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John Hancock Financial Services Interview

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

Among the common issues that are faced by Data Analysts in their work, which one or two problems do you feel really challenge analysts in the financial industry?

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John Hancock Financial Services Interview Questions


  1. Among the common issues that are faced by Data Analysts in their work, which one or two problems do you feel really challenge analysts in the financial industry?
    • While the challenges faced by general data analysts makes for a pretty long generalized list, this question is allowing your interviewer the chance to see your critical thinking skills by having you talk about which challenges you feel will be critical in the financial field. While there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer in this question, make sure that you are able to speak intelligently about your answer and provide ways with how you can meet the challenges in your work with John Hancock Financial Services.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From my two years of experience as a Data Analyst in the financial industry, of course the common issues of overlapping data and duplicate entries did come up. But I've found the biggest issue to be the collection and implementation of real-time data to be the biggest hurdle. With markets continually changing on a daily basis, I've had to be diligent about updating reports for my advisors that I work closely with because what may be valid and real one day may be out of date the next."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having some very close contacts that are already working in the financial field in data analysis, I understand that manual data tracking can be a pain point due solely to the time needed to complete. Being highly educated in automated processes and utilizing machine learning in other industries, I think the knowledge I could bring to the team here at John Hancock Financial Services would really help advance your data analysis practices within my first six months on the job."


  1. How many boxes of macaroni n' cheese were eaten in the United States last year?
    • er Questions like this during your interview are meant to test your ability to deduce an answer from a very limited set of information and assumptions. You and your interviewer both know that it would be impossible for you to know or even calculate the correct answer, so your interviewer is solely looking for the factors that you use in extrapolating the answer that you give. In your answer, be as detailed as possible in why you are making the assumptions that you are when coming to a final answer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In knowing that the population in the United States is around 325 million people, my biggest factors in determining my answer will be that children between the ages of two and ten consume 75% of the mac n' cheese each year and that the other 25% is consumed by ages ten and above. The other factor is that the kids eat one box per week and the ages over ten eat two per month. So, I'll determine that there are 80 millions children between two and ten and figure that they'll eat 4.2 billion boxes. Then I'll determine that there ere 240 million people over ten that eat two per month to get 5.7 billion boxes of mac n' cheese. When added together, I'd say the final answer is right around 10 billion boxes of man n' cheese are eaten in the US each year."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My estimate of this number would factor in the total US population over three years old, the people that eat macaroni n' cheese to be around 280 million people. Then, I'd factor that in the summer, each person eats one box per week and in other seasons they eat one per month. During the summer, the population would consume 3.4 billion boxes and during the other three seasons, they would consume 2.5 billion between all people. This would add up to right around 6 billion boxes eaten in the United States last year."


  1. If hired for this position at John Hancock Financial Services, what factors would you consider part as part of an organization's long-term liability?
    • To begin for this question, make sure that you can define a long-term liability as obligations that are due beyond one year and into the future. Then, consider major factors like bonds, mortgages, leases and other items that factor in to an organization's long-term liability. Last, try to explain why the measurement of long-term liabilities are important is an important factor in considering the overall financial health of an organiation.

      Ryan's Answer

      "While long-term liabilities aren't an immediate issue on a companies working capital, the can become an issue if long-term liabilities pile up too high for some organizations. While often overlooked, items like mortgages, fleet vehicle loans and annuities can add up over time and are always items that I consider when looking at the overall health of an organization."


  1. Our auditing process here at John Hancock Financial Services is very detailed. Can you walk me through your typical audit workflow in your current role?
    • For this question, your interviewer will be looking to gain insight into a couple different areas that you would bring to their team. First, they'll be looking to see that you have a firm grasp of what a solid auditing process looks like. Next, they'll be looking to see that you have the ability to communicate in a manner that is effective with the people that you'll be working closely with. Last, they'll be looking to hear that you have the critical thinking skills that are necessary to succeed in an auditing role in the financial field. As you answer this question, try to check off all three boxes for your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "To aid in auditing processes, I created a very detailed audit planning document that my department has been using for the past four years and it has had a dramatic impact on our audit results. The planning document provides a step by step approach to outlining our objectives, clearly outlining documentation needed in identifying the stakeholders and setting a plan for meetings to take place. In this role with John Hancock Financial Services, I would look to use a similar approach. With the plan in place, I work side by side with the stakeholders in explaining the audit and what is needed from each person. I do communicate in many methods, including email, phone and in-person meetings when possible. My goal is ensuring that each individual understands the process and the end goal as clearly as they can."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As a firm believer in a solid auditing software package, I currently utilize Onspring in my current role and couldn't be happier with its performance. This program details our ability to gather all financial documents in one central repository, walk through the steps necessary and planned for in our auditing process schedule necessary meetings, coordinate notes from my audit team and process final reports. If hired for this position at John Hancock Financial Services, do you have a software package that I would be working off of?"


