A Toronto web design company says it would prefer to hire a female candidate for its latest writing job, not because it's 2015, but because sometimes the successful applicant will have to fill in for the receptionist.

Vestra Inet, a Toronto-based company that does web design for commercial and industrial clients, recently posted a job listing for a content writer and search-engine optimization specialist on LinkedIn.

The job requires writing experience and knowledge of social media platforms, but it's the last line of the listing that has caused offence.

"Please note that the position requires filling in the responsibilities of a receptionist, so female candidates are preferred," the listing said.

"We were instructed to give no comments on this," a female receptionist said when contacted by CBC News.

The receptionist hung up when asked who provided those instructions.

Online, several people called out the company, including Twitter executive Kirstine Stewart.

Others were also shocked by the job listing.