Best Practices in HR

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Aaron Carr
  December 3, 2018

The Top 17 Most Misleading Job Titles

You might think that all job titles are self-explanatory, but that would be an incorrect assumption. In fact, job titles are often misleading and many unknowing and eager applicants often find that the tasks they end up doing are far from what they thought.

For example, imagine applying for a key hanger position, thinking you’ll be … well … hanging keys, only to find that you’re interviewing for a retail management position instead. What about expert upsetter, thinking of it as a great chance to develop your skill of annoying people on Facebook but instead finding that you’d be working with white-hot metals.

To unearth some of the most misleading job titles and help you avoid jobs that aren’t up your alley, we scoured the web to identify the 17 top job titles that aren’t what they appear to be. Plus, we researched the average salary for each position so you can compare them to each other and to your current gig. Who knows — your next career could be as a bunghole borer.

Here is a look at some of the top jobs that aren’t what they appear.

1. Expert Upsetter

Expert Upsetter

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

You may consider yourself to be an expert upsetter based solely on your Facebook activity. However, an expert upsetter is actually someone who sets up and operate a closed-die forging machine. About 45,000 people in the United States and Canada are employed by the forging industry and metal forgers can expect to make an average of $11.76 per hour for a laborer position to $30.32 per hour for a process engineer role.

2. Bunghole Borer

Bunghole Borer

Photo by Marvin L on Unsplash

Traditionally, a bunghole is the hole that is bored in a wooden cask to release the whiskey or other contents. It follows that a bunghole borer is responsible for setting up and operating a boring machine to bore holes in wooden parts. The work involves examining design documents and choosing the appropriate tools. Beginner bunghole borers earn $30,814 per year on average while more experienced borers can expect an average salary of $49,738.

3. Evangelist


Photo by Daniele Riggi on Unsplash

These days, the term “evangelist” is slapped on all sorts of job titles, ranging from marketing and sales positions to human resource jobs. For example, a brand evangelist is someone who talks about your brand and product in the community and aids sales through word-of-mouth marketing. Likewise, a community evangelist is someone who advocates for a company or brand in order to build a product’s reputation and build brand loyalty. Depending on the type of evangelist position, expect to earn between $44,957 and $83,528 per year.

4. Smutter


Photo by Artur Nasyrov on Unsplash

While the job of smutter may sound dirty, it’s actually just the opposite. In fact, a smutter is responsible for tending the grain machines that clean things like dirt, smut and rust from grain after it is harvested and before it is milled. Also known as grain cleaners, smutters earn between $18,040 and $32,000 per year.

5. Chick Sexer

Chick Sexer

Photo by Designer VietNam on Unsplash

Also known as poultry sorting, chick sexing involves distinguishing the sex of chicken and other hatchlings immediately after they’re hatched. According to JobMonkey, the gig can pay up to $60,000 per year, but reports indicate it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified sexers. Just remember that the best chicken sexers boast 95 percent accuracy or better, so you’ll have to invest in training.

6. Key Hanger

Key Hanger

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Although seemingly misleading, the title of key holder describes the person who literally holds the key to a retail establishment. In practice, a key holder is a store manager, assistant manager or head of loss prevention who holds one of three keys to a store. The position requires a great deal of responsibility but only pays an average of $27,689 per year.

7. Penetration Tester

Penetration Tester

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

In the world of misleading job titles, this one takes the cake. In reality, penetration testing involves testing a computer system, network or web application to identify vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. Also known as ethical hacking, penetration testing can be a lucrative field with testers earning an average annual salary of up to $112,141.

8. Combat Advisor

Combat Advisor

Photo by Sean Do on Unsplash

Combat advisor may sound like a title that belongs to a top military official. Instead, it refers to a video game designer who specializes in creating virtual combat sequences. Based on data compiled by Indeed, video game designers only make $15.11 per hour on average. However, several current job listings for video game designers advertise compensation topping $100 per hour.

