CSI’s Accounting and Business Innovation clubs recently came together to hold an event titled “Meet an IRS Agent.” This event, the third of its kind, combined two seemingly unrelated issues in today’s business world: job interviews and IRS interrogations.
On paper, it would seem that these issues were unrelated but Joe Petrucelli, accounting adjunct at CSI and head of both clubs, thinks otherwise. “In both circumstances, how you answer is just as important as what you answer,” he said. “Either way,” he continued, “the interrogator is attempting to get as much information from you as possible.”
The event was broken up into two sections–first, the students learned about what type of questions they might be asked during a job interview. They discussed how one should dress as well as body language. The students also had their resumes workshopped by accounting professionals. Petrucelli then had the students enact mock interviews to better prepare for their lives outside of CSI. Petrucelli calls this the “inside-out approach.” He explained that during class, students are forced to sit and receive information from the outside-in. During these seminars however, “the focus is on the student, not the professor.”
After the students learned about interviewing for a job, the event got really interesting. In full character (read: gun and handcuffs), Special Agent Rob Glantz of the IRS entered and began to administer interrogations to the students. “Interviews are very important to what an agent does,” Special Agent Glantz said. “Even more important, is how you react to questioning.”
Special Agent Glantz discussed what would happen to an individual if he or she did not file a tax return. He showed a clip from the film, Goodfellas where the men paraded their newfound wealth by wearing fur coats and driving expensive cars. He explained that while this was an extreme case, this is how the IRS discovers tax fraud in which they send agents such as him to investigate. He also warned the students about social networking sites such as Facebook and how both employers and law enforcement will check your profile to find any incriminating photos that may cost you a job, or worse.
The event offers a “different perspective to the student,” said Petrucelli. They have a chance to experience real-world scenarios by meeting agents and performing the mock interrogations. “The students leave the event better prepared for the real world.” It is also a great opportunity for the IRS to perform community outreach with Staten Islanders. Glantz uses the event to teach the students not only how to perform during interviews/interrogations, but which mistakes to avoid when filing taxes. He also introduces them to the world of the IRS and gives the students an opportunity to pursue a career with the IRS should they choose to.
Overall, the event was an opportunity for the students to be completely immersed in the worlds of accounting and business and learn first-hand, from those who live the experience, what a day in the life of an IRS agent is like. Or, as Joe Petrucelli puts it, tongue-in-cheek, “come meet the IRS agent before he comes to you.”