  1. At John Hancock Financial Services, our clients are the lifeblood of our business and we do everything in our power to make them happy. What does the term customer service mean to you in your work?
    • No matter what position you are interviewing for at John Hancock Financial Services, your interviewer is looking to hear what customer service means to you in your work and how you apply that philosophy in your everyday work life. In essence, they want to hear your story as to why solid customer service is important to you. Prior to your interviewer, be sure to really think about this question to apply what is important to you in how you go about your work. Whether you talk about problem solving or making people happy, this should be reflected in the work that you do.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "A pursuit of a career in the financial field really suited my two passions in life of mathematics and problem solving. In this role, helping clients solve problems in an efficient manner and with a smile on my face would be the drive to succeed that I need. At the end of the day, if I see that my work helped a client grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals, I know that it was a job well done."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As a people person by nature, I have an innate ability to do what is needed to give customers the best experience possible when I'm working with them. This means that I reflectively listen to their needs and concerns and do what is necessary to help them based on what I heard. In my interactions with customers, I am positive, pleasant and nurturing by nature and I've found that customers are very receptive to my style off communication with them. If hired for this role at John Hancock Financial Services, you'll quickly find that dedicated customer service is one of top qualities that I will bring to you team."


  1. To get a sense of how you will handle internal auditing processes here at John Hancock Financial Services, what do you feel are important tasks to do once an audit is finished?
    • You and your interviewer both know that the work isn't completed the moment that an audit has been completed and for this question, your interviewer is looking to hear what items you feel are a top priority in ensuring that the audit has a long-lasting impact. As you answer this question, be sure to discuss any unique tasks that you feel are a priority and value that you can bring to the team at John Hancock Financial Services by talking about how they've been useful to others you've worked with in the past.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "The end goal of any audit is improvement and my role as the Auditor is to help bring as much value to the improvement as possible and this begins with my work following an audit. First and foremost, my top goal at the end of an audit is to deliver the results in a clear and quick manner and meet with all stakeholders to discuss my results. Having many years of experience as an Auditor, the one value I can add to John Hancock Financial Services is my ability to help your leaders put action into place to improve. As you'll see from my letters of recommendation, many high level leaders I have worked with in the past have really appreciated my ability to do this."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my work, my most important task following an audit is to help the key stakeholders understand what needs to be improved and how to improve it. I do this through a thorough reporting process to them. Managers like visual aids and I am able to provide them. They also like to hear suggestions on how to improve and my time in the auditing field brings with me a lot of process improvement knowledge that can help your leadership staff here at John Hancock Financial Services."


  1. Give an example of a time that you had to resolve a difficult situation with a client or customer. What were the keys to coming to a successful solution?
    • In a front facing role with John Hancock Financial Services where you will be interacting with clients on a daily basis, your interviewer wants to be ensured that you have the skills to resolve client issues with ease and they'll look to do so with this question. In your answer, let your interviewer know that you can take ownership of any situation by talking about a specific time where you did what was necessary to alleviate a difficult situation with a client. Talk about the resources that you used and your interpersonal skills that helped turn a potentially bad situation into a successful one.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having worked in customer service for one of the areas largest auto dealership for the last six years, handling difficult customers was a situation I had to learn to handle pretty quickly. Just a few weeks ago, I was covering our front desk on a Saturday afternoon when our sales staff was still open for business. I recognized the person approaching the door as a customer that had recently purchased a new vehicle. He stormed through the door, placed his keys on the counter in front of me and said that he demanded a refund on his new purchase because the check engine light had already come on inside of the car. Knowing off the top of my head that his new vehicle was under a full warranty, I calmly let him know that his car was under warranty and that I'd have a member of our sales staff come out and take a quick look. I also let him know that our service department was not working that afternoon and, if needed, we could schedule him for a diagnostic test at his earliest convenience. After our salesman went out to take a quick look and not seeing anything obvious, we ended up giving him a loaner vehicle so his new car could be taken care of on Monday morning. He ended up leaving pretty happy that day and I know that my patience in hearing him out really helped."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "A couple of years ago, I was asked to work with a very high profile client for his financial advising services when he came to our firm because my CEO trusted I could handle what he felt would be a difficult task. From my first meeting with the client, he demanded that we provide more returns than the previous firm that he worked with and he was rather rude with our front desk staff. I took the approach of taking the time to listen to his needs and speak to him more about what my firm could provide. I laid out my experience and track record for him to help him build his trust in me. I knew that with him, I would need to take time to walk through my decision making processes for his investments and he really appreciated that. As of today, we are still working strong together and his wealth is growing."


