Employment at Hot Topic
Hot Topic is an American chain of shops specialized in clothing and accessories, as well as licensed music. The company was founded in 1988, and is headquartered in Industry, California. Aside from Hot Topic stores, the company operates two additional brands, Torrid and Blackheart. Hot Topic stores are located in malls throughout the country, but the products are also sold online. Hot Topic sells what it is called culture-licensed products. Oftentimes, the company has exclusive licensing arrangements with artists and movie studios. 40% of the stores’ revenue comes from sales of band T-shirts. The focus of Hot Topic is on young generations, those who are in tune with the latest artists and movies. As a result, the clothes and accessories have a young and fresh look, and usually display most of the trending artists, such as hip-hop artists. The company also focuses on children, and offers licensed merchandise from Disney, DC Comics, Nintendo, and Harry Potter. Recently, Hot Topic began to offer products from Doctor Who, Resident Evil, Adventure Time, and My Little Pony, to keep up with the customers’ interests. The Torrid brand offers clothing for plus-size women, a trend more and more present in all major fashion retailers. The Blackheart brand offers dresses, accessories, lingerie, and accessories, and focuses on products from bands such as Pantera and Grateful Dead.
Aside from licensed band T-shirts, Hot Topic stores offer jeans, hoodies, hats, belts, bags, jewelry, sunglasses, and even beauty products for young women and men. The stores also offer CDs, DVDs, and even vinyl LPs, not just from the latest artists, but also from those considered classics of popular culture.
There are over 600 Hot Topic stores in all the 50 American states, but also in Puerto Rico and Canada. The stores are owned and operated by the company, so this is not a franchise. However, the company is constantly evolving and opening new stores. There are over 2,000 Hot Topic employees, and their number is expected to keep on growing.
Hot Topic Application Process
The Hot Topic application process allows candidates to either apply online or to go directly to the store and fill the Hot Topic jobs and employment form on the spot. The latter version is only possible for those who want a Hot Topic career in retail. Those who want to pursue different Hot Topic careers, such as corporate or distribution, are advised to apply online. The Hot Topic application process also allows candidates to download the jobs and employment form and fill it at home. Whichever option candidates choose,- those who are interested in working at Hot Topic need to first find the Hot Topic available positions.
To view and search through all the Hot Topic available positions, a candidate can either go to the company’s official site, www.hottopic.com, or he/she can go directly on the official recruitment page – Hot Topic Careers. Once here, the candidate can browse all the available Hot Topic jobs. On the hot Topic careers page, candidates will find a red link called “Career Opportunities”. By clicking the link, the candidate will be redirected to the Hot Topic application system.
On this page, the candidate can search thorough all the job openings. The first step is to select the language, country, the area of the job, and the hot Topic brand they are interested in, in this case Hot Topic. The Hot Topic application system also requires the candidate to choose a maximum of five states and the cities they are interested in. After choosing them, the candidate needs to click the “Search” button to see all the available Hot Topic careers.
After this first step, the candidate is asked to voluntarily disclose the race. Of course, this is not mandatory. Next, the candidate needs to specify where he or she heard about this job opportunity. Now, the candidate is required to specify the work and shift availability. Those interested in store Hot Topic careers need to be flexible when providing this information in order to increase their chances of being selected for an interview.
The next part of the Hot Topic online application process requires the candidate to answer several questions. Most of them require free answers. This means that the candidate really needs to think things through. Also, the Hot Topic application process does not allow the candidate to go back to the previous section, so any answer given is a definitive one. Here are the questions:
- Do you have any previous commitments that will limit your work availability over the next 6 months? If yes, please give details.
- If hired, how long do you expect to work here?
- What three characteristics do you think set you apart from other applicants?
- Why did you choose to apply at Hot Topic?
- What does assisting a customer mean to you?
- What inspires your personal fashion?
- To help serve our customers, what other languages do you speak?
