As I've had to answer this question so many times at this point, I thought I'd just save myself the time in the future and make a blogpost out of it. If you are going to apply to work for us at Liquid Labs, you have to speak German. No, it doesn't have to be perfect but it has to at least be conversational. No one expects you to sound local....I being the best example of sounding like Schwarzenegger, just in reverse. Yet you have to be able to sit in a meeting and speak with folks on the other side in the language they are comfortable in.
Don't get me wrong....I realise that globalisation is going on and English is commonplace. If you're purely in development, the point has been reached where doing everything in English is fine. If you do anything on our team above and beyond software development, English wont just won't cut it. This is not about you. It's about everyone whom you deal with. Be it within the company or external with customers or partners, English may work. Yet, what we choose to do is make whomever we deal with feel comfortable.
My experience with over 20 years in Germany now is that no matter how well someone speaks English, when it comes to the hard things, they prefer German when in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region. Many will openly ask to speak English so they can practice. That's fine, go ahead and enjoy. If they don't ask, I want to be speaking in German to them. It's a courtesy. It makes that person feel more comfortable and it gives them the choice of which language to use. If you are not able to speak in their native tongue, you take away their choice. Immediately you start off on your back foot. Why put yourself in this position?