers at all times (unless we get a REALLY crappy customer, but could you blame us then?).
Benefits: Employee discount is 40% off all merchandise and 20% off CDs, DVDs and electronics. This has been very helpful to me in saving money on clothes shopping. All employees also have the opportunity to have their ticket price for concerts reimbursed by the company, which is an INCREDIBLE perk, especially if you pay upwards of 30 bucks for a ticket. However, associates don't receive any healthcare benefits, like the managers do.
Job Security: If you are competent and do your job to the best of your potential, then there is no reason this company would have to let you go. In 2 years I have never seen someone fired unjustly from my store.
Work/Life Balance: If you are an associate, you don't have to worry about this job cutting into your social life. Beginning hours are between 5-15/week; after 2 years with the company I work between 20-25 hrs/week.
Career/Growth: I have been told I'm next in line for the keyholder position in my company after 2 years. I've heard through the grapevine that if you possess the skills and the motivation, it's not hard to be promoted to ASM or even SM, but beyond that is much more difficult.
Location: I believe almost all Hot Topic stores are located in malls, making them a very convenient place to travel to seeing as malls are everywhere. My drive to work is about 15 minutes.
Co-Worker Competence: This is something I have been pleasantly surprised by in my time with the company. If you are hired on and then exhibit some of the following behavior - stand around not doing anything, stand and talk to another employee all day, ignore directions, don't interact with customers, are disrespectful to customers and coworkers - you will NOT stay long. Period. The managers in my region are very good at weeding out crappy employees and they never stay more than a couple of months.
Work Environment: The single best part of working for this company. Hot Topic has an extremely laid back atmosphere and shockingly, the majority of customers I've had have been not only tolerable, but very friendly people whom I can have a real conversation with. Obviously, HT is one of the only major clothing retailers where employees are allowed to have visible piercings and tattoos, wacky hairstyles, and are allowed to wear virtually anything, provided it's not offensive. This has been a major perk of working here, as I have a tattoo on my arm that can't be easily hidden without wearing long sleeves. The coworkers are generally very cool; as I mentioned before, employees with attitudes don't stay long in my region.
If you're looking for a part-time job in retail that isn't challenging, boring, exhausting, or drama-filled, I highly recommend Hot Topic. If you are looking for a job that pays well and provides many hours, look elsewhere.