None of these questions are mandatory, but the candidate should, nonetheless, consider answering them in order to increase the chances of being selected. The next step is to complete the Hot Topic jobs and employment form. During this step, the candidate will be required to write the personal information all over again, and also answer some questions, like:
- Do you have the legal right to work and be employed in the United States?
- How did you learn of this opening?
- If you are under 18, please state your age.
- Have you previously been employed by Hot Topic, Torrid, or Blackheart?
- Do you have any relative working for Hot Topic, Torrid, or Blackheart?
- What State do you live in?
- Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony within the last 7 years?
- Have you ever been discharged or asked to resign from a position?
- Do you have any obligations that would prevent you from traveling?
- Do you have any obligations that would prevent you from working overtime?
- Are you open to relocating?
The next step in the Hot Topic application process is to provide information about any previous work experience and education. There is no space to give many details about the previous jobs, and the candidate needs to be brief. After providing the required information, the candidate needs to answer, again, some questions, like:
- What additional skills, training, or experience do you bring to the company?
- What does Customer Service mean to you?
After giving the required answers, the Hot Topic application process is complete. The Hot Topic online application system does not allow candidates to attach any resumes, cover letters, or any other documents, so the candidate needs to provide all the required information, but also to answer the optional questions in order to increase his or her chances of being selected for an interview.
Minimum Age for Employment at Hot Topic
The minimum age at which someone can start working at Hot Topic is 16, as it says in the Hot Topic application form and on the Hot Topic website. Of course, some Hot Topic jobs require employees to be at least 18 years of age, mainly because being considered for some Hot Topic careers requires some prior work experience. However, entry level Hot Topic careers can be obtained by younger candidates.
Hot Topic Hours of Operations
Hot Topic hours of operations vary from one location to another, but there are no major differences between stores. Typically, a Hot Topic store opens at 10 in the morning and closes at 9 in the evening during the workweek; Saturdays and Sundays, the stores have a slightly different schedule. On Saturday, they open at 10 in the morning and close at 9 at night, just like on a normal workday, while on Sundays the stores open at noon and close at 6 in the evening. Hot Topic stores also observe some holidays, usually Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Entry Level Hot Topic Careers and Income
Hot Topic careers are divided into three major departments: stores, distribution, and corporate. Corporate Hot Topic careers cover a lot of fields of activity, from Finance, to Design, to Administrative positions. Store Hot Topic jobs are more frequent, and Hot Topic available positions can be filled by people of different backgrounds and education.
Some of the most frequent store Hot Topic jobs careers are Sales Associate, Cashier, Assistant Manager, and Store Manager. Corporate Hot Topic careers include Internet Marketing Associate, Business Analyst, Help Desk Associate, Project Manager, and Technical Designer. Entry level Hot Topic careers are most popular among teenagers and young people, and are relatively easy to start. They offer flexible schedules and an upbeat work environment.
Hot Topic Sales Associate Job Description and Duties
This is one of the entry level Hot Topic jobs. Hot Topic Sales Associates work in different areas of the store and interact with customers on a permanent basis. They offer assistance to all customers on the sales floor, and are responsible with meeting all the customers’ requests in compliance with the company’s procedures. The responsibilities of a Hot Topic Part-Time Sales Associate are:
- To offer great shopping experience to customers as to encourage their return;
- To cover all the store areas assigned;
- To interact with customers in a positive and proactive way;
- To prevent any losses in the assigned store areas;
- To perform cash register functions without errors;
- To comply with the store’s visual standards;
- To assist with the organization of the backroom;
- To adhere to all company policies and procedures, and all safety standards;
- To understand and comply with the company’s procedures and policies;
- To perform all other duties as assigned.
There are no special requirements when it comes to education and previous work experience, although some retail or customer service experience is preferred and can influence the hourly salary. But there are some physical requirements a candidate must be able to perform:
- To stand on their feet during the shifts;
- To be able to pack and unpack the merchandise, which can at time mean to handle various weights;
- To be able to use the store’s equipment.
