One of the primary reasons I never sat for the SCJP was because the last time I picked up a study guide, it started off with questions about options on the fine-grained control of the assertion mechanism.
I'm very fond of assertions, myself, having used them since my C days. But 99 times out of 100, if I'm going to employ them, I'm going to use them ALL, not switch them on and off piecemeal. Yes, fine-grained control sounds nice, but if I ever need it, I expect to bloody well well go RTFM and save the brain-space for functions I do everyday. Especially since there's a very good chance that details of any given obscure mechanism will have changed between the time I studied it and the time I needed it, making memorization a liability rather than an asset.
I'm sorry. The things that really make a good developer are not things that can be so easily quantitized. Not everything in the world maps well to binary (our current political climate illustrates that all too well ). This sort of is just ignorance and laziness in the hiring process at best, and a possible warning that actual talent isn't what's wanted at that particular company at worst. They're looking for compliance, not ability. And, sadly, that often means what they really get are the people who are most willing to lie. Which is really all they deserve.
The most rewarding places to work aren't the ones with the artificial requirements, That's a "fence-them-in" mentality. Most of us enjoy the freedom that software design and development allow us, and that's more the antithesis of fencing. So, all things considered, I prefer to just pass by employers who lack the flexibility and the vision to look beyond narrow constraints.
The secret of how to be miserable is to constantly expect things are going to happen the way that they are "supposed" to happen.
You can have faith, which carries the understanding that you may be disappointed. Then there's being a willfully-blind idiot, which virtually guarantees it.