  1. How can John Hancock Financial Services motivate you on the job?
    • Every employer should know how each of their employees is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard, and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am a natural salesperson, so the best way to motivate me is through performance incentives. In my current position, I have been in the president's club for the past three consecutive years. I am highly motivated by the vacation that I am awarded annually."


  1. How would you define what working capital is for a company and what does its measurement mean?
    • As a Financial Analyst with John Hancock Financial Services, you will be asked to help measure working capital of organizations. In your definition that you provide to your interviewer, ensure that you give them at least the basic definition of the calculation being current assets minus current liabilities. Then, talk about real situations that you've used the measurement to make critical decisions in the work that you've done in the past. This will confirm with your interviewer that you have the ability to use the measurement in this job.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, we measure working capital to gauge the ability of a company to pay off its debts quickly. In working with many industries, from retails to the public sector, the determination of a company's ability to do so based on calculation can differ greatly from industry to industry. To calculate, a range of line items from the company are used to take their current assets minus their current liabilities. In the retail industry, seasonal spikes in business create the need for a much higher working capital and if hired for this role, I have a great understanding of each industries specific needs."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In a very broad sense, working capital is found by subtracting an organization's current liabilities from their current assets. In my current role, I utilize a more focused calculation of adding accounts receivable plus inventory and then subtracting accounts payable. The more focused calculation give a better idea of total working capital for organizations when trying to get a better overall picture of their health and efficiency when projecting out towards the future."


  1. We are looking for the most motivated individuals to join the team here at John Hancock Financial Services. Where you would you like your career to take you in the next five to ten years?
    • This common interview question put you in a tough spot where you should talk about your ultimate career goals while also balancing the needs of the position that you are interviewing for and the needs of John Hancock Financial Services. Prior to your interviewer, try to research the job and John Hancock Financial Services to the point where you can match your career goals with they John Hancock Financial Services offers. While your interviewer is looking for a long-term fit for the position they are interviewing you for, it is okay to set your sights higher as long as your goals meet that of the organization's goals. If at all possible during your answer, point out that long-term success with John Hancock Financial Services is vitally important to you.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Now that I am to the midway point of my career, I am looking for my next move to be my final move in finding my work home until I retire. As a successful Financial Advisor today, I want to focus on continuing to grow my skills in advising clients on retirement and private wealth management and it sounds like I'll have that opportunity here at John Hancock Financial Services. As I continue to grow in my skills and prove my worth to you, a long-term career goal is to be in management where I could oversee the work of Junior Advisors and mentor them towards success."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "A career in risk analysis has been a dream for some time and this opportunity with John Hancock Financial Services is really my dream job. If hired here, my goal for the next five to ten years would be to continue to hone my skills and help the work of the department to a point where it is growing and becoming more effective. Down the road, I'm really in a position to be an open book when it comes to where my career with John Hancock Financial Services would go from there."


  1. What software analysis and design tools do you have familiarity working with?
    • As a software engineer for John Hancock Financial Services, your interviewer wants to hear that you have experience in utilizing tools that you make you more proficient in your work. Dig back on your past experiences and talk openly about your experiences with the different analysis and design tools that are available to help you be better in the work that you do. In the end, make sure that your interviewer understands that you are proficient in the use of these tools and open to learning and using new tools as well.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As my career and experience in software engineering has grown over the years, I've come to really appreciate and utilize these tools that are available. A great example of this would be my recent education and use of Structured English for designing insurance claim software for a large auto insurer. The simplicity of the structured decisions in the program were a perfect example of a program that could utilize the tool and the end product ended up very functional for our customer."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have great working knowledge in creating and reading data flow diagrams. To help with both our own sales staff and with customers, DFD's have been super helpful and I consider myself very proficient in creating them. I've also recently been introduced to decision tables to aid in product testing. I was working on a new system that involved some very complicated business rules and the decision table helped outline everything perfectly for our testing."


  1. At John Hancock Financial Services, we are building a massive machine learning program and your role as a Data Scientist will be an integral part of that project. What experiences will you bring to that side of this job?
    • In the financial services field, machine learning is being used to automate processes, provide information security, create algorithms for trading and to assist in credit scoring. John Hancock Financial Services is looking to stay at the forefront of their field and this role as a Data Scientist will play a huge part in making this a reality. Talk about any experience that you have in working with data to create a robust machine learning tool. What was your role in the project and what can you bring to the team at John Hancock Financial Services?

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Over the course of the last two years, I've been working on a machine learning tool that monitors online pricing from thousands of different retailers. The tool analyzes thousands of data sources simultaneously and pulls the information into a real time database. My job was in the build of the program and the database while working with other colleagues that built out the sourcing for the websites we would pull data from. I think this experience would fit nicely with your team looking to extract real time market data and trading data on a minute to minute basis."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "May experience in AI and machine learning as a Data Scientist has been in paperwork automation and cybersecurity. I recently helped my organization tweak our system to isolate cyber threats and the new tweaks are working perfectly. As well, I've helped my organization save thousands of labor hours by creating a program to review contract information from vendors. If hired for this role here at John Hancock Financial Services, know that I remain open to learning new techniques in machine learning to help your organization grow and prosper into the future."