Hot Topic Sales Associate Salary and Compensation
This entry level Hot Topic job is paid on an hourly basis. The minimum hourly pay for a Hot Topic Sales associate begins at $7, and can go up to $10, depending on location and, most importantly, work experience. Of course, the weekly pay varies according to the number of hours worked, and this position allows Hot Topic employees to increase their income by working more hours whenever possible, especially during the busy seasons.
Hot Topic Careers in Management
Hot Topic also needs experienced employees to run the stores, so people with sales, retail, and customer service backgrounds will find many management Hot Topic employment opportunities. Management Hot Topic careers include Assistant Manager and Store Manager. Usually, the company recruits for these positions from its own employees. They prefer to do so because they are already trained and know all the specifics of the operations. All Hot Topic employees can substantially grow professionally within the company. But Hot Topic is also looking for outside candidates to fill these available positions, especially those with sales, retail, and customer service experience.
Hot Topic Assistant Manager Job Description and Duties
A Hot Topic Assistant Manager supports the Store Manager in all the daily activities of the store. Hot Topic Assistant Managers are responsible with insuring a great shopping experience for all customers, thus leading to repeat customers and increased sales. They also have other duties, such as:
- They are responsible with creating the schedules in such way that the store is always completely covered.
- They are responsible with recruiting and hiring of new Hot Topic employees, and also with retaining the good ones.
- They are responsible with the coaching and training of the team.
- They are responsible with achieving the store’s selling plans.
- They are responsible with training the team on LP policies.
- They are responsible with the management of the payroll daily.
- They are required to make their contribution in merchandising and visual displays by presenting creative ideas.
- They are required to make sure that all floor operations are completed in a timely manner.
- They are in charge of supervising the daily operations of the store.
Hot Topic Assistant Manager Salary and Compensation
The yearly salary of a Hot Topic Assistant Store Manager begins at $21,000, and can go as high as $37,000. It can vary due to location and work experience. Since these are retail Hot Topic jobs, other compensations are included into the base salary, such as cash bonuses and commission sharing. This makes the total compensation surpass $35,000 per year, and sometimes go even higher. However, the average pay for an assistant manager is around $27,000.
Basic Tips for Applying at Hot Topic
The easiest way to apply for all Hot Topic jobs is to do it online. Of course, candidates can also do it in person, by downloading the Hot Topic jobs and employment form and then submitting it to the store, but this is the easiest and less time consuming way. There another benefit for applying online to hot Topic jobs.
Candidates can verify their Hot Topic application status by logging into their Hot Topic candidate account. Candidates should know that it is very important to go through the entire Hot Topic online application process and finish it for their application to be considered. It is not a long process and candidates need to answer some questions, but they are not very complex and most of them require yes or no answers. Candidates should also consider answering the optional questions, those which require more complex answers. It is a good way of improving their chances of being selected for an interview.
Another important thing to do is to provide some professional references that could support their Hot Topic online application. The basic rules of applying for Hot Topic jobs are similar to other online application processes, and they are easy to follow:
- Candidates need to complete all the steps required by the Hot Topic application system and give all the information they are required in the Hot Topic application online form. Failing to do so will prevent them from advancing to the next steps.
- Candidates need to provide the real information during all the steps, and make sure their phone number is spelled correctly. The same rules apply for the phone numbers of the persons listed as professional references.
- Candidates should answer all the questions, including the optional ones.
- If candidates cannot complete the entire Hot Topic job application process in one sitting, they do not have the option to save the steps they have already completed and continue with them at another time. This means that candidates should only begin the Hot Topic application process if they are sure they can complete it in one sitting.
- Since the system does not allow candidates to go back to the previous steps and correct any mistakes, they need to be careful and always check their answers before moving on to the next step.
This is not a complex process, but it requires some time to complete it, usually not more than half an hour, especially if candidates also answer the optional questions.
If candidates answer all the questions and provide all the required and optional information, including the daily work availability, which should be as flexible as possible, the Hot Topic hiring manager will be able to make a correct assessment of their Hot Topic application, and this will increase their chances of being selected for an interview for their desired Hot Topic job.