9. Erection Engineer

Erection Engineer

Photo by Katherine McCormack on Unsplash

An erection engineer oversees everything that goes into major erection projects like infrastructure, skyscrapers and more. Although often playing a behind-the-scenes role, erection engineers handle matters like budgetary concerns, time management, supply cycles and safety compliance. Being an erection engineer requires a broad range of responsibilities and engineers are well-compensated at between $32,877 and $74,927 per year, depending on the role.

10. Scrum Master

Scrum Master

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Dream of being a scrum master but don’t want to get dirty on the rugby pitch? Don’t despair, in the business context a scrum master facilitates team management structures by allowing groups to self-organize and stay agile. To do so, a scrum master takes the necessary steps to eliminate obstacles that make it more difficult for the team to operate. Although you won’t make a rugby player’s salary, you can still earn between $82,000 and $120,500 in the position.

11. Back-end Specialist

Back-End Specialist

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A back-end specialist can refer to one of many job positions in departments ranging from web design to marketing. In this case, a back-end specialist is responsible for planning and implementing sales, marketing and lead nurturing campaigns. While the front end of marketing deals with lead generation, back-end specialists help increase conversions. Also referred to as a database marketing specialist, back-end specialists earn an average of $42,153 per year.

12. Batman


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Disappointingly, this job title has nothing to do with fighting crime. Instead, a batman is a historical term for a personal aide to a commissioned officer — similar to a valet. While the term is no longer in use today, its modern equivalent is the personal assistant. Starting salaries for personal assistants average between $24,000 and $57,000 per year.

13. Specialty Artist

Specialty Artist

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Arguably, all artists have a specialty but, in this case, the “Specialty Artist” title belongs to makeup artists. Specifically, the position is available through Ulta and is limited to cosmetic artists with experience relating to M·A·C cosmetics. Other beauty stores offer similar positions under titles like beauty advisor and makeup artist and are paid between $15.19 and $20.27 per hour.

14. Digital Overlord

Digital Overlord

Photo by Clément H on Unsplash

In the world of outrageous job titles, “Digital Overlord” is accurate yet perhaps an overstatement of job responsibilities. In simple terms, businesses looking for a digital overlord are searching for a qualified website manager. If you’re lucky enough to snag this coveted title, expect an average salary of about $73,975 per year.

15. Records Distribution Professional

Records Distribution Professional

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

As with job titles like hygiene technician (janitor) or information advisor (librarian) that describe positions in extremely literal terms, “records distribution professional” is a fancy term for an office mail clerk. On average, mail clerks make $37,355 per year, with salaries varying based on the size of the organization and level of responsibility.

16. Comb Capper

Comb Capper

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

A comb capper might sound like someone who works at a salon or haberdashery. However, rather than hair combs and top hats, it relates to honeycombs. As part of the position, a comb capper cuts the caps from commercial honeycombs, breaks the comb seals with a scraper and lifts the honeycomb frames before placing them in the honey extractor. There are a variety of tools that make this process easier but, in general, beekeepers can earn anywhere from $10,400 to $72,000 per year handling bees and harvesting honey.

17. Tonsorial Artist

Tonsorial Artist

Photo by Jonathan Weiss on Unsplash

Luckily, being a tonsorial artist has nothing to do with those pesky tonsils. Instead, a tonsorial artist is simply a fancy name for a barber or hair stylist. The average annual salary for a tonsorial artist is $27,808, but this number can vary widely based on your market and tips, with some stylists making more than $47,000.

Where to Find Jobs Like These

If you’re looking for a new job and want to shock friends at dinner parties, you can find these positions and more online. While different companies refer to these jobs by different titles, you can search for them on a variety of job sites like Monster and ZipRecruiter. Plus, check out Glassdoor and Indeed for more information about salaries and how current employees feel about their positions.

The Bottom Line

Job titles can be everything from accurate and descriptive to brief and confusing. At first glance, other positions seem downright inappropriate. To save you from additional confusion during your job search, we scoured the web and compiled some of the most entertaining job titles that aren’t what they appear to be. Whether you’re looking for hourly work or a robust annual salary, we’ve got the wacky job title for you.