Language Skills of Thai Job Applicants (Japanese, English, Chinese)

Language Skills of Thai Job Applicants (Japanese, English, Chinese)

For businesses operating in Thailand, determining which language to use for communication with Thai staff is a crucial issue. Additionally, there may be cases where foreign language skills are necessary for external communication, such as with clients. Many employers place a significant emphasis on language skills during the hiring process.

Therefore, this article will explain the qualifications for each language and methods for assessing language proficiency during interviews.



In Thailand, TOEIC is commonly used as the English qualification for employment, similar to Japan. TOEIC tests are held monthly in Bangkok. With a maximum score of 990, a score of 700 or higher indicates a basic understanding of English. However, since TOEIC mainly assesses reading and listening skills, conversational ability needs to be confirmed separately.

It’s common to hear cases where Japanese and Thai individuals struggle to communicate effectively in English due to unfamiliar accents. Both Japanese and Thai individuals need to become accustomed to each other’s accents through familiarity and mutual understanding over time.

Thai native speakers may have distinct features such as raising the endings of loanwords and not distinguishing between the pronunciation of SH and CH or V and W. Many Thai individuals are also not accustomed to Japanese accents in English, so it’s important for both parties to adapt and become accustomed to each other.



For assessing Japanese proficiency on resumes, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is commonly used. It consists of five levels, and in Thailand, there are two opportunities per year to take the exam.

The levels are as follows:

N1: Can understand Japanese used in a wide range of situations.

N2: Can understand Japanese used in daily situations, and can understand Japanese used in a broader range of situations to some extent.

N3: Can understand Japanese used in daily situations to some extent.

N4: Can understand basic Japanese.

N5: Can understand basic Japanese to some extent.

For Thai individuals using Japanese in the business, the company expected them to have at least N3 proficiency. Since Thai individuals may struggle with characters like Kanji, achieving N3 proficiency requires considerable effort. However, since the JLPT mainly assesses reading and listening skills, conversational ability needs to be confirmed separately. Some individuals with N2 proficiency may struggle with conversation, while others with N3 proficiency may excel in conversation despite weaknesses in reading and writing.

Finding someone who possesses all four language skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – perfectly is quite challenging. It’s important to determine which skills are necessary for the job role and assess candidates accordingly.



The HSK, certified by the Chinese government, is a well-known qualification for Chinese language proficiency. It consists of six levels for written and listening exams, with the most difficult level being level 6. Additionally, starting from 2022, levels 7 to 9 were introduced to assess speaking ability in addition to written and listening skills.

The levels are as follows:

Level 6: Ability to express opinions orally or in writing.

Level 5: Can give speeches in Chinese.

Level 4: Able to converse with native Chinese speakers.

Level 3: Basic communication.

Level 2: Upper-level beginner Chinese.

Level 1: Assessing applied abilities in everyday Chinese.


For Thai individuals, a proficiency level of level 4 or higher is considered sufficient for using Chinese in the business. While Japanese individuals may aim for level 5 or higher, Thai individuals, due to the handicap of dealing with Chinese characters, aim for level 4 or higher.

HSK primarily assesses listening, reading, and writing skills, so conversational ability needs to be confirmed separately. However, since Thai and Chinese grammars are quite similar, and both languages have tones, Thai individuals may find it easier to improve their Chinese conversation skills compared to Japanese individuals. Some people may have good conversation skills even if they do not possess HSK certification or have a lower level of certification.


We hope that the information regarding language skills can be utilized by HR departments or companies to assess and adjust their employee recruitment processes according to the language proficiency required for each job position. However, it’s important to note that language proficiency test results may not be the sole indicator of an applicant’s language skills. This depends on their communication abilities, conversation during interviews, or company-administered tests as well.


Personnel Consultant , Japanese recruitment agency company in Bangkok. Recruitment services has been in the business of recruiting Thai and Japanese talent for about 30 years.

Companies looking for talent please contact us  Click
Email : jobs@personnelconsultant.co.th

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