Benefits at Hot Topic
The benefits mentioned more often by those working at Hot Topic are the store discounts for all Hot Topic employees. The company offers discounts of 40% for Hot Topic products, and employees can also benefit from this substantial discount even on sale merchandise. Another important benefit for Hot Topic employees is the flexible schedule for part-time employees, which can fit all needs. All Hot Topic employees also benefit from a quality dress code provided by the company.
The company also offers paid vacation time for all its employees, and the exact amount may vary from one position to another and is influenced also by the number of years working for the company. Those working full-time positions have two weeks of paid vacation every year, which can increase over time.
Hot Topic employees also have other benefits, such as medical and life insurance and 401ks. Also, store Hot Topic employees can benefit from other cash bonuses and commission sharing programs which can increase the total compensation. The company also offers extensive training for all its employees and tuition assistance for those who want to continue their education.
Hot Topic Interview Tips & Hiring Process Information
Hot Topic job interviews are no different to those of other fashion retailers, but they are usually focused on the candidate’s knowledge of popular culture. Everything begins with the Hot Topic job application, which will be reviewed by a Hot Topic hiring manager, whether the candidate has submitted the Hot Topic application online or submitted the jobs and employment form at the store.
If the Hot Topic hiring manager considers the candidate fulfills the requirements of the position, they will call to schedule an in person interview. The process can take from a few days to two or three weeks, depending on how urgent the store needs to fill that position, and depending on the number of candidates.
Interviews for store Hot Topic careers are casual and last around half an hour, sometimes even less. For some Hot Topic careers, more than one interview might be required, but this is the case for management and corporate Hot Topic careers. During the interview, the candidate will be asked about their knowledge on popular culture, to give more details about their prior work experience, and about their education. The hiring manager will also let the candidate know what will the responsibilities and duties of the job be, and also talk about the schedule. During the interview, the candidate may also ask some questions about the job he applied for.
Store Hot Topic careers are focused on a constant customer interaction, so the candidate needs to show a positive attitude. Here are some Hot Topic interview tips to be considered:
- Candidates may dress in casual attire. Women should be careful not to wear anything inappropriate, like too short dresses or to revealing cleavages. The makeup should also be light. Men can dress in a nice shirt and casual pants.
- Candidates should have a friendly attitude and smile as often as possible.
- Candidates should be calm and in control. Fidgeting should also be avoided.
- Candidates should speak with a calm and friendly voice.
- Candidates need to make eye contact with the Hot Topic hiring manager from the beginning of the interview.
- Candidates should never interrupt the Hot Topic hiring manager when speaking.
- Candidates should give detailed answers and yes and no answers should be as rare as possible.
Frequently Asked Hot Topic Interview Questions
A Hot Topic interview is usually simple and casual, especially for entry-level Hot Topic careers. Most of the questions asked are about the candidate’s previous work experience, the way he or she believes will handle certain specific work situations, and about the popular culture knowledge. Some of the most common questions during a Hot Topic job interview are:
- Why do you want to work at Hot Topic?
- What would you do if you saw a customer or coworker stealing?
- What was one mistake you made at your previous job? What did you learn from it?
- Who is your favorite pop culture icon we sell?
- What was the latest concert you went to?
Candidates should expect other question as well, some of them being a bit challenging to answer, like: “If you are planned to work and did not request a certain day off, and your favorite band was in town for a concert that day would you work or go to the concert?” When it comes to Hot Topic interview answers, candidates should refrain from clichés. Candidates should answer honestly and as to the point as they can.
This concludes our guide for Hot Topic careers. As you can see, the hiring process is quite simple. As long as you complete your Hot Topic Application with care you have no reasons to worry. However, if you aren’t called for an interview after three to four weeks you should consider submitting your Hot Topic Application again. Look over it again and complete specific details that match the job’s description. Good luck!
Official site: www.hottopic.com
Official career site: Hot Topic Careers