  1. Talk to me about a challenging situation you had to handle on the job that involved another colleague. How did you handle that situation?
    • At the heart of this question, your interviewer is looking to hear how you use solid interpersonal and relationship building skills to diffuse a difficult situation with a coworker when on the job. No matter what situation that you talk about, make sure to focus your answer on a positive mindset and the steps that you walked through to turn a potentially hazardous situation into a good one. As well, talk about lessons learned from that situation that you keep with you to this day on the job.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "A couple of years ago, we had hired a new Junior Advisor on to our team and I was tasked with being his mentor. Having mentored several other thriving Junior Advisors prior to him starting, I was excited for the opportunity. Within the first week of him being on the job, I overheard a colleague of mine talking very openly about his disdain for the hire of this new Advisor and witnessing him personally criticizing him in a face-to-face encounter. Immediately, I spoke to my colleague in a private office about my concern over his actions and words towards the new Advisor. Having been a part of the interview process and his early mentorship, I knew that he had the skills to succeed and I reiterated that to my colleague. After agreeing to back off on any private criticizing of the new Advisor and a promise to help mentor him, I learned that direct conversations are the best way to handle workplace conflicts."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "f"A couple of years ago, I approached a colleague that had missed a deadline or a big audit we were conducting and she completely blew up at my during our conversation. At first, I was very taken aback by her response because I had never witnessed that from her in many years of working together. While remaining calm, I allowed her the opportunity to vent to me and it turns out that she was going through a lot of things in her personal life that were impacting her work. While keeping our project deadlines in mind, I also took a personal approach in letting her know that she could bring these issues to me as both a colleague and a friend and we could work through them together in the future. This approach is vital to any conflicts that can arise with colleagues and one I don't hesitate to take when needed."


  1. What do you feel is one of the top issues that is faced by data engineers today?
    • Being in the midst of the greatest technological revolution in the history of man, data engineers face many difficult issues in the work that they perform on a daily basis. While there are many directions that you can go with this question, be sure to focus your answer on something that you can speak passionately about. If you can research a common issue in the industry that John Hancock Financial Services works in, you may likely score some bonus points with your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Over the past couple of years, I've come to realize that one of the largest issues we face as data engineers is the large amounts of data that are needed to store and then draw information from. Here at John Hancock Financial Services, I can only imagine how big of an issue that is in the healthcare industry. I have a lot of experience with cloud based data storage and also server based storage."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my recent experiences, continuous, real-time integration is an issue that we will face each and every day moving forward. The need for fast paced information is certainly to blame for this. To stay on top of the continuous integration landscape, I am happy to hear that new and improved systems are being created to stay more real-time and up to the minute. Here at John Hancock Financial Services and working in the financial industry, how have you seen this need for real-time data impact your products?"


  1. Give me an example of a time that you had to solve a problem without having all of the necessary information at hand to do so. How did you handle that situation?
    • For this question, your interviewer is looking to test your ability to be analytical and resourceful in a specific situation where you had to dig further to solve a problem. Prior to your interview, try to think of a time in the past where you encountered this specific situation and talk through it by laying out the problem and walking through the step-by-step approach you took to solve the problem. Try to be as detailed you can as you explain how you thought the problem out and worked hard to use the resources you could to help solve the problem. Your interviewer will be relying on these fine details to truly see how you will perform on the job with John Hancock Financial Services.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Back when I first joined my current organization, I was taking a role that had been vacant for many months and I had to start with a backlog of work along with the regular daily activities. This customer service role included logging daily visitors and calls and the interim rep only kept brief notes. After taking the time to walk through training and getting running on my own, I realized that the current workload wouldn't allow me to catch up on the backlog of work that had been missed. While I had ideas of how to play catch up on the work, I approached my supervisor with a few ideas and we settled on having me log hours from home on our system as overtime to get caught up. I worked with our IT staff on getting set up on our network from home and was more that willing to help out with some extra hours."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Working for a large financial institution, our advisory staff help cover for each other when we are on vacation, sick or simply out of office for the day. We typically team up in group of three to help provide coverage for each other. A couple of months ago, I fielded a call from a colleague's client while she was away on vacation and completely out of phone coverage. The client had several questions about their personal finances that I couldn't help resolve off the top of my head. I let them know that their advisor was away on vacation but I would take the next hour to research their questions and get back to them shortly. This was a very acceptable path of action to the client and I took the time to get their questions answered quickly."


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